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Synchronicity?

The other night I had a very vivid dream about "swimming cockroaches".  When I awoke, I had this phrase still buzzing around in my mind, couldn't get rid of it.  When I went to the computer, slashdot had a story about swimming cockroaches.

I have often experienced this type of phenomenon, including with coding stuff. 

S. Tanna
Friday, June 13, 2003

It's called coincidence

Stephen Jones
Friday, June 13, 2003

Yea, I sometimes dream about my code.  I see it listed on sheets of paper and my mind is manually stepping through it.  Then all of a sudden it hits me.  The solution to a problem I was having.  All I have to do then is remember it and write it down.

!!b
Friday, June 13, 2003

I have had that experience too, solving coding problems while you sleep. It was way back when, when I first learned about linked lists.

Patrik
Friday, June 13, 2003

Sounds like messages from The Architect.

Steve Jones (UK)
Friday, June 13, 2003

It could just be coincidence

But in idea that intrigues me is that because something has happened before, it is more likely to happen again.

Imagine a universe with no physical laws at all initially. All events are by chance.  Two particles happen to move toward each other by chance (or move apart at a decreasing rate).  By chance, this happens between lots of pairs of particles, more often than say 2 particles fly apart for no good reason.  The "attraction" behavior is self-reinforcing in a kind of feedback loop (it happened before so is more likely to happen again, then on next iteration it is even more likely to happen again).  Eventually we get gravity and other physical laws.

15 billion years later, I have a dream (thought) about swimming cockroaches (and more particularly about the phrase "swimming cockroaches") -- which makes it more likely somebody with similar sorts of interests to me starts to think about this phrase in a news post - or more likely vice-versa the news post and people reading/thinking about it, caused the idea to repeat in my head, even though I hadn't seen the story.

Spooky action at a distance - yes - but so has quantum mechanics.

In principle, I don't see why this idea, wouldn't be testable.

S. Tanna
Friday, June 13, 2003

You're letting Real PC get to you.

So let's give the more likely explanations. Fristly you dream of something every night, five times a night. Now if you dream about swimming cockroaches and slashdot publishes an article on bouncing buffalos, then you will forget about both your dream and the slasdot article. It is only when you come across what you dreamed about the night before that you remember it.

Then there is the likelihood that both you and the slashdot author got on to the idea of swimming cockroaches because you both independently saw the same TV program or read the same artilcle or whatever.

As for dreaming about code that is an entirely diffrerent matter.

Stephen Jones
Friday, June 13, 2003

Stephen Jones has nailed it.

Or as someone else once pointed out: In New York City, a one-in-a-million event happens to somebody eight times a day.

John C.
Friday, June 13, 2003

S. Tanna,
The theory that the laws of physics evolve was proposed by Sheldrake. If you didn't read his "A New Science of Life" I recommend it.
Things that are repeated are strengthened, whether it's a person's habit or skill, or the laws of the universe.
Synchronicity was one of Jung's ideas (but was actually around before that). It has to do with the idea that the universe is sort of like a holograph, and each point somehow contains the whole.

Sometimes people read synchronicity into ordinary coincidences. But the more you get onto that wavelength, the more you notice them, and synchronicities happen that could not possibly be explained by chance.

Stephen Jones, you have been reading to much Amazing Randi.

The Real PC
Friday, June 13, 2003

It's causality, innit.

Like when someone says "Why are we here?", you answer "Because if you weren't, you wouldn't be able to ask that question."

Which is slightly more polite than "Shut up and stop asking stupid questions."

Neil
Friday, June 13, 2003

"Stephen Jones, you have been reading to much Amazing Randi."

Nope, I think he's been studying science. It's quite a popular and succesful way of describing the world.

For example, I see aeroplanes flying every day. I've never seen a magic carpet flying. Therefore don't think magic carpets fly.

BUT I *am* prepared to be convinced otherwise. Richard Feynmann nailed this important point.

