SERENDIPITY AND SYNCHRONICITY

I have to turn to Wikipedia for a definition of this page title, because my own dictionary and the book itself are up on an unreachable shelf in anticipation of the carpet man, who is going to put new carpet down following the passing of my dear cat “Lucky,” whose name was not a serendipity but maybe a curse, because after several years he became blind and deaf, and had trouble finding his pee pad.  He was happy, though, being able to find his way up on our bed and to his food.  But then he began obviously failing (after a happy two years) and thus the new carpet.

http://www.dreamstime.com/
surrealstairs

 Wikipedia tells us: Serendipity is an accidental lucky discovery. Also, in case you’re curious, there’s  Serendipity (film), 2001 film starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack;Serendipity (book series), written by Stephen Cosgrove; Serendipity the Pink Dragon, an anime TV series based on the book series; Serendipity (TV series), British arts and crafts television series in 1973; “Serendipity”, an episode of the TV series Law & Order: Special Victims UnitSerendipity, a character played by Salma Hayek in the film DogmaSerendipity singers, a 1960s American folk group; Serendipity (album), 1986 album by Mike Garson;  Serendipity (Walt Dickerson album), 1977; Serendipity, an album by Premiata Forneria Marconi; “Serendipity”, a song on the album Barenaked Ladies Are Men by Barenaked Ladies; “Serendipity”, a song on the album Amaranthe by Amaranthe; “Serendipity”, a song by Angelina Pivarnick featuring Adam Barta; “Serendipity”, a song on the album Once Only Imagined by The Agonist; Serendipity 3, a restaurant in New York City,  and Serendipity Beach, a famous beach in Sihanoukville, South Cambodia,  (Just thought you’d like to know–oops! Another mis-judgment!)  Seriously, Serendipity means a “fortunate happenstance” or “pleasant surprise”.  The first noted use of “serendipity” (meaning pleasant surprise) in the English language was by Horace Walpole (1717–1797). In a letter to Horace Mann (dated 28 January 1754) he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, whose heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of”. The name comes from Serendip, an old name for Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon), from Tamil Ceralamdivu, Sanskrit Simhaladvipa and Persian Sarandīp (سرندیپ). Parts of Sri Lanka were under the rule of Tamil kings for extended periods of time in history. Kings of Kerala, India (Cheranadu), were called Ceran Kings and divu, tivu or dheep, which means island. The island belonging to the Chera King was called Cherandeep, hence Sarandib by Arab traders.

The notion of serendipity is a common occurrence throughout the history of scientific innovation such as Alexander Fleming‘s accidental discovery of penicillin in 1928, the invention of the microwave oven by Percy Spencer in 1945, and the invention of the Post-it note by Spencer Silver in 1968.  Serendipity is not just a matter of a random event, nor can it be taken simply as a synonym for “a happy accident” (Ferguson, 1999; Khan, 1999), “finding out things without being searching for them” (Austin, 2003), or “a pleasant surprise” (Tolson, 2004). The New Oxford Dictionary of English defines serendipity as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a satisfactory or beneficial way, understanding the chance as any event that takes place in the absence of any obvious project (randomly or accidentally), which is not relevant to any present need, or in which the cause is unknown.  Innovations presented as examples of serendipity have an important characteristic: they were made by individuals able to “see bridges where others saw holes” and connect events creatively, based on the perception of a significant link. The chance is an event, serendipity a capacity. The Nobel Prize laureate Paul Flory suggests that significant inventions are not mere accidents.  Serendipity and scientific discoveries —role of chance in scientific discoveries.  The serendipitous can play an important role in the search for truth, but is often ignored in the scientific literature because of traditional scientific behavior and scientific thinking based on logic and predictability.  Successful researchers can observe scientific results with careful attention to analyzing a phenomenon under the most diverse and different perspectives. They can question themselves on assumptions that do not fit with empirical observations. Realizing that serendipitous events can generate important research ideas, these researchers recognize and appreciate the unexpected, encouraging their assistants to observe and discuss unexpected events.  Serendipity can be achieved in groups where a ‘critical mass’ of multidisciplinary scientists work together in an environment that fosters communication, establishing the idea that the work and the interest of a researcher can be shared with others who may find a new application for new knowledge. Various thinkers discuss the role that luck can play in science. One aspect of Walpole’s original definition of serendipity, often missed in modern discussions of the word, is the need for an individual to be “sagacious” enough to link together apparently innocuous facts in order to come to a valuable conclusion. Indeed, the scientific method, and the scientists themselves, can be prepared in many other ways to harness luck and make discoveries.

SYNCHRONICITY  – From Psychology Today  Aug 12, 2015 – Jung’s Scarab  Psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung brought us the term “synchronicity,” which literally means “falling together in time.” Synchronicity describes the surprise that occurs when a thought in the mind is mirrored by an external event to which it has no apparent causal connection.  From Wikipedia: Synchronicity is a concept, first explained by psychiatrist Carl Jung, which holds that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related. During his career, Jung furnished several slightly different definitions of it.  Jung variously defined synchronicity as an “acausal connecting (togetherness) principle,” “meaningful coincidence”, and “acausal parallelism.” He introduced the concept as early as the 1920s but gave a full statement of it only in 1951 in an Eranos lecture.  In 1952, he published a paper Synchronizität als ein Prinzip akausaler Zusammenhänge (Synchronicity – An Acausal Connecting Principle) in a volume which also contained a related study by the physicist and Nobel laureate Wolfgang Pauli.

Jung’s belief was that, just as events may be connected by causality, they may also be connected by meaning. Events connected by meaning need not have an explanation in terms of causality. This contradicts the Axiom of Causality in specific cases but not generally.  Jung used the concept to try to justify the paranormal.  Synchronicity (book) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  1973 Bollingen paperback edition.  Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, by C.G. Jung, is a book published by Princeton University Press in 1960. It was extracted from Structure & Dynamics of the Psyche, which is Volume 8 in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung. The book was also published in 1985 by Routledge. To Jung, synchronicity is a meaningful coincidence in time, a psychic factor which is independent of space and time. This revolutionary concept of synchronicity both challenges and complements the physicist’s classical view of causality. It also forces a basic reconsideration of the meaning of chance, probability, coincidence and the singular events in our lives.  Jung was intrigued from early in his career with coincidences, especially those surprising juxtapositions that scientific rationality could not adequately explain. He discussed these ideas with Albert Einstein before World War I, but first used the term “synchronicity” in a 1930 lecture, in reference to the unusual psychological insights generated from consulting the I Ching. A long correspondence and friendship with the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli inspired a final, mature statement of Jung’s thinking on synchronicity, originally published in 1952 and reproduced in this book. Together with a wealth of historical and contemporary material, this essay describes an astrological experiment Jung conducted to test his theory.Synchronicity reveals the full extent of Jung’s research into a wide range of psychic phenomena.    A believer in the paranormal, Arthur Koestler wrote extensively on synchronicity in his 1972 book The Roots of Coincidence.

My  examples of serendipity and/or synchronicity will be issued in Posts. (And maybe yours too, if you like).

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I just found another blog on the topic, which looks interesting. I’m  going to follow him (https://plus.google.com/+MikePerry-UK/posts/cxeBsGR5J2m)