My Dinner with André
I mean, all right, let's say, if I get a fortune cookie in a Chinese restaurant. Of course, even I have a tendency, I mean, you know, I mean, of course, I would hardly throw it out. I mean, I read it. I read it, and I just instinctively sort of ...You know, if it says something like, "A conversation with a dark-haired man will be very important for you.” Well, I just instinctively think, you know, "Who do I know who has dark hair? Did we have a conversation? What did we talk about?"
In other words, uh, there's something in me that makes me read it and I instinctively interpret it as if it were an omen of the future. But in my conscious opinion - which is so fundamental to my whole view of life - I would just have to change totally to not have this opinion. In my conscious opinion, this is simply something that was written in the cookie factory several years ago and in no way refers to me. The fact that I got it. I mean, the man who wrote it did not know anything about me. I mean, he could not have known anything about me. There's no way that this cookie could actually have to do with me. And the fact that I've gotten it is just basically a joke.
And I mean, if I were gonna go on a trip on an airplane and I got a fortune cookie that said "Don't go"... I mean, of course, I admit I might feel a bit nervous for about one second. But in fact, I would go because that trip is gonna be successful or unsuccessful based on the state of the airplane and the state of the pilot. And the cookie is in no position to know about that.
And you know, it's the same with any kind of prophecy, or a sign, or an omen. Because if you believe in omens, then that means that the universe … I mean, I don't even know how to begin to describe this. That means that the future is somehow sending messages backwards to the present. Which means that the future must exist in some sense already in order to be able to send these messages. And it also means that things in the universe are there for a purpose. To give us messages.
Whereas I think that things in the universe are just there. I mean, they don't mean anything. I mean, you know, if the turtle's egg falls out of the tree and splashes on the paving stones it's just because that turtle was clumsy, by accident. And to decide whether to send my ships off to war on the basis of that seems a big mistake to me. Well, what information would you send your ships to war on? Because if it's all meaningless what's the difference whether you accept the fortune cookie or the statistics of the Ford Foundation? It doesn't seem to matter.
Well, the meaningless fact of the fortune cookie or the turtle's egg can't possibly have any relevance to the subject you're analyzing. Whereas a group of meaningless facts that are collected and interpreted in a scientific way may quite possibly be relevant. Because the wonderful thing about scientific theories about things is that they're based on experiments that can be repeated.