happenstance


a chance event

TRANSLATION

happenstance = Zufall, zufälliger Umstand, glücklicher Umstand by happenstance = zufällig, durch Zufall

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

Now Denmark has staked a claim to the North Pole, too. On December 15th it said that, under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), some 900,000 square kilometres of the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland belongs to it (Greenland is a self-governing part of Denmark). The timing was HAPPENSTANCE.

The Economist

Did you
know?

happenstance
noun

- a chance or a chance situation, especially one producing a good result.

Cambridge Dictionary

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Happenstance is a combination of the words, happen and circumstance. It first appeared in English in the late 19th century.

Niels Bohr, the Danish physicist, is famous for saying "Predictions are very difficult especially when they are about the future", Lao Tzu is similarly quoted as saying "those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict don’t have knowledge."

These two quotes are a nice starting point for thinking about the role of happenstance in an increasingly complex and unpredictable world.

If you're interested in the tension between "planning" and "indecision", I have some interesting slides from a presentation titled "Luck is No Accident" by Al Levin. I am happy to share these with interested readers. Just drop me a line at: paul.paradoxing@gmail.com

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SYNONYMS

blessing, godsend, opportunity, serendipity, windfall, big break, good fortune, luck, in the cards, lucky break, accident, chance, fluke, coincidence

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