What do you think of coincidences?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wegs, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. "Spiritual" can be alternatively construed in non-occult ways. Of pertaining to conceptual affairs (including the common fact of one's life being coordinated under ideas / plans / systems which transcend one's personal interests or selfishness). Of referring to new life directions resulting from novel, intoxicating, extreme, and even horrible experiences -- and feelings like wonder from beauty, grandness, etc. Of pointing to the functions of "sacredness" in unifying a group of people (expressing respect for certain conventions and reverence for culturally important items and historical events / sacrifices); and denoting deference, adherence to principles of a chosen practice / path. And so forth.

    On the other foot: The usage or significance of "materialism" itself can often be ambiguous in a conversation or discussion.

    In an everyday sense it refers to passion for wealth and material possessions or a lifestyle and construct of personal meaning centered around such.

    In a philosophical sense it refers to a metaphysical / ontological belief in a matter monism. Since "matter" is a generalization, it's yet another abstract invention (summarizing "substance") treated as more real in an underlying or overarching way than immediate perceptual encounters with particular phenomena.

    In a methodological context it's an explanatory approach that focuses on the mechanistic interactions and relationships of objects in space.

    In philosophy of mind, it points to a set of approaches (eliminativism, functionalism, identity theory, etc), or those as modifiers which designate sub-species of metaphysical, method, physiological materialism that have application in PoM.

    In the contemporary era, non-everyday "materialism" is argued to be better replaced by "physicalism", especially since that potentially standardizes the meaning of "matter" as something defined by or delegated to physics. However, there are issues arising from lack of consensus about the nature of that concept as well.

    Johnny-Dee: I like your way of characterizing physicalism. Unfortunately, physicalists themselves have a hard time coming up with a definition of physicalism. When I attended Bowling Green University's conference on physicalism this past spring, the speakers couldn't agree on what "physicalism" was. The best definitions were "negative" (e.g., physicalism is not dualism). Many of the papers that didn't want to get entangled in the definition debate would say things like, "we can't agree on a philosophical definition of physicalism, but we all know what we mean by it." I thought it was very humorous. Although, I agreed with Sara Worley's definition of physicalism as non-teleological. She seemd unconcerned that her conception of physicalism seems self-refuting along the lines that have been sketched by Norman Malcolm, William Hasker, and yourself. --comment posted on Victor Reppert's blog "Dangerous Idea", Nov 2, 2005; entry titled "On The Concept Of Physicalism"
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
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  3. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    That is a coincidence. But, I'm always wary of people who do horrible things ''in the name of'' their god.

    lol I actually read something recently about probabilities, and how ''odds are'' usually always 50/50 ...no matter the circumstance. You flip a coin say 1000 times, if you had to ''guess'' how many times it would land on heads, it would likely be around 500. or 490. Or something close to 50% of the time, landing on heads. I thought that was weird how most of the time, no matter what, the odds will be 50/50, roughly. But, maybe we attach meaning behind those odds, but really, there's no meaning there at all.

    True, but law of large numbers would dictate that the longer the person would play, the more likely they'd win ...something. But, that's not really a coincidence.

    Back to my original story of walking down the street and finding a winning lottery ticket, this is a route the person NEVER takes, but that one day, they were forced to take a different route because of sidewalk construction, and they pick up a lottery ticket, and discover that it's worth millions. Why couldn't this be an example of a meaningful coincidence?
     
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  5. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Exactly. For me, spirituality means the freedom to believe in God, without the restrictive dogma attached to my beliefs. I grew up in a rigid Christian home, and that didn't feel very spiritual back then, rather it felt like a cult of which I was forced to be a part of, but never knew why. And the dogma attached to it mainly had to do with 'rights and wrong' and 'hell fire.' Spirituality flows and creates a peace and joy that religion doesn't offer, at least to my way of thinking.


    Okay, not how I intended the meaning of the word. But, you're right.



    This is how I meant it or at least how I've seen it applied.

    To sum it up -- We are more than physical beings, though, aren't we? Which is why I'd have a hard time being labeled as a physical-ist, even if I didn't believe in a higher being.