Neil
Friday, June 13, 2003

Synchronicity need not be unscientific - it doesn't need to be inconsistent with "known" scientific facts, and it is potentially testable.

You can consider the idea (the state I would say I'm nad have been for a long time) without buying into any pseudo-mystical stuff.

Most people consider me (and I consder myself) to be an arch-skeptic on most paranormal type stuff, but I consider synchronicity to be by far the most plausible, and testable, of those "out there" ideas.

Also to be fair about Sheldrake, he hold a biochemistry phD.
http://www.sheldrake.org/intro/

S. Tanna
Friday, June 13, 2003

<Sometimes people read synchronicity into ordinary coincidences.>

<But the more you get onto that wavelength, the more you notice them, and synchronicities happen that could not possibly be explained by chance.>

Like... like, what exactly?! If this kind of thing didn't happen, I might be inclined to agree with the 'cannot be explained by chance' thing, but as they do I think we can safely say the world is working as it always does, which is to say pretty randomly.

Perhaps you are aware of that Paul Simon lyric:

I was walkin' down the street,
when I thought I heard this voice say,
'Say, ain't we walkin' down the same street,
together on the very same day',

Maybe I should stop the next tourist I see and remark upon this, for it is truly a remarkable coincidence that out of the 6,000,000,000 people in the world we should both meet?

<Stephen Jones, you have been reading to much Amazing Randi. >

The man seems to talk a fair bit of sense, though he's a bit strident for my liking. Still, you cannot argue with his main point -- which seems to be that most people who claim inexplicable talents seem to be strangely reluctant to put them on display for measurement.

One can draw from this one of two conclusions. Firstly, that these talents exist, but that they are so flaky and unreliable as to be effectively useless. Secondly, and this is the view I take, that people claiming to have these talents are without exception charlatans, and that in all likelihood these talents do not exist.

Er... oh, sorry about that! What does all this have to do with software?!

Tom
Friday, June 13, 2003

"Er... oh, sorry about that! What does all this have to do with software?! "

It's sheer coincidence that my code works at all!

But it sometimes does. Spooky.

Neil
Friday, June 13, 2003

> What does all this have to do with software?!

Perhaps...  :-)

Whether a programmer creates code that is solid or bug-ridden is purely by chance, at least the first time he tries.  The 2nd, 3rd, 4th... etc. time you get self-reinforcing feedback loop (you're more likely to write a solid/bug-ridden program now, because you tended to write solid/bug-ridden programs before).  Hence you end up with good and bad programmers

Soldi/Bug-ridden programming is also affected by what previous programmers have done. If in past programs, bug-ridden predominated, it will predominate more and more in future.  Hence we have a world in which nearly old programmers observe that the new programmers are not as skilled as they used to be.

S. Tanna
Friday, June 13, 2003

On the subject of synchronicity, I recommend "The Roots of Coincidence" by Arthur Koestler.

The Real PC
Friday, June 13, 2003

Does anyone here believe in God?


Friday, June 13, 2003

It's funny how this question comes up at some point on every forum, no matter what the forum's topic.

Personally, I don't.

Chris
Friday, June 13, 2003

Another suburban morning
Grandmother screaming at the wall
We have to shout above the din of our Rice Crispies
We can't hear anything at all
Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration
But we know all the suicides are fake
Daddy only stares into the distance
There's only so much more that he can take
Many miles away something crawls from the slime
At the bottom of a dark Scottish lake

Another industrial ugly morning
The factory belches filth into the sky
He walks unhindered through the picket lines today
He doesn't think to wonder why
The secretaries pout and preen like cheap tarts on a red light street
But all he ever thinks to do is watch
And every single meeting with his so called superior
Is a humiliating kick in the crotch
Many miles away something crawls to the surface
Of a dark Scottish Loch

Another working day has ended
Only the rush-hour hell to face
Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
Contestants in a suicidal race
Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance
He knows that something somewhere has to break
He sees the family home now looming in his headlight
The pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache
Many miles away there's a shadow on a door
Of a cottage by the shore
Of a dark Scottish lake

More from artist :
Police, The


More from album :
Synchronicity




GenX'er
Friday, June 13, 2003

Damn you all, you're going to push my amazon wishlist above 500.

