Sunday, March 05, 2006


"There exists a type of phenomenon even more mysterious than telepathy or precognition which has puzzled man since the dawn of mythology: the seemingly accidental meeting of two unrelated causal chains in a coincidental event which appears both highly improbable and highly significant."

Arthur Koestler

There are few persons, even among the calmest thinkers, who have not occasionally been startled into a vague yet thrilling half-credence in the supernatural, by coincidences of so seemingly marvellous a character that, as mere coincidences, the intellect has been unable to receive them.

Edgar Allen Poe

Coincidence may be described as the chance encounter of two unrelated causal chains which--miraculously, it seems--merge into a significant event. It provides the neatest paradigm of the bisociation of previously separate contexts, engineered by fate. Coincidences are puns of destiny. In the pun, two strings of thought are tangled into one acoustic knot; in the coincidental happening, two strings of events are knitted together by invisible hands.

This is a diary comprised of coincidences which happened to me.
I am posting a selection of those that I regarded as either particularly unlikely, or just funny.

I began noting coincidences which I met with circa 1984, although the first 3 examples here predate that.
The only facts you may glean about me will be via the coincidences; a form of pointilliste self portrait.
Or, if you like, snapshots.

Some already feature in my book, Coincidences (2000, Tamworth Press, ISBN 0 9509441 6 5), although even some of those examples have been substantially amended before representation in this Blog.

A fuller apologia and indexing may be found at Entry 243.

"As long as the need exists to find meaning in life beyond that which is forthcoming from a materialistic philosophy, the search for the paranormal will go on."

James E. Alcock in A Skeptic´s Handbook of Parapsychology

"It is impossible to review this enormous book as a whole, but it is worth considering some recurring themes. One is the way in which people have been motivated by a quest for spiritual understanding. In many different ways we see how psychical research and parapsychology have sprung from a belief in dualism, a search for the afterlife, or an honest desire to make a science of man´s spiritual nature. In all these quests parapsychology has sadly failed, and this book clearly shows how.
But Alcock is almost alone in respecting the quest, even while criticizing its results so far.

One day we may well have a spiritual science and come far closer to understanding human nature than we are today, and skeptics could lead the way rather than scoffing at the ideal!"

Susan Blackmore, reviewing A Skeptic´s Handbook of Parapsychology in the Fall 1986 issue of The Skeptical Inquirer.

"It is appropriate that this survey of man´s ideas about the universe should end with Newton for... our vision of the world is by and large still Newtonian... Until a new maestro emerges... the blueprint of the universe remains essentially the one that Newton drew for us, in spite of all disturbing rumours about the curvature of space, the relativity of time and the runaway nebulae. There, after the long voyage from the Babylonian star gods, the Greek crystal spheres, the medieval walled universe, our imagination has come to rest."

The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler

"Today we regard his alchemical and theological speculations as aberrations of genius - like Kepler´s Harmony of the World. But it is worth making the imaginative effort to grasp that both Newton and Kepler regarded these works as the crowning achievements of a lifetime devoted to ´justifying the ways of God to man´. Both of them would have been shocked by the modern view that science is merely an attempt to understand the physical universe."

Starseekers by Colin Wilson.

When Henri Becquerel spotted that photographic plates became fogged if kept in a drawer next to uranium salts, the discovery of radioactivity was immediate. By contrast, other scientific findings – global warming, for instance – take place incrementally, the result of gradually accumulating evidence. Last week, scientists announced a small but potentially significant step in our slowly evolving understanding of what the universe is made of.
Paul Davies writing on dark matter, December 23rd 2009

"Despite the stature and achievements of men like Jung and Pauli, very few scientists would dare to admit anything remotely resembling the theory of synchronicity into their everyday calculations, not only from fear of ridicule by their scientific colleagues but also because such an admission threatens - or seems to threaten - the very basis of a rationalist science. Yet, while science dares not contemplate any theory as anarchic as synchronicity, it cannot entirely suppress an uneasy sense of something big and mysterious lurking on the threshold of consciousness..."
Alternative Science by Richard Milton

"I believe there to be truths as far above my understanding as calculus is beyond that of a cat."
Martin Gardner


The Spring blew trumpets of color;
Her Green sang in my brain --
I heard a blind man groping
"Tap -- tap" with his cane;

I pitied him in his blindness;
But can I boast, "I see"?
Perhaps there walks a spirit
Close by, who pities me, --

A spirit who hears me tapping
The five-sensed cane of mind
Amid such unguessed glories --
That I am worse than blind.

Harry Kemp 1883-1960

Martin Gardner studied philosophy at the University of Chicago and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from there in 1936. He wrote that "by an emotional leap of faith", he believed in a deity "utterly inscrutable to our little finite minds".

Gardner explained

"I believe that the dichotomy between those who believe in a creator God and those who do not is the deepest, most fundamental of all divisions among the attitudes one can take toward the mystery of being."

When a man looks for truth, truth looks for him.

Sufi saying

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