    And then, I found this -- http://atheistspirituality.net/

    What a coincidence!

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  7. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't it interesting that some people (you) believe that most likely, there is nothing beyond the physical realm of which we are capable of understanding, and some people (me) think that most likely, there is Something beyond it? But, you're right - the more we learn, the more questions there seem to be that rise to the surface.

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  8. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    The odds don't go up the longer they play for a game where each occurrence is independent from any other. Your chance of rolling a six with one die is 1 out of 6. If you roll the die for an hour, on your next roll the chance of rolling a six is still...1 out of 6.

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    Regarding your "meaningful coincidence" you have created and can define this phrase any way you want to so it means whatever you want it to mean. If I roll a die looking for a six you would say rolling a six is a coincidence. If I roll three sixes in a roll you (I'm guessing) would call that a meaningful coincidence.

    It's no different in kind. The probability is just lower. Rolling one six is 1/6. Rolling three sixes in a row is 1/6 x 1/6 x 1/6 or 1/216 or .0046.

    If you think there is someone or something guiding you then you might interpret things differently I guess. If you believe in free will then it will be equivalent to the dice rolling example.

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  9. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    hahaha This made me smile, because I think you could be right. So, we have preconceived notions already in mind, as to what might make for a meaningful coincidence.


    Spiritual people believe in ''free will,'' but not sure that is what you mean, here? (sorry, not quite sure what you mean)
     
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  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I mean that you (not someone else) chooses where you go if you believe in free will so when you go down a sidewalk that you haven't gone down before it's because you chose to and there's no meaning to attach to it.

    If you think someone else is "telling" you to go down that sidewalk because there is a lottery ticket down there that they want you to have...that's not free will.

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  11. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    LOL, okay - gotcha.

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  12. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Quick crew of queries, Wegs...
    How do you relate coincidences with kismet?
    Do you give any thought to providence in coincidences?
    Is it possible/probable that a state of acute situational awareness might lead to more/less coincidental events?
     
  13. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Could an occurrence be ''fate?'' Maybe. If there are such things as ''meaningful coincidences,'' they'd resemble kismet.

    If the coincidence seems meaningful, beyond just a random chance occurrence, then I could see attributing providence to them. (from a spiritual perspective) Not everything in life though needs to take on a spiritual meaning, even for a spiritual person.

    I think so, but can you give me an example?
     
  14. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    ...me provide an example of what or why you "think so"? Sorry...
    I merely asked, Wegs.
    Events or happenstance are to me just events and happenstances - it seems that only subjectively are they seen as anything more than that.
     
  15. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Not exactly sure what you were/are asking Wegs...
    but...
    1.) - suppose that a person that, for whatever reason, goes about day to day existence blissfully unaware of what is transpiring around them ; this person happens to live in/on "the wrong side of town" ; consequently, this person is Held Up/Robbed/Mugged, on average, about once every 4-5 months...

    2.) - suppose that a person that, for whatever reason, goes about day to day existence acutely aware of everything that is transpiring around them ; this person happens to live in/on "the wrong side of town" ; person #2 is the next door neighbor of person #1, and although living in this neighborhood for a significantly longer span of time than person #1 - has never been Held Up/Robbed/Mugged - even once in the entire time that they have lived in/on "the wrong side of town"...

    Are there any 'coincidences' in either, or between either, of the above suppositions?
     
  16. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    ...nevermind/comment deleted
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
  17. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    I woud guess that one thankin that a coincidence in ones life was actualy providence... woud feel like God was payin particular attenton to 'em... e.g... touched by God.???
     
  18. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    "A certain man once lost a diamond cuff-link in the wide blue sea, and twenty years later, on the exact day, a Friday apparently, he was eating a large fish... But there was no diamond inside. That's what I like about coincidence."
    - Vladimir Nabokov, Laughter in the Dark


    "Coincidence is the word we use when we can't see the levers and pulleys."
    - Emma Bull


    To me, coincidence is simply the spotting of a seemingly unlikely subjectively meaningful occurrence among the noise of every day existence.
    Any deeper meaning that we give it is simply our own desires being projected, and as such can be the catalyst for increased happiness, joy, or lead to us taking poor decisions.