I'm not crazy about Koestlers writings, he seems to stretch a little too much. A lot of this Sheldrake character's writings seem to be available on his website.

Isn't it obvious that Slashdot simply discovered the back door into your brain. When's the last time you patched?

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, June 13, 2003

Well, I just ask the question, "Why is an extraordinary answer preferable to a mundane, boring answer?"

The simple fact is that ideas like evolving behavior and changing physical laws and conscious existance and syncronicity are really all quite fascinating and interesting; they are intriguing and titillating and fun to talk about.

But that has absolutely nothing to do with truth. In other words, "How intriguing and interesting a hypothesis is has absolutely no relation to the truth or validity or usefulness of that hypothesis."

Sometimes the truth is just plain boring, and it can be outright depressing, but that does not make wishful thinking any less logically fallacious. But humans are Rationally Irrational - people choose what irrational, contradictory, mutually exclusive things to believe according to the cost of holding those beliefs.

Believing in faeries and angels and helpful loving dieties, and all sorts of things like that, for most people is economically rational, because there simply isn't much perceived cost. However, one must always be on guard to avoid accepting what one would prefer to be true to as actually true, regardless of proof to the contrary.

Plutarck
Friday, June 13, 2003

"I don't believe in god. And He knows it."

The one who should be doing other things
Friday, June 13, 2003

My position has always been this:

I cannot really know if god exists or not.
No matter what I believe It won't change the truth.

So, therfore, I really don't care.

The one who should be doing other things
Friday, June 13, 2003

[one must always be on guard to avoid accepting what one would prefer to be true to as actually true, regardless of proof to the contrary.]

You have been brainwashed if you think Amazing Randi knows the truth.

The Real PC
Friday, June 13, 2003

Lemme guess, home schooled?

B#
Saturday, June 14, 2003

"You have been brainwashed if you think Amazing Randi knows the truth."

Of course, because anyone who strongly disagrees with you and finds your beliefs illogical must be brainwashed. Yes, stick with that - it's a real winner.

Plutarck
Saturday, June 14, 2003

<You have been brainwashed if you think Amazing Randi knows the truth. >

I don't think he would disagree with you! (It's kind of the whole point...)

Tom
Saturday, June 14, 2003

Amazing is a zealot, which is very different from being a skeptic.

The Real PC
Saturday, June 14, 2003

To paraphrase

Synchronicity happens all the time, that's why we notice it.

Non synchronous things happen all the time that we don't notice. 

We notice obvious things, our noticing things doth not the Universe make nor do the things we don't notice not form part of the Universe.

Simon Lucy
Saturday, June 14, 2003

>Er... oh, sorry about that! What does all this have to do
>with software?!
>
>It's sheer coincidence that my code works at all!
>
>But it sometimes does. Spooky.
>>
>>
>>Whether a programmer creates code that is solid or bug-
>>dden is purely by chance, at least the first time
>>he tries.  The 2nd, 3rd, 4th... etc. time you get self-
>>inforcing feedback loop  ...
>>Hence you end up with good and bad programmers
>>

How does that explain the scientifically proven phenomenon of code rot?
(programs stop working after you have stopped bothering - it happens ;-)
... is there a ghost in the machine?

Michael Moser
Sunday, June 15, 2003

> How does that explain the scientifically proven phenomenon of code rot?

Surely as computers are digital, and retain information perfectly, you would expect, using the normal rules, for finished programs to get no better or worse over time, i.e. quality should be constant if the program content is constant.

However, in one version of a synchronicity driven world, one good program can be influenced by unrelated bad programs (the average), even if the good program doesn't internally change... hence code rot :-) :-) :-) Joking

~~
Seriously though why is it that synchronicity is such an established element of literature (all genres), films, even history. So much so we don't even notice.

