Media Technology MSc

The Dice Man


Is an individual really free if he persists in making decisions based on his past? Could it be that our personality, the thing that we value and celebrate, is really an anchor to our free will? These are questions that are explored in an experiment that was executed by Michiel Waaijer in Dutch media. Most of the theories considered are based on the 1971 novel The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart. Michiel injected his ideas about introducing chance into decision-making, and breaking patterns by doing so, into Dutch culture. For a period of three weeks he studied ten automatic mechanisms of himself, only in order to break them using the dice. By varying with the way he experienced certain situations, such as traveling by train of eating breakfast, Michiel gained insight into the seriousness of our attitude towards so many, in essence arbitrary, causes. By introducing chance in one’s life and giving up on the notion of a consistent personality, there is more room for free will. And as such a Diceman will be less bound by the rules of society and self. Michiel Waaijer wrote a column on each experience for Dutch national newspaper NRC Next in October 2006.

Read the colums of The Dice Man at (in Dutch).


Michiel Waaijer, The Dice Man. Series of articles in Dutch national newspaper NRC Next, October-November 2006