    Of course, it could be as Albert Einstein (I think?) once said: "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous."

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  19. geordief Registered Senior Member

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  20. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Before the age of reason, people believed that most things of nature were divinely planned or coincidence; whims of the gods. People, who are not fully rational, will see higher rates of coincidence than will rational people. They can't fully grasp cause and effect; pre-age of reason, so it all seems more random. If you knew nothing of hurricanes, if one appeared off the coast, it may seem like the whim of the gods targeting you. The more rational person knows these form in the ocean, under certain conditions, with the winds often leading these to landfall. If I knew all these reasons, and said there will be a hurricane in a few days, it may seem like a meaningful coincidence to the irrational. How could he know the whim of the gods?

    The alchemist tried to turn lead into gold. This is not rational, at the chemical level, but rather would need nuclear reactions. This seemed possible to the alchemists, since they were assuming randomness and whims of the gods, and doing their own mental version of casino math. This alchemist method is still used today, where reason is lacking. Reason does not need statistics.

    The point I am making is, coincidence is relative, to the degree of irrationality. Irrationalism creates its own random assumptions of reality. Statistics is a useful practical tool. However, many people forget this is a tool and its premises define the needs of the tool. It does not define reality. With that tool you assume everything is random, which is regressive to reason, since not everything is random. This cart-blanche assumption brings one back to before the age of reason, where lead can turn into gold, and hurricanes just appear at your village.

    The rational and perception person can often see meaningful coincidences, in the irrational world, because the meaning behind the coincidence often comes from reason. If I said to the alchemists, you will never turn lead into gold and I got this right after 50 years, it would appear like magic and synchronicity to the irrational. But all this is, was the power of reason showing there is no causal connection between atomic nuclei and their chemistry.

    Say we used the random universe assumption as a foundation premise of philosophy. We will still reason, but now anything is possible in terms of premises and data due to the random universe. Today the sun will shine, but tomorrow we don't know. Philosophy would become active imagination where anything is possible. Philosophy tries not to regress to coincidence, even if science is going that way.

    In my opinion, a random universe is needed since there are more irrational people than rational people and business need bodies. It is easier to give the masses a tool that works for them, rather than teach reasoning. If you had a team of people who all limp, it may be easier to fit them all with prosthetic shoes, than do months of physical therapy. The pitfall is without that shoe, they are vulnerable, since the shoe can build up faux confidence.
     
  21. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    There is another aspect of coincidence and meaningful coincidence that can go beyond reason. There are two centers of the human psyche. One center is conscious and the other is unconscious. The conscious mind tends to come to a focus, while the unconscious mind can focus but has more peripheral awareness and bandwidth. For example, witnesses to crime or accidents may only recall some details if they saw the act, only in passing. If we hypnotize these same people, often more details can be extracted, from their unconscious mind.

    I remember as a child, I would sometimes spend parts of summer days with friends, sitting in fields of clover, looking for four leaf clovers. I was usually able to find four leaf clovers real easy, so I was called lucky. Lucky is a term which describes meaningful coincidence; better than expected odds. The way I was able to do this was I had more access to the unconscious peripheral data. This would make my eyes see four leaf clover, often based on a hunch.

    Essentially, this aspect of meaningful coincidence is loosely analogous to card counting. Card counting is where someone keeps track of all the drawn cards and then recalculates the odds of the remaining cards in the deck. These new odds are much better, than the assumed odds of drawing all the cards from five decks. A meaningful coincidence can often be connected to changing the odds. In my clover example, the unconscious changed the odds relative to my friends.

    In my previous post about reason, the card counting analogy was connected to reasoning out the phenomena, and not assuming pure random in all steps. This eliminates a bunch of cards, so new odds appear from which my luck gets better.
     
  22. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I don't understand the need to insult people, simply because they think about a particular idea or topic a little differently than you. #humannature
     
  23. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, it very well could be.

    Because we're not all drones, we all think differently, on some subject matters.
     
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