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  1. #21
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Thinking further, as a thought experiment, consider a ball on a diagram:



    Now without really saying much, you have probably already considered the red ball is sitting on a platform or "ramp" of some sort represented by the black line, and you have probably guessed what happens. It moves down and somewhat to the right, rolling along the contour of the black line until it hits the 'V' shaped section at the bottom, at which it stops (maybe there's a bounce involved, but it's not important for this thought experiment). It probably didn't take much thought to get there.

    But how/why do you know this will happen? What if the ball actually rolls "uphill"?

    To be sure, the latter could happen if our assumptions about this drawing's unspecified surrounding environment are wrong, but the point is you are employing some very simple intuitions about surfaces, creases, gravity, etc. in your thought process. None of this is remarkable.

    I would say that the world of "meaning" has its own idiomatic system of classification, and Jung attempted to capture that basic concept with the idea of the "archetype." Stories and books and, well, basically every form of humanistic art out there is awash in them. The very concept that there could be a meta-concept about idiomatic concepts is in itself an "archetype." None of this should be particularly remarkable.

    What is important to note is that such systems of "meaning" have basis in Reality, and as such, it is possible for us humans to judge and observe them accurately, or inaccurately. And it is the latter I believe that frightens so many of us and drives us to distill and clarify it with whatever means necessary--the contemporary tool being Logic, Statistics or whatever else may have you (or whatever aliases such as "scientific" or "rational" thought may stand in for these mechanistic-cause-oriented methods of judgment).

    The fact is, I don't think we have explored this sufficiently to consider our intuitions about it as advanced as we have with typical Newtonian physics, for example. Consider that someone with a faulty understanding of physics may have looked at the above drawing and thought the ball was just following the line, going down and then up the right-hand spar. Then again, the simplicity of this drawing lends itself to enough ambiguity that such an interpretation could be accurate. But generally speaking I think that interpretation would be false, since that drawing looks like a ball on a ramp to me with the drawing being oriented in vertical space. When the information presented is so ambiguous, who's to say either interpretation is wrong? Such a dilemma happens in the world of "meaning" all the time, I would say.

    Likewise, to extend a hint of my own atheistic alignment to religion, I feel there is no point in trusting any of the past systems of meaningful, spiritual or religious pedagogy in earnest because I can't help but imagine how unimaginably inaccurate some of it is. That's not to say all of it is wrong, it's just that one has a LOT of work to do in filtering what's Reality from naive BS from it all.

    We humans have proved with science that we have a potential to understand the world better, and expand the horizons of our understanding and thought. This world of "meaning" is another frontier that we need to confront with excellence and prove that we can know it better than our ancestors ever hoped to.
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  2. #22
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Oh, I don't think it's fair to equate synchronicity to confirmation bias. The phenomena of Synchronicity doesn't denote a judgemental bias at all, it's just a notice of pattern or correlation that comes to attention for any number of reasons. Only sometimes because you're looking for it, sometimes because of just a very strong correlation with your internal state. They can be related, but they aren't the same. The conscious interpretation of the meaning of it comes after the phenomena.

    And, I find it short sighted to ignore the value of synchronicity, just because people associate it with superstition. It's throwing the baby out with the bath water. The experience of synchronicity is a phenomena that can say very much about your sub-conscious state. I suppose hyper-rationals aren't usually fans of the things that they can't overtly think.
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  3. #23
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    Oh, I don't think it's fair to equate synchronicity to confirmation bias. The phenomena of Synchronicity doesn't denote a judgemental bias at all, it's just a notice of pattern or correlation that comes to attention for any number of reasons. Only sometimes because you're looking for it, sometimes because of just a very strong correlation with your internal state. They can be related, but they aren't the same. The conscious interpretation of the meaning of it comes after the phenomena.

    And, I find it short sighted to ignore the value of synchronicity, just because people associate it with superstition. It's throwing the baby out with the bath water. The experience of synchronicity is a phenomena that can say very much about your sub-conscious state. I suppose hyper-rationals aren't usually fans of the things that they can't overtly think.
    I'm in agreement. The way I see it, if you've employed confirmation bias in the judgment of a synchronistic event, there are 2 possibilities:
    1. You've judged it correctly because your confirmation bias is actually in alignment with the true thread of meaning behind the event
    2. You've judged it incorrectly, because your confirmation bias is not in alignment with the true thread of meaning behind the event.

    Confirmation bias is being unconscious or unaware of fixed assumptions in your thought process. It's an error unless it just happens to not be (like the stopped clock that is right 2 times a day).
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  4. #24
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    In reading a book "Synchronicity: Multiple Perspectives on Meaningful Coincidence", I found a ... MOST ... interesting way to frame the concept of what Synchronicity actually *is*.

    I blogged about it here- Twice as random as /dev/urandom, less random than /dev/random (private blog and I acknowledge not all members can see it)

    Chapter 13 in the aforementioned book is where I found this. The 5 minute version is that Synchronicity may be better framed in terms of Information Theory by stating that Coincidence, that is an expression of randomness in reality, has the potential to act as an "Information Creator". Entropy inherently destroys information, but in the sense that Entropy is a force that may be created but not destroyed, Information of a very fundamental and metaphysical sense is an element that can be both created and destroyed (as opposed to Energy, which the 1st law of thermodynamics states can never be created nor destroyed).

    So if Entropy destroys Information, in a sense, it also creates it through random coincidence. Darwin's theory of natural selection is fundamentally founded on this principle--the idea of "lucky accidents" (mutations) conferring to convey a form of information -- that information being the very subtle and basic fact of SURVIVAL. Random mutation conferring natural selection could be considered a physical manifestation of Synchronicity in chemistry and thus in living, complex beings. To the extent that Archetypes and archetypal matters could be considered their own form of "information", it would make sense to think that random coincidences could "constellate" such things as a form of novel Information Creation.

    What synchronicity literally represents, though, in Jungian terms, is an external event that appears to match an archetype constellated inside the unconscious mind, which ultimately gives it a "numinous charge" (emotional importance) to us. I would argue in the realm of Information Theory that this is an example of "information redundancy" - while the archetype may have always been there in our heads, we might not have been consciously aware of it in earnest, in part due to all the "noise" of everything else going through our heads, but when this piece of information is demonstrated redundantly by the outside world, we must acknowledge its importance - it is a sort of "data redundancy" that allows the message of the archetype to "rise above the noise", similar to how data communications systems implement redundancy in various forms in order to faithfully and "losslessly" transmit digital information.

    The point here is that Coincidence is not always meaningless, and it would be incredibly naive to assume it so. But it would be equally naive to assume all coincidence has meaning as a hard and fast rule. The novelty here is the former, which I would say much conventional thought has committed to - the idea that coincidence and randomness "cannot" inherently bear meaning.
    intp | type 9w1 sp/sx/so

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