He may have unraveled the secret of synchronicity. Will science prove him right?|306|

All communication is imperfect in an imperfect world, no doubt about it, but it's actually a pity, not something to rejoice about - flawless communication would certainly be the ideal situation from the perspective of someone who knows that they can at least try to save your life by conveying a truly meaningful message to you, while telling you "153èè@@@ @ff främmande Anche" would certainly have been completely meaningless and hence useless to you from the start, right? The fact that you will decide to ignore me if I give you intelligible directions and instead do other things has nothing to do with the fact that I used a shared language/system of conveying meaning, albeit imperfect, which you understood sufficiently well in the first place. I still had a communicative intention which led me to use a shared system of expressing meaning, regardless of what you would think of or do with my advice. I would certainly have wished to hear what a fireman was telling me before ignoring his advice at my own peril. Similarly, ignoring the "meaning" conveyed by specific synchronicities would be perfectly fine, but first we would have to be sure that we understand what they mean (if they have a meaning at all, that is, if there is a specific communicative intention behind them that they convey in what would be an intelligible way if only we had some kind of Rosetta stone for them - which I know, is completely unrealistic because we don't even know if they are more like the signs of a language or like the improvised dance moves of one -or several- "artists"). Otherwise, again, synchronicities are nothing more than Rorschach inkblots in our consensus reality. Which they might as well be! Nice if you like poetry and art and "spirituality", unhelpful if you want to get to a deep understanding of the fabric of reality and what its ultimate meaning is. Or at least what the meaning of our human existence is, the rest may well be completely unfathomable.
As to your last point "Believing one can fix meaning so it doesnt change is a problem, you can't.;..". I didn't say that - I copy and paste from my latest post: "The point you are making is fine if we are talking about the evolution of language in time, of course, but at given moment there must be agreement between those communicating as to the meaning of the symbols they are using (even if 100% may be impossible), like sharing the words of the same language, otherwise no real communication can happen. It's just solipsistic projection ("I believe he said this") ."
...there are times where it may not be a pity, and it may be something to rejoice about.
 
Secondly, I'm not at all afraid to die in fact. It's living this life of ignorance, being a small cog in a huge, unfathomable mechanism (the Universe), very probably until the very last day in my life that bothers me a lot more. Maybe death will bring higher knowledge (at least in the sense that if I die and that's it, I will at least know for sure that death is the end, at least for me, lol!) so maybe every cloud (even the final one :)) has a silver lining. after all. But I'm certainly not keen on suffering, it's bad enough being forced to live in an imperfect world where suffering abounds, and that I can change only microscopically. I find it intriguing how people who believe in reincarnation find it comforting! In fact ancient religions speak of reincarnation as a curse, the plan was for them to teach us NOT to reincarnate, but in the West people tend to look at reincarnation for reassurance that they will not really die...weird!
A brief personal comment, regarding suffering and reincarnation ... and maybe other things as well.

In my early adulthood, a lot of things seemed to be going wrong for me. I had bursts of success followed by sudden tumbling crashes down. My background was scientific/atheist during this time. Along with these rises and falls in my fortunes, there was suffering, something which is internal, it is invisible to the outside world yet it can be more significant than any visible phenomena.

During that time I neither wanted to live nor to die. Both were unsatisfactory. There was a sense of huge pointlessness, a waste of potential, a waste even of the fact that I suffered. Whether I rejoiced or wept, what did it add up to? And so I had questions questions questions which caused me to look in every direction, the scientific or orthodox ones, various religions and ideas from around the world, fringe and lunatic ideas. Somewhere along the line was the idea of reincarnation, It meant as little as any of the others, but reading about it was at least a distraction which could occupy my thoughts.

At some point the dam burst, ideas were released, some pieces of this mess made sense. Suddenly there was the idea that things might have a point. It didn't matter that I didn't know what that point was. Just the mere possibility that the world was not completely pointless was in itself a revelation like the brightest shaft of sunlight in the darkness.

So here I'm not offering any solutions or explanations. Only the suspicion that both may exist.
 
A brief personal comment, regarding suffering and reincarnation ... and maybe other things as well.

In my early adulthood, a lot of things seemed to be going wrong for me. I had bursts of success followed by sudden tumbling crashes down. My background was scientific/atheist during this time. Along with these rises and falls in my fortunes, there was suffering, something which is internal, it is invisible to the outside world yet it can be more significant than any visible phenomena.

