Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Coincidences & Synchronicity

Have any of you noticed that since media was largely socialised, and that as data streams are curated and pumped out through real simple syndication, that the number of coincidences and synchronicities have increased? Non bloggers might find this more in their Facebook updates that 'coincidental stuff' is occurring more frequently.

Perhaps it's just me then, but I was thinking about this a few years ago, when as a card carrying data junkie, I noticed that biurnal activity was shooting through the roof. At first I thought 'what does this mean?' but then that was overtaken with a more useful 'why is this happening?'.

I think the conclusion is simple, as it points towards a concrescence of activity across all my media apertures. And lets face it, even freeways/autobahns/motorways are media, as is cash or clothing. So it became my hypothesis that as my data consumption skyrocketed, I was statistically consuming a greater percentage of information proportionately, from a relatively static existing idea/subject pool - furthermore the enlargening idea/subject pool was one where I pay more interest anyway. A bit like noticing something gets mentioned a lot more the first time we pick up on it.

Put another way, biting into more apples would increase the likelihood of regularly eating a couple of pips. That's probably a bad analogy but it's will do for the time being because there is a certain amount of auto curation to how I consume data, like Google Reader's suggestions, based on algorithmic pattern profiling of what I'm interested in. I could talk a little bit about how the topics of emergence, complexity, chaos and fractals are themes I'm keeping an eye open for and which are popping up with surprising regularity, but actually the most curious one occured in Taryn Simon's TED talk about secret photography which chimed amazingly with a video I watched yesterday on Vatican symbology. 

I've been to the Vatican twice and it's kind of strange because on the second trip (which was probably an homage to my first childhood trip) I drove from Frankfurt to Rome and enjoyed absorbing the history and paying much more attention than the first time as a  7 year old. The one symbol that stood out for me on that second trip, was the Golden Globe pictured below. It jarred at the time when I saw it in real life, and jarred again when it was then mentioned in yesterday's video along with a lot of pineal glands (comes from its pine cone shape) as well as the use of pine cones in Vatican symbology and many other cultures from the Egyptians to the Mayans. You can see a pine cone statue, in the background of the Vatican shot.

Then I noticed it has a strong resemblance to the Death Star from Star Wars which sort of inexplicably cheered me up. I feel like I've wandered from data synchronicity theory to something a bit trivial but I'm hoping you get the drift. If not the sound bite is consume more information and coincidences increase exponentially. Coincidentally this quote has been floating around my data stream a lot recently. I like it a lot.

PW Bridgman defined a coincidence as "What you have left over when you have a bad theory"