Synchronocity ... Disturbing and Scary
Posted: 24 March 2008 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I appreciate everyone’s insight, it was helpful and re-assuring. I’ve removed the text to effectively retire this post to make room for other more concurrent topics.

[ Edited: 27 March 2008 03:00 PM by Cogito ]
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Posted: 25 March 2008 02:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Let me try to answer your post in two parts.

First, I’d like to offer a possible explanation for the two cases of synchronicity you mentioned. 
The game: Even though the group of people at the party was a different group from the first one, it’s enough if there is a minimal overlap of people from the two groups, even through a third friend. Now if the game you described is not played too often someone from the first group might have deemed the occurrence important/funny/rare enough to mention it to a friend (who might have mentioned it to a friend of a friend and so on) ... and it made it’s way to the second group.

The song: My first idea upon hearing this was that maybe you didn’t choose to listen to that album by random, and what I mean by this is - maybe you heard a song over the radio, read an article, saw a picture in a magazine that prompted you to listen to those records again, but the trigger was so small, so unimportant that you weren’t consciously aware of it.  The people on the bus might have seen the same article, the same picture which again triggered their discussion.

On a similar note, I sometimes find myself humming a catchy tune of a song I wasn’t aware of hearing and then figure out I must have heard it in a shop, or from a passing car.  In those cases I didn’t notice the trigger consciously but it still had an effect on me.  And there may be even a score of people out there humming the same song, or going through the same association chain!

For the second part of my answer I am entering the area of speculation.  You mention that you are suffering from OCD and that the nature and number of those synchronous occurrences exacerbate your anxiety.  I wonder whether cause and effect might actually be reversed in that OCD might cause a heightened sensitivity or tendency to look for patterns? I am not too familiar with the detailed implications of OCD (though I have a fair share of textbook knowledge) so I am not aware of any findings related to that but it might be worth to have a look at that.

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Posted: 25 March 2008 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’m sure this idea won’t be nearly as emotionally compelling as the experiences you describe, but confirmation bias seems the likely explanation to me. When you think of or do or hear something and it never comes up aghain, do you notice? Do you keep a statistical record of how often wierd coincidences don’t happen? Of course not. So I think it’s as simple as the fact that we all tend to notice the apparent patterns and coincidences and not notice the lack of pattern. In your case, it sounds like you have a tendancy to notice and ofcus on details, and you have some emotional asssociation with these events, which only makes them stand out that much more.

I don’t know that there’s an easy answer as to what to do. You could keep a meticulous log of everything you see, hear, or think and then calculate the fact that, probably, the overwhelming majority of events do not repeat and so those that do are likely just meaningless coincidence, But you can’t do that and have a life at the same time. I don’t know if you can simply choose not to care whether such things happen or not, which might reduce their impact for you if it were possible. Good luck, anyway! grin

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Posted: 25 March 2008 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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When you think of or do or hear something and it never comes up again, do you notice? Do you keep a statistical record of how often wierd coincidences don’t happen?

LOL thank you Brennen. I needed to read that. I did have some very odd coincidences myself, but when I started to go to http://www.skepticforum.com few months ago, and started to be made aware of lots of stuff I wasn’t of before, all that junk stopped all together. That really spelled it out for me.

[ Edited: 25 March 2008 11:52 AM by Daisy ]
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Posted: 25 March 2008 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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We all remember successes or concatinations preferentially.  I mentioned in a prior thread that as a soporific I sometimes play solitaire on my laptop as I lie in bed at night.  I noticed that I seemed to be able to predict the next card turned over from one of the piles quite often.  This bothered me, because I don’t believe in precognition.  So, I spent the next few nights setting up a spreadsheet for analysis.  Now, when I predicted correctly, I entered the number of cards remaining face down, and whether the other of the pair was already up.  This gave a probability of getting the card I was hoping for.  Similarly, I noted when I got it wrong.  Surprise.  I was right on track for what would be chance guesses.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have precognition, but at least I didn’t have statistically bad judgement.

However, it still feels good when I get it right, and I don’t even notice when I get it wrong.

Occam

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Posted: 25 March 2008 06:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Friday morning my wife’s espresso maker blew a $13 fuse. Saturday morning my lawn mower’s engine started running rough, puffing blue smoke, and died. Sunday morning our son’s car developed a coolant leak and overheated the engine and turbocharger. Disturbing and expensive events.

Coincidences happen all the time. Think about what Brennan said.

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Posted: 25 March 2008 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Brennen is absolutely right about confirmation bias, and we should also keep in mind the availability heuristic, whereby people routinely assume that events which are easier to remember are therefore more probable.

One remembers the coincidences, but forgets the myriad failed coincidences. For example, you remember the games that people mention, but don’t gauge that event against all the games you played that were not mentioned afterwards, all the dreams you had about X that were not followed by seeing X, all the times you thought about Y but did not then see Y afterwards, etc.

The point is that coincidences are vivid to the mind and hence easy to remember. This does not mean that they were more probable than mere chance, however.

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Posted: 14 April 2008 07:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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ON the lighter side…Here’s what one trio of 1980s philosophers said on the subject of Synchronicity.

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 headlights
The pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache
Many miles away
There’s a shadow on the door
Of a cottage on the shore
Of a dark Scottish lake
Many miles away, many miles away


Score two bonus points to the geek who can name this reference without Google.

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Posted: 15 April 2008 12:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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MountainHumanist - 14 April 2008 07:44 PM

Score two bonus points to the geek who can name this reference without Google.

Sounds like something the Moody Blues or one of their band members would have written.

Kyu

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Posted: 15 April 2008 04:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Sting and The Police.

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Posted: 15 April 2008 04:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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fotobits - 15 April 2008 04:41 AM

Sting and The Police.

Ding Ding!


fotobits wins a two bonus points and a case of Rice-o-roni, the San Francisco treat. Attaboy.

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Posted: 20 April 2008 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Cogito - 24 March 2008 10:57 PM

[Original Text Removed]

I appreciate everyone’s insight, it was helpful and re-assuring. I’ve removed the text to effectively retire this post to make room for other more concurrent topics.

I’m sorry you had to remove the original text. The discussion might have been useful and of interest to others.

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