coincidences

mms

sometimes
coincidences are happening alot at the moment, really basic ones but all the time, like i just looked at the villalobos interview and it had the word frisbee in it, the moment i saw it, paxman said frisbee on the telly. It's just these type of things apart from when i was thinking about some people i hadn't thought of for a while and saw both of them over the weekend randomly.
What do you think coincidences are, my mum in her new age glory would say say its some cosmic syncronicity but its a bit purposeless isn't it unless you want to look for patterns in it, which might be fun.. i reckon its neuro bizznizz a bit isn't it?, the brain calculating and highlighting expectations, focussing in on things, but it's happening alot just lately, maybe its tiredness too.
 
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swears

preppy-kei
You create the patterns in your own mind, millions of random events are perceived and you imagine significance in them based on totally arbitrary conclusions.
 

Martin Dust

Techno Zen Master
Not always, there are times when "it's" really shown it's self to useful, much like magick, the stuff that is useful could be made into a double side A5 leaflet.

If you work at it you can take it beyond the a-ha moment, but it is hard because it gets into some serious headfuck...
 

mms

sometimes
Not always, there are times when "it's" really shown it's self to useful, much like magick, the stuff that is useful could be made into a double side A5 leaflet.

If you work at it you can take it beyond the a-ha moment, but it is hard because it gets into some serious headfuck...
well yes i quite agree, picking out the patterns in it, the intent. i've been ignoring it a wee bit i think.
 

turtles

in the sea
Thing is with coincidences is that you really notice them when they happen, but you never notice all the other times when coincidences don't happen. I mean how many times have you been reading a word and not had someone on tv say it? How many times have you thought of people you haven't seen for a while, and continued to not see them? This happens all the time, but you don't notice it, you only notice the weird occasional coincidences.

So yes, occasionally things coincide in ways that have interesting meaning to people, but that's just probability. Unlikely events do happen, just not that often; however people tend to only notice the unlikely events, while ignoring the constant stream of non-coincidences, which makes the coincidences seem comparatively more frequent and important.
 
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mistersloane

heavy heavy monster sound
Coincidences do my head in.
Burroughs is really good about them though if you're on this track, It's all in 'The Adding Machine'
http://www.amazon.com/Adding-Machine-Selected-Essays/dp/1559702109
which I really enjoyed when I read it, it's his book of essays, so it's kinda Burroughs without the emotion or the art, which is no bad thing. He talks alot about them and what they mean to him.
I find coincidences turn one totally schizo if you think about them too much, so ended up just thinking that it's like the universe waving 'hi!' at you, making you remember you're alive. I bet they don't happen when you're dead.
They happen more when you do drugs lol, I don't know what that means though, or what they mean.
 

Martin Dust

Techno Zen Master
So yes, occasionally things coincide in ways that have interesting meaning to people, but that's just probability. Unlikely events do happen, just not that often; however people tend to only notice the unlikely events, while ignoring the constant stream of non-coincidences, which makes the coincidences seem comparatively more frequent and important.
What a ridiculous statement to make, I guess your life must be on rails then?
 

turtles

in the sea
What a ridiculous statement to make, I guess your life must be on rails then?
Umm, i'm actually not quite sure what you mean by "on rails" there--are we talking railway rails? As in my life is totally deterministic, like a train on its tracks. Not trying to be cheeky, i'm honestly a bit confused. I think something was lost crossing the atlantic there.

Anyway, to restate my ridiculous statement, all I'm saying is that tonnes of random events happen everyday, but most of them are completely unremarkable. Every now and then though some random event will happen that has a particular significance to someone and it will be interpreted as a coincidence. But all it is is just one random event among a large large string of random events that are occuring all the time. We notice these events and not the others and think "wow what a coincidence" but really, they have the same significance as all the other random events that are occuring around us, which is to say very little, because they are all random events.
 

Martin Dust

Techno Zen Master
Umm, i'm actually not quite sure what you mean by "on rails" there--are we talking railway rails? As in my life is totally deterministic, like a train on its tracks. Not trying to be cheeky, i'm honestly a bit confused. I think something was lost crossing the atlantic there.

