The theory of improbability – Arthur Machen

machenl“Do you know, Phillips,” said Dyson, as he strolled at ease up and down the room. “I will tell you how I work. I go upon the theory of improbability. The theory is unknown to you? I will explain. Suppose I stand on the steps of St. Paul’s and look out for a blind man lame of the left leg to pass me, it is evidently highly improbable that I shall see such a person by waiting for an hour. If I wait two hours the improbability is diminished, but is still enormous, and a watch of a whole day would give little expectation of success. But suppose I take up the same position day after day, and week after week, don’t you perceive that the improbability is lessening constantly – growing smaller day after day. Don’t you see that two lines which are not parallel are gradually approaching one another, drawing nearer and nearer to a point of meeting, till at least they do meet, and improbability has vanished altogether. That is how I found the black tablet: I acted on the theory of improbability. It is the only scientific principle I know of which can enable one to pick out an unknown man from amongst five million.”

From “The Red Hand” – Arthur Machen

Buy it on Amazon: The Red Hand and the White People

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