During that time I neither wanted to live nor to die. Both were unsatisfactory. There was a sense of huge pointlessness, a waste of potential, a waste even of the fact that I suffered. Whether I rejoiced or wept, what did it add up to? And so I had questions questions questions which caused me to look in every direction, the scientific or orthodox ones, various religions and ideas from around the world, fringe and lunatic ideas. Somewhere along the line was the idea of reincarnation, It meant as little as any of the others, but reading about it was at least a distraction which could occupy my thoughts.

At some point the dam burst, ideas were released, some pieces of this mess made sense. Suddenly there was the idea that things might have a point. It didn't matter that I didn't know what that point was. Just the mere possibility that the world was not completely pointless was in itself a revelation like the brightest shaft of sunlight in the darkness.

So here I'm not offering any solutions or explanations. Only the suspicion that both may exist.
What a beautiful post. I'm so happy for you. Thank you so much for sharing this. Wish me luck :)
 
What a beautiful post. I'm so happy for you. Thank you so much for sharing this. Wish me luck :)
Thanks. I didn't know that it might be beautiful - in the eye of the beholder I guess. Still, much of what I referred to is now quite far in the past, things far away and long ago, But the ideas persist.
 
Thanks. I didn't know that it might be beautiful - in the eye of the beholder I guess.
I sooooo love British self-deprecation (we need more of it in this world - whether it's British or not of course :)), but what I said about your post is true - so put it in your pipe and smoke it (a nice expression I was taught by English friends, thank you for giving me the opportunity to use it :))
 
Thank you for your thoughts Alan. Perhaps our dialogue is somewhat off topic in this thread but well, I guess people are interested in synchronicities and all the rest because they want to understand what life is all about so this is not off topic after all. You say "If you are going to have a world with free will then you are going to have a world with evil" - I disagree! Supposing that there is a God, and supposing he's almighty, he could have made us different. In other words, he pre-programmed human beings with the possibility that they could be truly, utterly evil. I don't see the benefit to mankind in giving us the full range of free will which also includes such "free choices" as becoming, say, a serial killer or a child murderer (supposing these people are truly free - what about mentally deranged people, but in general, to what extent are we really free, conditioned as we are by genes and environment and who knows what else? If we truly have free will, then it's definitely not as free as it's cracked up to be...). Same for the material world. If your definition of God is that of an almighty being, the natural world could have been engineered to NOT include earthquakes, genetic defects, etc etc. Animals could have been able to get nourishment directly from the sun and non-organic sources, rather than having to kill each other violently. Etc etc. It strikes me that even a simple human being like can think of ways of being more considerate than most believer's idea of God :).
Maybe true. Certainly it bothers me too. So, just want to say that I know where you are coming from. Someone I know has lost both her sisters at an early age (one about 18 back in 1985) and one a few years ago at about age 41. She finds talking about God hard.
 
And here we go, small synchronicity of the day :). I made an example about the German word "GIFT" meaning "poison" in one of my posts early this morning (at 7.44 my time I see), now I've just visited the business section of the Guardian online and seen this :
EU referendum: British exit would be 'poison', says German finance minister
Sunday 6 March 2016 12.08 GMT
http://www.theguardian.com/world/20...on-german-finance-minister-wolfgang-schaeuble

(article published today at 12:08 GMT I see - and the show where he spoke was broadcast this morning at 9 am UK time, just checked here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcone/programmes/schedules/london). So both occurred AFTER my post. Am I psychic? :)
 