Anyway, to restate my ridiculous statement, all I'm saying is that tonnes of random events happen everyday, but most of them are completely unremarkable. Every now and then though some random event will happen that has a particular significance to someone and it will be interpreted as a coincidence. But all it is is just one random event among a large large string of random events that are occuring all the time. We notice these events and not the others and think "wow what a coincidence" but really, they have the same significance as all the other random events that are occuring around us, which is to say very little, because they are all random events.
I'm not going to bite but do you believe it's possible, by any method, to force the hand of chance?
 

substance d

epectetus
I agree with Turtles, many coincidences are insignificant.

However, I have just found this forum, and I am rather astonished that there are so many people on here hip to such things as dubstep/grime, Adorno and Phillip K. Dick.

I dont read any mystikal implications into this, but it does blow my mind in a small way!
 

turtles

in the sea
I'm not going to bite but do you believe it's possible, by any method, to force the hand of chance?
Do we have the ability to force chance? Well outside of actually physically interacting with whatever chance we're talking about (i'm not really sure what we're talking about), then no, we have no ability to somehow change probabilities for events outside our control or affect.
 

mms

sometimes
well i went to this random thing last night where my mate was playing and out of the group of people i was thinking about the other day who i hadn't seem for for years, (two of whom i saw at the weekend) who should be there, but the third person that links the first two together, he is the ex flatmate of the first person i saw and the ex boyfriend of the second person i saw.
so there you go.
 

tryptych

waiting for a time
Turtles is right. "Co-incidences" are for the most part, not remarkable at all. They're predicted by statistics - it's just human nature to attach special significance to them.

Another factor is sub-conscious influences, so-called transliminity. This is what people like Derren Brown exploit, appearing to "force the hand of chance", by making you think of a certain event, pick a certain card, etc etc without being consciously aware you are directed towards them. This happens in the everyday too - something below the level of your conscious experience is noted, and connections are formed, leading your mind to bring to the surface a thought about someone you havn't seen for a while, for example.

Here's a short article on the statistics of co-incidences, from New Scientist. I can post a longer one on transliminity and the paranormal if people are interested:

What are the chances?
25 September 2004
From New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.
Robert Matthews


MANY people would call them spooky: bizarre coincidences that loom out at us from the randomness of everyday events. But obviously there's nothing in them. Everyone knows that randomness is the very essence of patternless, lawless disorder.

Obvious, but wrong. Peer hard enough into the fog of randomness, and you can glimpse regularities and universal truths normally associated with deep cosmic order. Why? Because what we call randomness is only a chained and muzzled version of the real thing. When forced to act within certain limits, imposed on it by the constraints of the world we live in, randomness sheds just a little of its notorious mathematical lawlessness. The effect is often subtle, but sometimes it's as plain as day - when you know where to look.

Take lottery numbers, for example. Surprisingly, barely half of all lottery draws look like the kind of jumble of six numbers one expects when randomness is at work. Among the other half, tiny specks of order appear: a pair of consecutive numbers, perhaps, or longer or more intricate runs.

But no one is fixing the lottery - statistical tests have proved this - so what is going on? Look at the numbers used in each draw. Truly random numbers know no bounds but those in the lottery have no such freedom. In the UK's Lotto game, for example, they are confined to the range 1 to 49. And whenever randomness has its style cramped in this way, with only certain outcomes allowed, it loses some of its utter lawlessness and unpredictability. Instead, it must fall into line with probability theory, which describes the behaviour of infinite randomness in a finite world.

In the case of the UK's Lotto, probability theory proves that examples of apparently anomalous order will show up in roughly half of all draws. When randomness is compelled to scatter surprises among just a limited number of outcomes, we should expect the unexpected.

Take the weekend of 14 and 15 August this year, the first of this year's English football premiership competition, when 20 teams played each other in 10 matches. It turns out that half of those matches featured players sharing the same birthday. A bizarre coincidence? In fact, probability theory shows that when randomness is forced to scatter the birthdays of the 22 players in each match among the 365 days of a year, there is a roughly 50:50 chance that at least two players in a match will share the same birthday. In other words, around half of the 10 matches played on that first weekend should have seen at least two players sharing the same birthday. And that's exactly what happened.

