Explain this SERENDIPITY and these COINCIDENCES?

John H. john at faraway.com
Sun Jul 20 23:50:48 EST 2003

johnYYYcoe at tpg.com.au

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"The_Sage" <theeSage at azrmci.net> wrote in message
news:9a8mhv8981llhcvrljint4654e9hs8c891 at 4ax.com...
> >Reply to article by: "John H." <john at faraway.com>
> >Date written: Sun, 20 Jul 2003 23:25:42 +1000
> >MsgID:<3f1a97ee at dnews.tpgi.com.au>
> >'Co-incidence' is an appellation, not an explanation.
> That is exactly why coincidences are very important to psychologists
> since the reason for the appellation tells us more about the
> psychology of humans than it ever would about physically real reality.

Imagine what would have happened if Fleming noted the way the bacteria were
killed and let it go at that. He had no logical explanation for this and
wrote up his results in 1928. It was until 1937 that Florey paid particular
attention to this Fleming's little read paper that pencillin came into the
world. In medicine particularly, logic often follows the application of a
treatment (psychiatric drugs are a very good example in this regard - it has
taken decades to begin to appreciate why these are efficacious and to this
day no-one claims with complete certainty why anti depressants work).

> From a subjective point of view, synchronicities are paranormal or
> magical and therefore not in the realm of science, especially since
> there is not one valid, properly documented and publicized case of
> someone writing down a dream or foreknowledge of an event way in
> advance of the event, and then having the event occur just as the
> dream or foreknowledge predicted it would. All we ever have are after
> the fact storytales where we have to take somebody at their word that
> it happened. Jung was no exception to this. But what is most
> significant about synchronicities isn't that they don't exist outside
> of our imagination, but that so many people want to pretend they exist
> and want to pretend that they are 'special' enough to have a few here
> and there. The reason for people wanting this tells us alot about the
> psychology of humans.

Psychology is replete with after the fact stories of human behaviour and is
lousy at predicting the behaviour of individuals. Last count I heard, there
were over 300 different theories of human personality. If you read my post
carefully you would note that I am undecided about such matters, the
question remains open to me. I think it is very dangerous to dismiss things
by psychoanalyzing peoples' motives for such beliefs. That is the easy road
and allows rampant speculation, as the history of psychology and psychiatry
easily demonstrate. Think of Freud's madness, promulgated for years by very
intelligent and capable people and now virtually absent (thankfully!) from
theories of human behaviour.

> The unconscious has no concept of time and is prone to mix up cause
> and effect, especially under times of stress. Your phone call is a
> perfect example of that since hearing from a long lost girlfriend is a
> sudden surprize (read: stress) and that 'jolt' was enough for you to
> mix up your memories of cause and effect, creating a false memory.

Unconscious has no concept of time? Ever heard of circadian cycles? Explain
to me why many people report waking up just prior to their alarm clock going
off. There is nothing spooky about this, the unconscious can be a very
capable time keeper. For example, even though I use a diary I am often
reminded by my "unconscious" that I have an appt at time X.

Sorry, I can't follow your thinking here. To begin with, there was no
stress, at the time I was very relaxed. Nor did I attribute cause, I was
simply surprised at the event and more surprised when others told me that
they also have experienced the same (and these others are very much
rationalists). Your project causes onto my thinking, psychology seems to
delight in telling people why they think the way they do but psychology
itself is often a hodge podge of ad hoc after the fact explanations of human
behaviour. Ironically, psychology is often guilty of making the very same
mistake you are accusing me of: it seeks causes after the fact. This is
exactly what you have done here, surmised I attributed cause and surmised I
was stressed. Surprise is not stress, that is like saying that if you throw
a surprise party for someone you are subjecting them to stress.

> >Naturally I disdain all forms of religion, including rationalism.
> By definition for the word religion, rationalism is not a religion, it
> is a philosophy.

Philosophy, religion, I'm not interested in semantic pendantry, the point I
was making is that some think rational thought is the answer to everything.
It isn't. Look at the history of science, it is amazing how many fundamental
dogmas shift over time. Philosophy has a scorecard somewhat akin to
religion. The point here is that irrespective of semantics many rationalists
adopt a religious attitude towards their philosophy, as if it is the only
way to think about the world. Yes, I am convinced that science is the best
method for understanding things but I am not convinced that it is the only

> >The universe is spooky, get used to it.
> Prove it then, because it certainly isn't spooky for me.

I suggest you take note of Einstein's dictum that he has lost a sense of
wonder of the universe is lost to science. Or for that matter look at the
number of physicists who have gone spooky (Penrose and tubules rubbish,
Bohm, Tippler, ... ) I am not saying there is something to this supernatural
stuff, I'm saying I just don't know but refuse to rationalise away in the
inexplicable bits of reality. That is what religions do, deductively
determine the cause of this or that.

> >If you don't believe me, read about J
> >Wheeler's delayed choice dual slit experiment.
> That isn't the universe, that is particle physics. When someone can
> tell me if a photon is a particle or a wave or whatever, I will start
> paying attention to those experiments, otherwise it would be resorting
> to the unknown to explain the unknown.

Read about the experiment. You are proposing an explanation for something
you are not aware of. That is exuberant confidence in your cogitations, we
all fall down that hole all too often. In Wheeler's case whether or not a
photon is that or that is irrelevant, what is relevant is that the choice of
the observer, even after the event, profoundly affects the results.
Deductive, be inductive. Science begins by resorting to examining the
unknown to explain the known. If you choose not to investigate something
because it is unknown, then you choose to remain ignorant forever of that

> >No, I won't argue the case,
> >it's all up for grabs for me. I practice science, I don't believe in it;
> >I'm not that fucking arrogant as to believe that there's an explanation
> >everything.
> Nor does everything need an explanation.
> >V. unlikely you would remember your mother's face at 6 weeks of age. Nigh
> >impossible actually.
> Why would it be impossible?

Show me one documented case of a child who remembers memories at 6 weeks of

You demonstrate a puzzling dichotomy here, you attribute causes to a
complete stranger and demand proof that something isn't impossible.
Shouldn't you demand that before asserting the possibility there is evidence
in support of the same? One could just as well say, "why are paranormal
phenomena impossible." The question cannot be answered. Are you not making
the same error as myself? Hmmm, we are human after all. Now ain't that a

> The Sage
> =============================================================
> My Home Page      :           http://members.cox.net/the.sage
> "Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you still
> exist, but you have cease to live" -- Mark Twain
> =============================================================

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