It is one of the most famous quotes in science. It was what Einstein is reported to have said in horror of the randomness of quantum mechanics, “Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the “old one.” I, at any rate, am convinced that (God) does not throw dice.”

Einstein didn’t believe in God in the traditional sense. He understood the symbol more as framework from which to speak of the universe in terms that are meaningful in our ordinary human experience. His point was, perhaps, that he couldn’t accept the concept of randomness in what he wanted to see as a mathematical matrix. But Einstein lost that debate, and now every honest thinker must figure out how to adjust to the discovery that life does have random elements to it.

Perhaps it is helpful to look at dice themselves. Nothing controls the roll of the dice, but the opposite sides of the dice always add up to seven. In dice, as in cards, there are patterns that a gambler learns and over time knowing the patterns make all the difference. Perhaps wisdom is less learning a set plan, than learning a strategy that turns the random roll of dice into patterns that are not random at all.