For example, we are so used to some chance item/event obtained/established early in the plot, being crucial to the resolution of the film, that we don't all walk out laughing or complaining at the end of the movie, when this happens.  And this kind of thing is all over literature too.

In history, people constantly talk about history repeating itself (and variations of).

S. Tanna
Sunday, June 15, 2003

In general, the reason is people are people (and have largely been such for 150,000 years) and the world is still the world.

We have 7 stories (if you like 7 jokes), ants may have 3.  Dolphins might have 5.

This makes synchronicity (or noticed coincidence), quite likely.

Simon Lucy
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Synchronicity is hard to prove, since a certain number of meaningful coincidences are going to happen just by chance. But if you ever get into real synchronicity mode, you will see that it's real.
You probably won't experience it, though, if you have the kind of brain that's well-insulated from all that extra-dimensional stuff, and/or if your mind is closed on the subject.

It's true that a non-skeptical believer can find a synchronicity in just about anything.

The Real PC
Sunday, June 15, 2003

I personally wouldn't go beyond the point of it being a possibility

The way to establish if it's more than that is experiment.

Here is an example of a controlled experiment that might work

You have a machine which can randomly toss a coin, or toss it to land on head/tails

If you do this pattern
- Throw heads deliberately a lot of times
- Throw randomly
- Repeat ad infinitum

Over lots of repeatst, the random throws should tend towards more and more heads,  predominating.

I don't think this would with a coin even if synchronicity were true, but it shows the idea of the type of experiment.

S. Tanna
Sunday, June 15, 2003

One thing humans are very bad at is calculating probability. They always think things are less likely than they really are. And when there are other non-random factors involved, then plenty of things happen.

I remember reading that novels such as Fielding's "Joseph Andrews" were highly improbable because of the number of chance encounters among the protagonists. Yet when people are travelling from one place to another there are in fact a very limited number of places where they are going to stop. Backpacking around the Middle East many years ago I found that I was constantly bumping into the same people, and the simple reason was that we were all heading the same way.

One year going to Greece we met a university friend of mine at the Yugoslav-Greek border. What were the odds? Of meeting him fairly slim, but of meeting one of my collection of university acqaintances fairly high; after all well over half of them were hitch-hiking around the world every summer. Now, less likely was it that I should again meet him next summer 150 miles away from the University at a pub that could only hold a couple of hundred. But again there were explanations; we were in the pub because there was a Stephane Grapelli concert, and that particular friend was known to me because he was the secretary of the University Asian Music Society and I was the treasurer; so even though it was jazz, and not Indian Classical Music, shared interests would have made it likely we did attend.

Now meeting the same person two summers purely by chance is higly unlikely; but it was the last  time something like this ever happened in two consecutive summers, so multiply it by the oh-so-many summers I have gone through and the number of passable acquaintances I have had and it becomes quite probable.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Tanna,

OK, so your experiment is really about morphogenic fields as being the driver of synchronicity. Still, even if that particular one failed it wouldn't disprove anything since who knows if it works on metal objects. Maybe it doesn't work at the collective unconsciousness level, maybe only at the cellular formation level. Or maybe the other way. Or neither. Or both.

At the cellular formation level, I've devised and performed two replicable experiments that prove the existence of morphogenic fields. I'm not the only one to be doing such experiments either, but this is one of those situations where the existing paradigms of mechanism is firmly entrenched among the old school zealots and the realities of the new paradigm are being fought at a war level -- particularly by big biotech firms, for whom this evidence will shut down their for-profit gene distortion business. Realize that if morphogenic fields exist, it doesn't matter how well they isolate their production fields or what way hde wind is blowing, their modified genome will still get out and take over. Then we'll end up in the situation we acre with bananas -- all existing genomes of corn and soybeans will be a sterile production monoculture ready to be wiped out at a moment's notice by any random crop rot. So, prove morphogenic fields exist and Monsanto's cash business goes down for the count since the alternative is mass starvation and death. doing research that threatens Monsanto is like publishing news articles about mafia figures -- those who do so don't have pleasant lives.

