Coincidence? Synchronicity? Mapped path?

I’ve just seen Amy Tan’s talk about creativity on Ted today. She spoke about many aspects of creativity including the many coincidental events she has while she gets on a thread for a book. She also looked at what we would call superstition from the perspective of the people who hold the superstition. It’s an interesting talk and worth watching.

I began to think about events that I could consider to be these types of coincidence or path markers. From the times when a film I haven’t seen for a very long time comes into my thoughts and then appears on TV a day or so later to the times when I have thought about a business idea and then several companies launch with a similar theme.

Earlier today I read an article about magical thinking in Psychology today (linked via 43 folders). The article looks at how we attach meaning to objects and events, such as John Lennon’s piano or the lucky ritual some people have and how that may affect our outlook on life. Was this coincidental or is it one of those path markers?

For a while I have been thinking about a form of community writing. A collaborative site that would allow people to create elements of stories or build full stories. Others could also write elements and take the story in another direction. Readers could assemble favourite chapters into a path and share this with others. Yet another social medium, but one that I hoped would allow creation and participation from a broader section. If you don’t feel you want to write a whole book, then put down an idea and let someone else turn it into something. I had played around with writing a bit of code to do this, but it ended up as another background task. In the last few weeks I have found a few sites via Emily Chang’s Ehub such as Paragraphr and Storymash.

So what goes on with these types of events? Is it that there are some queues around that lots of people pick up on at the same time? Is there some kind of hive mind process going on? As the Psychology Today paper describes, there are many possibilities and beliefs, and it’s not easy to prove or completely disprove any one of them. Even a cargo cult science may be based on a reality that just can’t be explained with current terms (see also Richard Feynmans original speech).

From my point of view, I get the message that I should either do something about any new ideas I get or publish them so that other may take them forward.


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