34. Lotteries: A Waste of Hope

Playing the lottery is stupid, nothing surprising there, here are some quotes:

Some lottery advocates, and even some commentors on this blog, have tried to defend lottery-ticket buying as a rational purchase of fantasy – paying a dollar for a day’s worth of pleasant anticipation, imagining yourself as a millionaire.

But consider exactly what this implies.  It would mean that you’re occupying your valuable brain with a fantasy whose real probability is nearly zero – a tiny line of likelihood which you, yourself, can do nothing to realize.  The lottery balls will decide your future.  The fantasy is of wealth that arrives without effort – without conscientiousness, learning, charisma, or even patience.

Which makes the lottery another kind of sink: a sink of emotional energy.  It encourages people to invest their dreams, their hopes for a better future, into an infinitesimal probability.  If not for the lottery, maybe they would fantasize about going to technical school, or opening their own business, or getting a promotion at work – things they might be able to actually do, hopes that would make them want to become stronger.

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