First of all thank you very much for kindly replying to my questions at length, I truly appreciate it. I cannot say I agree with a lot of what you wrote - the sentence above is clearly a point where we'll have to agree to disagree, but you gave me lots of food for thought and this is why I'm here: to hopefully form a more informed opinion about this topic, given that it's extremely likely that in my lifetime there will be no true "scientific theory" about these occurrences. This exchange with you for example has helped me clarify for myself why exactly I am not willing or able to read a specific message in synchronicities while lots of people seem to be able to see a specific meaning in them (which may be different for each of them, and that's another thing which leads me to think that it's just projection....again, you don't have to agree with me of course, we're all entitled to our opinions!). I'll use an example once again. If I stretch out my arm towards you, with an object in it, say a cigarette and I say: GIFT, you will think that I am offering you a present. You are receiving my message based on YOUR previous knowledge/expectations/understanding, and you will assume it's the right one. In the same way, a highly strange coincidence happens and you see it as a synchronicity - it's meaningful to you, maybe you even choose a course of action because of it . However, going back to the example, what if the person showing you the cigarette was in fact German and could not speak English? The word GIFT means POISON in German. To me what truly counts is the intention and the actual objective content of message in the mind of the one who communicates, not the one who interprets it. This is why unless I were 100% sure that my interpretation of the specific message (synchronicity) I'm seeing is the right one (and there can be no certainly about it), I would not take it as meaningful, just as improbable (the two things are not necessarily related imo - improbability could be just an end in itself, a way of jolting us, for example). On the face of it, one may think that something is being offered as a gift, but instead it's being defined as poison. As you know, those who notice synchronicities tend to believe that they are, well, gifts - signs from God or the angels or whatever, giving them reassurance, specific instructions about their life or what is happening/will happen in the world etc. As I said before, so far all I can say for sure is that synchronicities are clear evidence that reality is stranger than what it appears based on the current scientific paradigm, but (to use a language metaphor again) it's like meeting an alien speaking an unknown language :) - yes, it's proof that there's alien intelligence, but as to what the alien is saying, we would have to learn his grammar and vocabulary first, to make sense of what he's saying.
I guess I would ask, to what extent is meaning irreducible and objective? My definition of meaning being a feature of story means that it cannot be isolated and it is always subjective to a degree.

And this brings in the subject of identity and sameness. Is anything truly "the same" or "identical"? Or are things sometimes close enough to being identical that we can ignore the ambiguity for practicality and assume sameness? If you speak a message to me and I get your meaning, is the meaning that pops into my head after several transformations of meaning and symbol the exact same meaning as what originated in your head or is it just close enough? What if I said "ew gross, there's a cup on the coffee table!" You might wonder why I'm saying that. Perhaps the cup is full of stale moldy coffee? Perhaps I just hate cups or coffee? Or perhaps my teenage son just got in from athletics and threw his gear on the coffee table which happened to include an athletic supporter...? (Sorry to be gross!)

Ambiguity is inherent in all communication because nothing is every truly identical. The more "sameness" we can add the less the ambiguity and the more effective the communication. Digital communication breaks things down to 1s and 0s and uses redundancy so that makes it really really hard for ambiguity to enter, but the bits are still stored physically and there is always the chance for loss over time or in transmission.

At any rate, ambiguity is what allows free choice to enter. A mechanistic system is one with very low ambiguity so there is little chance of the result of the system being varied from its logical conclusion. Ambiguity allows for deception. Deception and free choice then arise together. I think this is the hidden wisdom in the Genesis creation myth where the serpent deceives and plays on the ambiguity in God's meaning and this leads to the era of free choice where they become as gods.

In your example, you use the word "gift" as you hand out a cigarette to me. Based on the context of your action, I might assume you mean gift in the English sense. Now the question is: do you know that I'll make this assumption? Are you intending to be deceptive by knowingly playing on the double entendre? In that case, perhaps I conjured the meaning you wanted? If you intended to tell me it was poison, why would you communicate the opposite with your body language? I'm not so sure meaning is ever completely irreducible from the context of the story in which it is experienced individually. For all practical purposes meanings that are highly similar can be considered the same, but if we forget that we are making this assumption we move away from skepticism and forget the role of ambiguity in reality and also open ourselves up a little more to deception.

I think I am just barely hitting the highlights of literary deconstruction of which I only know a little, but you get the gist of my meaning. :)

This could bring us to the role of humor in reality. Why do we have a sense of humor? If the universe is a mechanism, whence comes humor into it? Humor arises out of this trickster aspect of reality where roles are reversed, boundaries are crossed, the high is brought low and the low is elevated, and meanings are confused, double entendres are punny, and that which is exact and serious is mocked and made ambiguous. Humor and the trickster play a significant role in the creation of this reality and that could be why some of these synchs are so silly and arbitrary. It is the trickster God or the trickster aspect of the divine spirit engine manifesting itself in our storylines in a silly capricious way.

Last summer, I took a vacation with my girlfriend and two synchs happened. I was on the lookout for them to occur before going on the trip because I had learned from my time here that synchs happen on trips and periods of breaking out of routine. First, I randomly changed my desktop background to a picture of a place that we visited one month before we visited it. My girlfriend planned the trip as a surprise so I had no idea I was going there. I didn't even know what this place was until I got back home and recognized it on my background. The other synch: the back right tire of our rental car had a slow leak all week and I had to air it up all week. When I got back home to my truck, the back right tire was flat. I had 3 more flats in the back right tire within 3 months. So 5 flats on a back right tire within about 3 months. And I have huge 4x4 off road tires that are not prone to flats. I haven't had flats in years. Weird.
 
