Saturday, December 22, 2012

Apophenia: I KNEW I wasn't crazy (entirely, anyway)!

This is so me!  No wonder so many artists/writers have been mislabeled in their lifetimes.  What I do is connect images and ideas that appear to have no relationship.  It's a textbook approach to creative writing. 


Apophenia  is the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. The term was coined in 1958 by Klaus Conrad, who defined it as the "unmotivated seeing of connections" accompanied by a "specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness". In statistics, apophenia would be classed as a Type I error (false positive, false alarm, caused by an excess in sensitivity). Apophenia is often used as an explanation of some paranormal and religious claims, and can also be used to explain the tendency of humans to believe pseudoscience. Apophenia may be linked to psychosis and creativity.
Conrad originally described this phenomenon in relation to the distortion of reality present in psychosis, but it has become more widely used to describe this tendency in healthy individuals without necessarily implying the presence of neurological or mental illness.


Here, I want you to focus on larger social systems.  What do they have in common?  What is it about these systems that feels "the same"?  Think bureaucracy, white collar crime, violent crime, etc.  What happens, when and why?  There's a pattern and something larger than the events themselves that bring about a certain, similar outcome, but in different environments.  For example, extremism in religion can bring about violence.  Think terrorism in the name of Islam.  But extremism in politics can do the same thing.  Think absolute gun control vs. "Everyone should own a gun."  What is the underlying cause of extremism?  I would say fear, demonstrated by a need to control.  You can figure this out creatively, or you can use various types of reasoning BUT you have to work it's way down to the very source.


Synchronicity  is the experience of two or more events which are causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner. The concept does not question, or compete with, the notion of causality. Instead, it maintains that just as events may be grouped by cause, they may also be grouped by their meaning.
In order to be synchronistic, the events must be related to one another temporally so as to rule out direct causation.

The idea of synchronicity is that the conceptual relationship of minds, defined as the relationship between ideas, is intricately structured in its own logical way and gives rise to relationships which are not causal in nature. Instead, causal relationships are understood as simultaneous—that is, the cause and effect occur at the same time.
Synchronous events reveal an underlying pattern, a conceptual framework which encompasses, but is larger than, any of the systems which display the synchronicity. The suggestion of a larger framework is essential in order to satisfy the definition of synchronicity as originally developed by Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung.
Jung coined the word to describe what he called "temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events." Jung variously described synchronicity as an "acausal connecting principle", "meaningful coincidence" and "acausal parallelism". Jung introduced the concept as early as the 1920s but only gave a full statement of it in 1951 in an Eranos lecture and in 1952, published a paper, SynchronicityAn Acausal Connecting Principle , in a volume with a related study by the physicist (and Nobel laureate) Wolfgang Pauli.
It was a principle that Jung felt gave conclusive evidence for his concepts of archetypes and the collective unconscious, in that it was descriptive of a governing dynamic that underlies the whole of human experience and history—social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Events that happen which appear at first to be coincidence but are later found to be causally related are termed as "incoincident".
Jung believed that many experiences that are coincidences due to chance in terms of causality suggested the manifestation of parallel events or circumstances in terms of meaning, reflecting this governing dynamic.
One of Jung's favourite quotes on synchronicity was from Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, in which the White Queen says to Alice: "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards".


 I want to thank Andrew Slater and "The Literary Man" for the interview that prompted this bit of formal, self-realization and for the mighty punch the information gives to the assumptions made by psychology.

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