Random order seems to be an oxymoron, but how else do describe rain or clouds or dried leaves swirling in a gust of wind? Look closely, and more closely still, and you see the infinite in a speck of dust.
If you take the wide - very wide - view, what you may perceive as randomness up close begins to appear logical and orderly, maybe even becomes predictable in some way from a long way off. The basic experience we perceive in random events is that something was out of control, that it just happened. But, when did it begin and when does it end?
A particularly odd random incident happened several years ago. A family was sitting in its living room, at ease, digesting dinner and getting a little sleepy, when suddenly a large hunk of frozen blue liquid came blasting through the roof and ceiling, landing with a resounding crash. A jet had flown 30,000 feet overhead some time before with its chemical toilet leaking outside the jet's exterior. It froze and froze some more as more liquid was added to it. The heavy frozen chemical blob eventually let loose and became a meteor, essentially. It was subject to the forces of gravity, atmospheric friction, wind currents, and several other laws of physics until it bombed the ordinary, unsuspecting, perfectly innocent house. It was not aimed, was not shot from a barrel, did not have wings. It just dropped off when its weight overpowered its ability to bond to the jet's aluminum skin. Random? Sort of. The family thought so. Chemists and physicists know differently. Engineers love that stuff. Not that stuff.
The startled homeowners (who most appropriately might have yelled, "Holy shit!") might have perceived it as an Act of God, but what God would bomb a Midwestern home with blue poop gunksicle? "Why our house? We're good people! We pay our taxes. Why us?" The sheer audacity of a large, hurtling frozen piece of, well, excrement, was almost heroic in proportion. I am 100% certain that if none of the folks at home were hurt, none of them has been the same since. I sincerely hope, by the way, that none were hurt.
The point is, the bombees were changed by the randomness, but I doubt the bombers were because they didn't perceive it. For them, it didn't "just happen"; it didn't happen at all. The bombees were affected by randomness on an astonishing scale. As Forrest Gump might say: Randomness is as randomness does.
Randomness is everywhere. Your existence is random. A sperm got to an egg before its competitors, and you are you because of that. At least it seems that way from a distance. Up close, biologists or whoever studies those things have found that proteins and molecular bonds on the surfaces of the egg and sperm are such that at a certain point the egg's protein bonds are weakened by....well, it's detailed and your eyes may glaze over, but even that explanation leads to an increasingly minute level of randomness where science is not yet able to explain the initiating point in time when something that did not exist before now exists. Ants running randomly around helter skelter suddenly form into an organized column that is functioning to serve its members with food. Droplets of water in the air coalesce into a cloud, but it keeps moving and changing. One second it was air, then it was a cloud, and then it disappeared again.
The question most asked in war and disasters is, why me? Why was I spared when my neighbor or my buddy died? Fate is random if you are on the receiving end. It's infinitely complicated, puzzling, and deviously evades total firm definition, but I believe it depends on your vantage point. How deeply do you want to explore disorder? There is always one more step beyond the one you reach. It's infinite, circular, layered and linear all at once. And there, in my opinion, is where we begin to glimpse God.
Causes Christine Bottaro Supports
The Nature Conservancy, California State Parks, The United Way