On Remarkable Coincidences


Many people have experienced utterly inexplicable coincidences, prescient dreams, and even the occurrence of an astrological prediction. I will confess I too have had such experiences.

People react to these  in three quite different ways:

1. The All-Physics approach: There is nothing to it, it’s all one of zillions of possibilities. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Is it not an interesting coincidence that you and your siblings have the same parents? So what? This happens to everybody, even to foreigners.

2. The Hamletian approach: There are more things in heaven than are dreamt of in your physics.

3. The one-more-must-ignore-mystery approach: Look, there are quite a few interesting human-related occurrences in the world, like why you should be reading this on this Wednesday morning, the day after President Obama spoke to the nation. If you tried to explain all these, you’ll be wasting your time. It’s good there are people trying to resolve these mysteries to the satisfaction of everyone from Albanians and Zulus, Hindus  and Mormons included. I wish them every success in their endeavors. When they succeed, let us all celebrate. In the meanwhile let’s keep ourselves busy with lots of other things, such as solving crossword puzzles , listening to good music, reading poetry, and contributing to the flood victims in Pakistan.

Of course, the approach one takes is determined largely by one’s well-formed worldviews which are generally assumed to be prejudice-free, because without that assumption one tends to feel intellectually and epistemologically handicapped, a status accorded only to those who hold views opposite to our own.

September 1, 2010

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