Coincidence or fate?
In Aeon Magazine, Cody Delistraty writes that “just because we might ‘know’ that meaningful coincidences don’t really exist doesn’t mean that they don’t still move us.” Read “On Coincidence” in full at http://bit.ly/2m8IRWl. Here’s an excerpt.
Today, nearly all scientists say that coincidences are just that: coincidences — void of greater meaning. Yet, they’re something we all experience, and with a frequency that is uniform across age, sex, country, job, even education level. Those who believe that they’ve had a “meaningful coincidence” in their lives experience a collision of events so remarkable and unlikely that they chose to ascribe a form of grander meaning to the occurrence, via fate or divinity or existential importance. One of the most commonly experienced “meaningful coincidences” is to think of your friend for the first time in a long while only to have her telephone you that instant. Any self-respecting statistician would say that if you tracked the number of times you thought of any friend, and the number of times you had that friend immediately ring you, you’d find the link to be statistically insignificant. But it is not necessarily irrational to attribute grander significance to this occurrence. To those who believe in meaningful coincidences, statistical insignificance does not undermine an event’s causality or importance. To them, just because something could happen doesn’t mean it wasn’t also fated to happen.