X
Sunday, June 15, 2003

// off topic

> Backpacking around the Middle East
Ah, that's why the interest in backpacking.

// end off topic

Aren't human beings programmed to notice recurring events, or synchronous events?

We're trained by years of evolution to notice when two things happen at the same time. Otherwise, on some fundamental level, we wouldn't even put together "leaves rustle / someone might be rustling them" or that some fruits can be eaten and some can't or even be able to put together language - if someone pointed to a cat and said cat at the same time, if we didn't have the ability to associate the two.

Otherwise, we'd be like the proverbial goldfish that doesn't remember anything prior to 7 seconds ago.

What I want to know is who is the first person to figure out that sex leads to childbirth. The two events aren't obviously related.

www.MarkTAW.com
Sunday, June 15, 2003

"The two events aren't obviously related."

Something goes in.

A few days later, nausea and cramps.
A few months later, beginning to show.

Then... something bigger comes out.

I think it's related enough to be figured out.

Dr. Ruth
Sunday, June 15, 2003

---"// off topic

> Backpacking around the Middle East
Ah, that's why the interest in backpacking.

// end off topic-"

Eh?

Stephen Jones
Sunday, June 15, 2003

[What I want to know is who is the first person to figure out that sex leads to childbirth. The two events aren't obviously related.]

It was unknown for most of the time humans have been on earth. When they at last figured it out, it led to the idea of breeding animals, an important breakthrough.

Many primitive societies studied by anthropologists in the early 20th century believed pregnancy was caused by the wind, or something like that.

The Real PC
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Dr. Ruth - How about this, on the ladder of mammals, how many of them do you think also make that association? Cats? Dogs? Primates? Whales? Dophins?

How many times have you been sick and called one of our friends, and had them say "Oh yeah, that's been going around" or "Sounds like food poisoning." Or how many women do you think start describing morning sickness to one of their friends and their friend says "Oh my God, you're pregnant?" Are you telling me that doesn't happen? Now remove prior knowledge that sex leads to pregnancy. That would happen all the time.

Today women have sex and if they don't get their period immediately run to the drug store and get a pregnancy test. It's part of our society, part of the collective knowledge.

> Eh?

In an earlier thread I said something about backpacking and you said that what I experienced was very common.

www.MarkTAW.com
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Real PC - Thanks. Not only did you defend my logic, you answered my question.

www.MarkTAW.com
Sunday, June 15, 2003

[the existing paradigms of mechanism is firmly entrenched among the old school zealots]

X,

Yes that's true. It's going to be a struggle but obviously the truth has to win eventually.
It's similar to what happened with the tobacco companies. It's impossible to prevent scientists from getting to the truth, even though it may take decades.
People like Sheldrake, the new physicists, etc., are leading the way. Some of us, for some reason, are able to see through the lies of the zealots.

The so-called "skeptic" organizations are doing a good job of stalling scientific progress. But truth, evidence and logic always prevail eventually.

The Real PC
Sunday, June 15, 2003

"When they at last figured it out"

As I read this this At Last as sung by Etta James came on my MP3 player... Synchrnoicity? Or did my brain just pick on on two similar events. Or did JOS hack into my mp3 player the same way slashdot hacked into the original poster's sleeping mind.

www.MarkTAW.com
Sunday, June 15, 2003

> I've devised and performed two replicable experiments that prove the existence of morphogenic fields <

So what is the experiment?