This could bring us to the role of humor in reality. Why do we have a sense of humor? If the universe is a mechanism, whence comes humor into it? Humor arises out of this trickster aspect of reality where roles are reversed, boundaries are crossed, the high is brought low and the low is elevated, and meanings are confused, double entendres are punny, and that which is exact and serious is mocked and made ambiguous. Humor and the trickster play a significant role in the creation of this reality and that could be why some of these synchs are so silly and arbitrary. It is the trickster God or the trickster aspect of the divine spirit engine manifesting itself in our storylines in a silly capricious way.
The Trickster. Something very important here but I can't quite get my head round it. Thanks for sharing this. I have George P. Hansen's The Trickster and and the Paranormal and have dipped in and out of it. Perhaps I need to read it properly.
 
The Trickster. Something very important here but I can't quite get my head round it. Thanks for sharing this. I have George P. Hansen's The Trickster and and the Paranormal and have dipped in and out of it. Perhaps I need to read it properly.
It is a tough slog at times but I read it making no attempt to remember all the names and dates and places mentioned (there are a lot!) I just kind of breezed over the excessive detail to get the gestalt ideas he was conveying which were immensely paradigm shifting for me!
 
Last summer, I took a vacation with my girlfriend and two synchs happened. I was on the lookout for them to occur before going on the trip because I had learned from my time here that synchs happen on trips and periods of breaking out of routine. First, I randomly changed my desktop background to a picture of a place that we visited one month before we visited it. My girlfriend planned the trip as a surprise so I had no idea I was going there. I didn't even know what this place was until I got back home and recognized it on my background. The other synch: the back right tire of our rental car had a slow leak all week and I had to air it up all week. When I got back home to my truck, the back right tire was flat. I had 3 more flats in the back right tire within 3 months. So 5 flats on a back right tire within about 3 months. And I have huge 4x4 off road tires that are not prone to flats. I haven't had flats in years. Weird.
Now that I think about it, I could view the incredibly odd series of flat tires as a meaningful karmic message or a punishment for a minor lapse in integrity on the trip... I failed to disclose to the rental car agent upon returning it that I damaged (tore off) the front lip spoiler when I hit a dip. I didn't get insurance on the car, and it was a cosmetic issue and not a safety issue so I just figured "if they don't notice it on the check-in inspection, I'm not going to say anything and maybe I won't have to pay for it." I did tell them about the leaky tire because I considered it a safety issue.

Besides all the leaky tires, our return flight home had two mechanical failures: a broken luggage door latch delayed us over an hour while it was being fixed.. Then we took off and had no oil pressure to the engines which could have been devastating. We immediately landed again, de-planed and had to take a different plane.

Meaningful message? I don't know. I doubt it, but strange indeed.

A few years ago, I attended a Bible study with a bunch of fairly young people. There was one guy there who I would say got onto a synchronicity roll... Or at the time we all interpreted it as "being in the will of God." He was a very charismatic guy, great storyteller, very extroverted, and a relatively recent convert to Christianity. (He had also done shrooms in the past). He had some of the most amazing "coincidences" I'd heard and they all had to do with things lining up in an almost miraculous way that led to helping and blessing people in need. I also had another housemate for a while who was very similar... Charismatic, Christian, extroverted and full of passion and energy. At times it would seem like the universe lined itself up for them when they were in the midst of an episode of deep selflessness and passion for helping people.

I think there is a way to live that is very difficult for modern man, but it is a way of living that sort of rides a wave of synchronicity where every need is met without striving for it. I've never seen anyone stay in this zone very long as the old ego and the cares of life eventually bring one down from the high and the helpful coincidences fade away.
 
So here I'm not offering any solutions or explanations. Only the suspicion that both may exist.
Well, lest I do an injustice to this account, I should change that statement. Before I reached that shaft of illuminating sunlight, I'd reached the lowest ebb, where I could not go on. And I asked for help.

There's a key there. Seek and ye will find, ask and you will receive. It may not always work, but when I really meant it, I asked and received. That could be a solution. It certainly is somewhat of an explanation, though of the utmost brevity. But it would be wrong to omit this.
 