Probability theory also predicted a roughly 50:50 chance that at least one player out of the 230 playing that weekend would be celebrating his birthday on the day of the match. In fact, two were: Jay-Jay Okocha of Bolton Wanderers, and Johnnie Jackson of Tottenham Hotspur.

Looking harder still at randomness reveals more subtle signs of its revolt against constraint. Around a century ago, the statistician Ladislaus Bortkiewicz produced a classic study of fatalities in the Prussian army that highlights a bizarre link between randomness and a universal mathematical constant known as e. This never-ending decimal number, which begins 2.718281..., often pops up in natural processes where the rate of some process depends on the present state of the system, such as the rate of growth of populations, or radioactive decay.

Bortkiewicz's data shows this universal number can also be found lurking in random events, such as the risk of death from a horse-kick. According to the reports, the Prussian soldiers all faced a small but finite risk of death from horse-kicks, amounting to an average of one fatality every 1.64 years. Bortkiewicz found that of the 200 reports, 109 recorded no deaths at all. Now divide 200 by 109, and raise the result to the power 1.64, the average interval between deaths through horse-kicks. The result is 2.71 - within 1 per cent of e.

A fluke? Not at all: it's to do with the mathematics of what are called Poisson distributions. Probability theory shows that e can be expected to pop up when lots of randomly triggered events are spread over a restricted interval of time. The same is true of events spread over a limited region of space: you can extract a value of e from the impact sites of the V-1 "flying bombs" targeted on south London during the second world war. While there were hundreds of impacts, the chances of randomness landing a V-1 on a specific part of the capital were low. And analysing the data in the same way as for horse-kick deaths leads to a value for e of 2.69 - again, within around 1 per cent of the exact value.

It's a similar story with everything from radioactive decay to the rate at which wars break out between nations over the years. In each case, the chances of the event may be low, but there are lots of opportunities for it to happen, and randomness responds by allowing e to inveigle its way into the data.

Cajoling the constants

Suitably cajoled, randomness will also produce values for probably the most famous universal constant of all. Drop a needle carelessly onto wooden floorboards: the number of times it falls across a gap between the floorboards depends on the dimensions of the needle, the floorboards and... p. It appears because of the random angle at which the needle ends up on the floor. Observe a few tens of thousands of such events and an accurate value of p emerges from the randomness.

If you want to try it without the needles, gather together a million pairs of random integers and check whether each pair has any common factor. Multiply the proportion of the total that don't by 6 and take the square root: the result is an impressively accurate value of p.

This same approach lets you extract values for p from the scattering of stars across the night sky. Compare the distance between any two stars on the celestial sphere with that of any other pair. Do this for the 100 brightest stars in the sky, and the common-factor method gives you a "celestial" value for p of 3.12772 - within 0.5 per cent of the true value.

We humans seem to have a penchant for seeing patterns in randomness, from religious figures in clouds to faces on Mars. We're right to dismiss most of them as nothing more than illusions, but sometimes they are real. Anyone who knows numbers can see that the mystics were onto something - there really are patterns hidden among the stars.
 

mms

sometimes
Turtles is right. "Co-incidences" are for the most part, not remarkable at all. They're predicted by statistics - it's just human nature to attach special significance to them.

Another factor is sub-conscious influences, so-called transliminity. This is what people like Derren Brown exploit, appearing to "force the hand of chance", by making you think of a certain event, pick a certain card, etc etc without being consciously aware you are directed towards them. This happens in the everyday too - something below the level of your conscious experience is noted, and connections are formed, leading your mind to bring to the surface a thought about someone you havn't seen for a while, for example.

Here's a short article on the statistics of co-incidences, from New Scientist. I can post a longer one on transliminity and the paranormal if people are interested:
they are remarkable, they are lush when they happen and you can learn to interpret coincidences or just get alot of pleasure from them, just because there may be some quantifiable reasons for them it does'nt make it any less wonderful when patterns form or coincidences happen.
 
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