Society » Real life stories
Author`s name Michael Simpson

# Lottery is Atavism of Magic Consciousness - 24 February, 2003

Professor Martin Doehlemann from Munster is sure that it is a stupid action to participate in lotteries. He recently wrote a book “Follies” (Dummes Zeug) dedicated to this problem.

Do you play a lottery? How many times did you manage to win? If not yet, but you still hope that you will be lucky next time and win it, as somebody must win lotteries all the same. Do you believe that lottery is a profitable business, because when you are finally lucky to win a lottery, all insignificant expenses will be compensated several times?

If this is all about you, you should read the book Dummes Zeug (Follies) by Sociology Professor Martin Doehlemann from Munster. The professor thinks that playing a lottery is one of the follies in which even reasonable people indulge. “If we think about lotteries thoroughly, we will see that the business may bring only losses.” However, millions of people again and again buy lottery tickets with the only hope to be a success. The professor explains: “These people simply take the wish for the reality. It makes their everyday life happier.”

According to the information provided by Martin Doehlemann, Germans spent over eight billion euros on gambling with lottery companies in 2001. The money was spent on wages to workers of lottery companies, first of all. Second, taxes on earnings of lottery companies were paid to the state budget, and the rest of the sum made up the prizes that are not numerous at all. It is quite natural that ordinary people playing lotteries didn’t mean to maintain workers of lottery companies or pay taxes on earnings of these companies. They simply hoped to be among those lucky men who chanced to win lotteries.

Meanwhile, it is practically impossible to win a big prize in a lottery. Mathematical calculations say that the probability to guess six numbers in lotto makes up one to 14 millions. And the probability to win a jackpot is ten times less and makes up one to 140 millions. Just to compare: the probability to die of a lighting stroke is 60 times higher.

So, the professor states that playing a lottery is an example of economically inexpedient behavior when the investments don’t correspond the profits. Why do people spend their money for an ephemeral right to try and guess the six precious numbers? It is highly likely to be a remnant of the magic consciousness so much typical of childhood; it is like making wishes or an attempt to lure the luck; it is like childish trusting in Santa Claus or in a fairy with a magic wand. No logic or theories work here.

Miriam Kesler
Russian Germany newspaper

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