At first glance, such a declaration appears antithetical, but when we consider that the “space” in which power grows involves time and place, the notion begins to make sense, at least from a purely material perspective. Vizinczey playfully outlines his rule in the following way:
As there is no time without place and no place without time, the extension of either will extend both, thus increasing the interference of chance in our affairs.
The convergence of
otherwise unrelated = time + place = chance
TIME + PLACE = CHANCE
The number of possible and actual occurrences increases with time, so that the extension of time alone will involve progressively more people and events over a wider area – in short, will involve an extension of place.
Vizinczey posits that this combination of expanding time and place also expands chance. To illustrate his point, he uses the example of a thief breaking into a house, pointing a gun at the homeowner’s face, and demanding loose cash and other valuables. The space involved is initially confined to a room within the house, but the house belongs to a world that is in perpetual flux and is also involved with the house in some way or other.
As time passes, the relevance of the outside world and its potential interference in terms of time and place increases. In that first minute, the thief can safely assume that no one else will phone or drop by the house, but as time spreads – and Vizinczey insists that time spreads rather than flows – the probability of one of the homeowner’s friends calling, or the gas man appearing, or another family member returning increase. In this sense, the room in which the thief and homeowner stand also expands.
The burglar understands that the biggest obstacle to his success is not the homeowner but the situation, which is the combination of time + place. Thus, his primary motivation is to limit the situation by minimizing both time and place, thereby limiting the expansion of chance. He can accomplish this by grabbing the loot within minutes and leaving the house as quickly as possible.
The last thing the thief wants is to prolong the situation – that is, extend time or place. The longer it takes him to achieve his objective, the more the room expands into the outside world, and the greater the chance of the outside world coming in-between him and his goal.
In a nutshell, Vizinczey argues that time + place (situation) inevitably weaken power because they increase chance. To support his point, he uses the following examples, “My chances of getting myself a glass of water are greater than my chances of bringing ten thousand people to turn on the tap. The greater the scope of one’s activity (that is, the greater one’s power) the less is one’s ability to influence events.”
Put another way, “Power involves its lucky possessors in ever-expanding situations over which they can exercise ever-decreasing control.”
As I stated at the beginning of the post, all of this makes a lot of sense, at least from a purely materialist perspective, but as with all purely materialist perspectives, it falls short on finding meaning. Everything is just random flux. The more time and space the flux is given, the more random and “chancier” it becomes.
As entertaining and convincing as all of this may be, believing in this sort of pure randomness and chance adds little in the way of meaning, especially within the context of power. It also denies God’s overarching creative purposes and activity, to say nothing of our own overarching purposes and innate spiritual creativity.
Replace the random flux and situations with Beings interacting, relating, and creating, add generous portions of freedom and agency, set this against the inherent entropy of the world and Jesus’s offer of resurrection to eternal life, and “situations” suddenly become far more meaningful, to say nothing of the observation that power weakens as it grows.