I was editing a chapter of a new non-fiction book Trish and I are writing, tentatively called From the Heart: How Emotions Connect with Intuition & Synchronicity when I reached a sentence Trish had written that stopped me. It was this:
In other words, nothing is random.
That comment had followed several examples of stunning synchronicities related to our emotions. She then went on to mention that mainstream science still dismisses the concept that coincidences are meaningful. But that seems quite right. Mainstream scientists, who are skeptical of anything smelling of the paranormal, say that people see patterns and meaning where there really is none. And they have a couple of terms they use to explain their perspective. Pareidolia and apophenia.
I googled the terms to refresh my memory. Briefly, pareidolia is about seeing recognizable objects or patterns in otherwise random or unrelated objects or patterns, ie. animal images in clouds. It’s a form of apophenia, which is a more general term for the human tendency to seek patterns in random information.
Notice the emphasis on random, which is associated with things that are meaningless. The idea is that the mind interprets what is random in an attempt to give it meaning. Here’s an example of both pareidolia and apophenia that occurred to me while I was looking up the terms. When I looked up pareidolia, the site I found showed the image above, a photo of a door in which you could make out an image that looked like the head of a dog. The definition included a link to apophenia. I clicked it and what did I see besides the definition, but an ad for t-shirts featuring large dog images—the image below. That of course immediately reminded me of the dog in the door.
For me, that was a synchronicity because I was searching for the skeptics explanation of meaningful coincidences and then experienced one in the process of reading their contrary definitions. In other words, they might say that I didn’t learn anything! I was still finding meaning in what they would consider a random combination of things.
So after my bit of research, I added the following to Trish’s comment that nothing is random.
In fact, randomness is an interpretation. It’s the opposite of finding meaning or patterns. It’s part of the old scientific paradigm, which is gradually being overtaken by a new mode, which some scholars call New Thought. While mainstream scientists tell us not to trust our own emotional experiences in the realm of the intuitive, New Thought suggests that when we experience something we intuitively feel is significant, important in a profound way, it’s best to embrace it.
And PS: the proposal is now called Heart IQ.