The 4th Humour
uninfluential words from an uninfluenced man
Bile humour Apathetic hemetic Fluent indifferent Emetic Phlegmatic

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Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Cosmic Coincidence

Have you ever been thinking about something you haven't thought about in a long time, only to hear about it later that day? Or perhaps you encountered something obscure for the first time only to cross it again a few hours later. Of course, but if you think I'm about to sing the body holographic and praise these precognitive proofs of destiny and Divinity, you're so, so wrong. Life generates plenty of nifty coincidences without its drives running on infinite improbability.

Today, for example, I was thinking of a tune I hadn't thought of in a long time. I will not name it, since I don't want to spread that meme, but suffice to say it was one of the few popular tunes I happen to like from the 80s. Ten minutes later, it was playing in the restaurant I was in. Coincidence? I guess. Possibly influenced by my realization of the era of music that had already been playing? Maybe. Evidence of my psychic ability or psycho-temporal-kinesis? I'm sure of it.

Then later, over at Unmedia, someone mentioned Kuhn in a comment. Still later, I saw a link to Paradigm Shift over at Coherence Engine. Wow, two references to Kuhn in one day, someone I had completely forgotten in spite of my scientific background (yes, I am ashamed). Another cosmic coincidence! It was destined to happen.

Casting aside all the typical scientific evidence against such psychic or divine claims for a moment, I still can't wrap my ectoplasm around the notion that there is any significance whatsoever to these or any other perceived coincidences. Things are destined to happen only in the sense that they are determined to happen, but there's nothing special about that. Surely in a deterministic universe, everything is a coincidence, right? Surely for every cosmic so-called coincidence I experience, there were other coincidences I experienced but didn't recognize. Surely under a different set of initial conditions, a different set of coincidences would have taken place instead.

Recognize them, have fun with them, laud them if you like, but for GDF's (Great Deterministic Force) sake, don't live your life by coincidence. You will only end up encouraged and inspired and discouraged and frustrated at all the inappropriate times.

(For the record, yes, the title "What a Coincidence!" for this entry did cross my mind, but since I don't want to sound like some effing tabloid journalist vying for memetic grammy-in-a-box-like attention, I opted not to use it.)