A few years ago, I attended a Bible study with a bunch of fairly young people. There was one guy there who I would say got onto a synchronicity roll... Or at the time we all interpreted it as "being in the will of God." He was a very charismatic guy, great storyteller, very extroverted, and a relatively recent convert to Christianity. (He had also done shrooms in the past). He had some of the most amazing "coincidences" I'd heard and they all had to do with things lining up in an almost miraculous way that led to helping and blessing people in need. I also had another housemate for a while who was very similar... Charismatic, Christian, extroverted and full of passion and energy. At times it would seem like the universe lined itself up for them when they were in the midst of an episode of deep selflessness and passion for helping people.
An interesting example: http://quakerphilosopher.blogspot.co.uk/2007_09_01_archive.html
(the bit about the Ethiopian restaurant)
 
If we view synchronicity as a mechanism, then it might be something more like gravity in the 5th dimension - curvatures and densities in meaning-space. Highly meaningful events (emotionally charged events or choices) send out field lines forwards and backwards in time and can possibly attract more meaningful events. A synchronicity might be like doing a loop through the 5th dimension while orbiting around a dense area of meaning-space. Many have noted that synchs occur more frequently during travel or periods of change or breaking out of the daily routine. These are periods when we increase the meaning that we experience. It could be that meaning attracts meaning..........Or is it all symbol and meaning bouncing back and forth in an endless series of transformations and interpretations of information as in a hall of mirrors?
I strongly agree that " real-world meaning" is objective and that there are stable patterns of interaction that can be quantified and "mechanisms" inferred.

Likewise, with a rational approach, it is common-sense that if "like-meanings" can structurally reinforce each, then travel, new environments and beginnings of new social patterns are nexus points. They indicate an increase in probable pathways for meaningful experiences. I do think that we can image and/or imagine the workings of structured information. The term informational object*, at least for me, is a useful approximation and model for assigning pragmatic terms and quantities to the interactions. Of course, if this is true, science/maths should have already have past progress available as substance for new theories.

Logic as an empirical theory may be a great starting place. In this way "meaning" can expand its role from - just subjectivity - to objective relations. Informational objects can lead to the belief that "ideas whose time (and space) has come" is real a literal way.

* an ontology of structural objects for OSR can reasonably be developed in terms of informational objects, and that Object Oriented Programming provides a flexible and powerful methodology with which to clarify and make precise the concept of “informational object”. The outcome is informational realism, the view that the world is the totality of informational objects dynamically interacting with each other. - L. Floridi
 
Hi Alex, this made me smile! - I quote from the article you just posted: "Maybe the Italian language was better suited for discussing his theory. French used to be the language for diplomacy, and German was highly regarded for science. In Italian, Dr. Wargo could have made his teoria exciting, happy, sunny with a Mediterranean air!" -

To me this is yet another minor synchronicity: I'm Italian. Not even Italian-American, I mean born and raised in Italy, Europe, 100% "made in Italy" :). This joke was after all uncalled for (there was no need to refer to foreign languages in a post about a podcast on synchronicity). OK so Italians are stereotypically considered "not serious" as a people, so he *had* to refer to the Italian language to make fun of Dr Wargo. But then again, how many women (or even men) from Italy are posting in the Skeptiko Forum? (and I've only joined because I'm trying to make sense of my synchronicities).
:) we are in agreement... Max was right.
 
I think you'll find all the answers you're looking for in the LEGO Movie :) ...seriously... that would be a good one for "Skeptiko at the movies."

Science is the study of patterns. The mistake made in scientism is to believe that there is only pattern without ambiguity and therefore without opportunity for choice or novelty and therefore without meaning. Pattern is a combination of objective existence and subjective overlay of boundaries. Scientism denies the role of this subjective component and denies the limits of logic. I say embrace the fruits of the study of patterns but recognize the limits of logic and enjoy being in the middle of mystery.
you're one step ahead :) already scheduled :)
 
First of all, experiments have only shown that precognition becomes tangible in a small time window (10 seconds in Bem's experiments), so I believe that trying to justify events that happen in an undetermined amount of time into the future may be pushing those test results too far.
this struck me as a little bit funny given all the other posts... do you really think we should limit our imagination to few scattered experiments... especially since science in general completely rejects them. what are we holding onto?
 
this struck me as a little bit funny given all the other posts... do you really think we should limit our imagination to few scattered experiments... especially since science in general completely rejects them. what are we holding onto?
No, but we should not assume that the clarity of the precognitive visions should be as stable in visions that predict events relatively far ahead in the future based on them. For most regular people (not psychic) "long term precognition" seems to be highly fragmentary and seen in dreams, indicating that being adjacent to the event in question affects how accurate it can be.
 
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