Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Odd sympathies and cosmic convergences...

"Synchronization is one of the most pervasive drives in the universe," states Cornell mathematician Steven Strogatz in the latest issue of the great Cabinet Magazine. The article describes a number of fascinating instances of natural synchronization including the pendulums of clocks, the blinking of fireflies, the chirping of crickets (which can be used to tell the temperature), the "menstrual drift" of women living together, and the "fall-in" patterns of human applause. Great stuff!

Another example of synchronistic "wow" in Joshua Foer's piece recounts a 1997 incident in which 700+ Japanese schoolchildren suffered violent epileptic seizures after viewing a particular episode of the TV cartoon Pokimon, featuring a five second sequence of intense rhythmic flashing. (If Pokiman can do that, beware Christopher Walken!)

We've all passed through periods of life characterized by a great number of coincidences and unlikely connections that sink deep into our core. Typically, I find it difficult to call attention to these times, almost for fear of interrupting the flow of cosmic juju. These periods come and go unpredictably like Spring showers and I relish their strangeness. So, for example, when I pick up this issue of Cabinet (#28 "Bones") and I am hit over the head by a succession of articles that speak directly to a collection of my most obscure and specific interests, to a submerged network of neural nodules on which I hang my hat, I merely accept and enjoy the passing "weather system" of psychic convergences.

But now that I've gone and broadcast it to you lot, I fully expect this rare bubble of meaningful coincidence and connection to burst. I expect to return to the land of non-coincidence within minutes of posting this. All in the name of science my dears. There will be others as various phases fall in sync.


Post a Comment

<< Home