Friday, October 07, 2005

Coincidence? I don't think so...

Achenblog had a big discussion about coincidences a while back, initiated by a Dumb Question of Tom Shroder's. Everybody weighed in on the subject. People in general really want to believe that there is a big plan, or that God is making specific things happen to them, or that there is a reason they are here, and so on. Achenbach has no qualms about debunking these notions. He was very clear about his beliefs. He is a rationalist. So that's why I say there is some divine message in the fact that the letters of his name can be rearranged to spell


Right? That couldn't be a coincidence, could it?

[I'm kidding, okay? I completely agree with Joel. I think everything could be explained by logic and reason, if (BIG IF) we were smart enough.]


Jeremy said...

I don't know, I have weird unexplained things happen to me all the time. The other day I was trying to make an online purchase of something that a little voice inside me said I didn't need and couldn't afford. First attempt, the company tries to verify my credit card information, and the phone numbers don't match up. Weird, because my phone number hasn't changed and my bank calls the number relatively frequently.

I cancel the order, get things straight with the bank, and try another company. This time, the order won't go through, because there's a problem with the expiration date entry field on their website. Get that straightened out, successfully put the order through, and get a call that they're out of stock. At that point, I realized something was trying to send a message through my thick scull that this was money best left unspent.

I did end up getting free shipping and a 10% discount on a future order for all my trouble, so I guess everything worked out.

Jeremy said...

I guess from the way I wrote that, I don't believe in coincidence either. Oh well. I don't like the idea of some higher power messing with my credit card.

Sara said...

I don't know, I really like to think that there's a reason I'm down here. Even if it isn't a grand and glorious reason, maybe just to someday save a bird (which I've done, so if that's it my time is probably almost up...we'll hope it's to save a bird when I'm 80 and all other birds along the way are bonus birds).

I don't think there's a plan for the little things that happen and I don't think there are individual heavenly road maps for us that God has personally created, though. I think we're all in charge of our own destiny and our own decisions and there's nothing such as predestination in the works here. (Though my "save a bird" reference was a predestination thing. I simply meant that I'd like to think we're here for a reason--you know, the meaning of life that no one knows about.)

Now I need to go and get a bagel. We bring in our own birthday treats here at my office, and someone brought in Panera bagels this morning. Wow. If there is predestination and I just don't know it, I hope I'm predestined to do something that involves consuming bagels.

Karen said...

It makes perfect sense to me that we can receive messages from *wherever* that don't make logical sense to us but nevertheless are worth heeding, even to the point of changing our behavior. It's kind of a Zen concept that you shouldn't struggle too hard to push forward with your own agenda, because the Universe has its own agenda and you want to be in harmony with it. We'll never be smart enough to understand the Universe completely through rational, conscious thought--we need metaphors and religion, too.

Pixel said...

A few weeks ago, I was supposed to go up to Maine for the weekend with my girlfriends. It was a complete disaster! I missed my flight (due to being immersed in FEMA/Katrina issues) and there were no other flights. Stood by for 3 flights the following day and did not get on. Got a boarding pass for the next day, but it turned out that it was really for that night. The next day, I had to pay another $100 to get on the plane. I was pretty sure that plane was going to crash, by now. I don't believe in stuff like this AT ALL, yet once everything starts to pile up, you can't help but think maybe you are doomed.

Well, obviously the plane didn't crash, but it rained in Maine all weekend (again, thanks to Katrina), and there was another snafu upon returning my rental car, which took a week to get straighted out!

On the bright side, the lobster was cheap and plentiful.

Anonymous said...

mmmm... lobster! i don't believe in the "g" word cuz too many people use it to their own advantage... as in killing in the name of g-man... i guess i kinda believe in a higher power cuz chaos just seems to random to be able to make a world and fill it w/people that can walk and talk and eat lobster. but i don't believe in organized religion... i really really hate it when ppl are like "if it's god's will" - if there is a higher power i'd like to think he's got better things to worry about then my own little petty wants - he's got universes to think about and ppl are like, well, if it's god's will my team will win the game... PSCHA!! get off your butts and do it yourself! *simmer* religious zealots really burn my buttons!

oh, but jw - i totally believe in that little man in the back of your head! you should always listen to him!