> So, prove morphogenic fields exist and Monsanto's cash business goes down for the count since the alternative is mass starvation and death. <

Didn't you just tell me that you did prove it?

www.MarkTAW.com
Sunday, June 15, 2003

You can't prove something by just doing an experiment. Proving also means convincing others, and that depends on publishing in respected journals, which depends on passing the peer review. Maybe just having the phrase "morphogenetic fields" in your abstract gets you screened out.
This kind of research requires a change in thinking similar to when people finally accepted the earth goes around the sun, or that time is relative. Actually, it's much worse because if morphogenetic fields are proven people will have to consider that there is a collective mind. It opens a door that materialist scientists would like to keep shut.

The Real PC
Sunday, June 15, 2003

All kinds of nutty ideas get published in peer reviewed journals all the time. (Not saying every article is nutty, or that synchronicity is necessary nutty).

Science is not based on proof, but disproof. A scientific theory is one that can be falsified.

The obvious classic example would be Newton's laws of motion.  They provide a pretty good explanation of the world, but Einstein developed an alternative theory (which is consistent with "know" facts) and tests were devised to see whether Newton or Einstein better fit observations.  Of course there are numerous other examples too.

The same idea could be done for synchronicity or morphogenic fields.  You may have to wait for the current generation of scientists to die off to get it broadly accepted by the scientific community, but it will happen eventually if a reproducable experiment is discovered.

In the case of physics, you probably don't have to wait that long, I suspect that many physicists are looking for new theory (look at all the wacky theories you get these days) - provided of course it fits the known observations and any new ones that might be made.  Futhermore a synchronicity theory based on probability might appear reasonable to physicists (assuming experiments) as quantum mechanics also relies heavily on probability

And by the way, I do not accept a collective unconscious is required for synchronicity.  A more parsimonious explanation based on probability is more "scientific" (occam's razor) in the absence of any experiment that requires collective unconscious to make the theory firt the facts.

S. Tanna
Sunday, June 15, 2003

[All kinds of nutty ideas get published in peer reviewed journals all the time.]

I don't understand your basis for saying that. Of course the peer review process isn't perfect and nutty ideas might get through, even in the conservative journals. But saying all kinds of nutty ideas get published all the time can't be accurate.

The Real PC
Sunday, June 15, 2003

[I do not accept a collective unconscious is required for synchronicity]

I said that morphogenetic fields imply the existence of a collective mind.

The Real PC
Sunday, June 15, 2003

> I said that morphogenetic fields imply the existence of a collective mind.

I don't believe that is necessarily true, unless you define "morphogenetic" to require such. 

There could be some kind probability field causing things to self-repeat for any form of matter, or just living matter, that doesn't require any kind of mind, collective or not, behind it.  Simply a fact of nature.

Even if it this probability field causes different people's brains to communicate in some way, it no more requires a collective mind, than say talking or reading and writing (other forms of communication). If you were to define "collective mind" as simply existing because of any form of communication between different brains, then we already know it exists, and the term is essentially meaningless.

I repeat nutty (and not so nutty) ideas get published in peer reviewed journals all the time.  Watch the TV news, or read the newspapers, and you can find one (which is the tip of the iceberg), regularly, almost daily.  Most of the nutty ones get debunked sooner or later, but this is never as well published.  Think hink about some of the odder medical stories - for example.

"peer review" simply means some people read it and approved it before it got published. If the peers are nutty themselves, or believe the experiment is sound, or the article needs to be published, or...a hundred other reasons... article will get included in such a journal.

S. Tanna
Sunday, June 15, 2003

[If you were to define "collective mind" as simply existing because of any form of communication between different brains, then we already know it exists]

Who already knows it exists? Stephen Jones, for example, doesn't. Amazing Randi, and all his friends, don't.

If you read Sheldrake's book "A New Science of Mind" you would know that proof of morphogenetic fields (as he defines them) would shatter the materialists' claim that Mind can't exist without a brain.

The Real PC
Monday, June 16, 2003

I think I'll apply Occam's Razor and not bother with this thread anymore.

Simon Lucy
Monday, June 16, 2003

> I think I'll apply Occam's Razor and not bother with this thread anymore.

LOL

I'd decided that secretly around 3 posts ago.

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, June 16, 2003

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