coincidentalism from a hobbyist




Greetings my name is Sigmund, I am from Los Angeles and I am a coincidentalist, (it has nothing to do with dentistry though). I study coincidence and consider it as my hobby. It started when I was 17 years old, (1972). I am a self proclaimed (and no doubt humble) expert. Below is what happened that put me into a lifelong inquiry into a phenomenon that all of have experienced.

I was driving home from school and noticed a sign for a real estate agency called Red Carpet Realtors. I decided that the metaphor was not very imaginative and wondered about what might go well with the idea of a red carpet. A few minutes later, I was stopped at a signal waiting to turn left. I noticed a little piece of paper fluttering in the wind. It seemed like it was begging to come in through my window. A moment later, a car drove by, and the paper was swept upwards. It floated down and again tried to enter my open window. At one point I actually wondered, what could be so important? Now I was transfixed on it. Another car drove by, and the little piece of paper was once more swept away. This time, though, it fluttered like a whirling dervish, came through my window, and settled on my lap. I turned the paper over, and to my amazement, it said, “Red Carpet Auto Parks”. My first thought was that it was a perfect use of the idea of a red carpet. Then I got goose bumps, and I looked up in the sky and wondered if there was some greater meaning in the event. However, we all know that there are few things more subjective than the “meaning of things”. 

The event in itself was significant but not transforming. However, unusual things continued to happen and over time I realized I was either living in grace or was being led somewhere by a force I denied the existence of; talk about living ironically (frankly I consider myself an anti-spiritualist in addition to other conflicts). As a group my coincidences are hard to actually believe unless you are living them in real time. 

Another one below, continued to "drive my interest".

In the late 1970s I was heading to an auction taking place in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. I was late and raced out, running down the stairs, I quickly glanced at the headlines on the front page of of the Los Angeles Times, the Dalai Lama was visiting Los Angeles it said. I wondered what it would be like to meet him.  

I arrived late for the auction and ran up the stairs four steps at a time. When I reached the top, I was nearly airborne and realized that there were three imposing-looking men in my way, all wearing robes. They were bowling pins, and I was about to knock them down. I thought, what is going on? Why are they wearing white gowns? Oh, it's the Dalai Lama, I realized, and those are his bodyguards. The Dalai Lama has a very concerned look on his face. I thought, he must think I am an assassin sent by the Chinese to do him in. The two bodyguards had their hands on their swords and were just about to pull them out of their sheaths. (It is amazing what we can process in an instant!) I realized that I was about to be beheaded by the Dalia Lama’s guards. I grabbed the railing as hard as I could and went tumbling down to an abrupt stop at the midway landing. The two guards and the Dalai Lama ran down to see if I was OK! They picked me up and straightened me out. The Dalai Lama actually had me in an embrace! I mumbled, “Sorry, Mr. Lama, I am late for an auction.” Then we all broke out into laughter. It took a moment for me to process that I had just met the Dalai Lama, 30 minutes after I’d asked the question, "what would it be like to meet the Dalai Lama?"

I quietly walked into the auction room, only to discover that the auction had taken place the previous day.

Coincidences (as you probably already understand) figure so prominently in our world that most fiction books and movies feature a coincidence (or more) in them to help develop the story.  In fact, one of the most successful shows ever on television, Seinfeld, is all about coincidence, the lead writer on the show is Larry David. One day, I was watching Seinfeld and remarked to my girlfriend that the entire theme of the show was about coincidence. I joked with her that if I ever met Larry David, I would share my “hobby” with him.  We laughed, and she said, “When do you think it will happen?”  I half joked and suggested that it would be within one week.  About three days later, I was sitting in my orthodontist’s chair and saw that Larry David was standing behind me in the mirror; I just smiled to myself. I asked Alan, the dentist, if he would introduce me to Larry, "because I studied coincidence and wanted to talk to him".  When I got up to leave, Alan asked me over and introduced us.  “Nice to meet you,” we both said.  Then I told Larry about my hobby.  He said, “I have never heard about anyone having a hobby of coincidence!" He enthusiastically said, “I could not do my show without coincidence!” Larry clearly understood the significance of the topic in people's lives and exploited it thoroughly. 

If you have studied the subject you may know about Jung's fascination with coincidence and his extraordinary event with a flying Scarab Beetle. Before I learned of his experience with a Scarab I had one also.

My Scarab story happened one day in Venice Beach, California, I was sitting outside my neighborhood coffee house. Along came a large, aggressive, flying scarab beetle. It was beautiful, iridescent green and about a half-inch long. It was so aggressive that people were diving underneath their tables; it actually hit me. It finally landed on my table, and I put a glass over it, slid a piece of paper underneath, and captured it. It was ferocious. It looked at me through the glass and buzzed its head off. The glass was pulsating. I could almost feel its anger at being caught. Everybody on the patio came over to look at it. Now, you do not know this, but I like to collect bugs. However, I will only collect them after they have died. This beautiful scarab beetle was so exquisite that I wanted it anyway. In the end, though, I decided to release it. It flew out of the glass, looked me straight in the eye with a glare, and flew off. I was startled by its behavior.

At the time, I lived across the street in a condo complex on the second floor, down an outside hall and an outside “interior” walkway. When I got home that evening, I saw something shimmering on my doormat I looked down and was stunned to see a beautiful, iridescent blue and green form radiating from my doormat. I realized that exactly in the middle of my doormat was a dead scarab beetle. It was glowing in the evening light. Was it the same scarab beetle? I do not know. They are very rare in Venice Beach. But it did not really matter to me. I experienced it as a gift, and I still have it. It is the centerpiece of my small, dead-bugs-only insect collection. 

Over time I started to deconstruct the events and began to realize that there are many different types of coincidences. Eventually I distilled it down to two, main branches off the trunk of the coincidental tree and 15 sub categories (I know, it seems hard to actually believe). The two main types of coincidences are MANIFESTED COINCIDENCES and COINCIDENTAL OCCURANCES. The manifested ones are the most significant because they start with an inquiry which gets answered in an extraordinary way. Coincidental occurrences may be impressive but that is only because we noticed them and most coincidences go unnoticed. Jung is famous for coining the word synchronicity and indeed that is one of the 15 sub-categories. Some of the other sub-categories are, Luck, and Dumb Luck, Complex, Compound, Serendipity, Deja Vu, Epiphanies, Miracles and Irony.

On September 11, 2001, the world shared a collective complex coincidental occurrence. Nineteen men hijacked four jetliners and blew up several buildings. It was numerically astronomical that they would be able to succeed. However, because hundreds of people ignored details, discounted subordinates’ pleas, and/or failed to notice odd behavior, an impossible goal became a reality. Honestly and quietly, it makes me wonder......how powerful is Allah?

There are billions of people, animals, and things on this planet, and between them, there are trillions of possible intersections. Combine them with trillions of moments each day, and you have a sauce that will result in thousands of unusual events daily. Inevitably, some of these intersections will be extraordinary and beyond our comprehension. We call these events “coincidences”

A coincidence happens when an event and a moment collide in an unusual manner or order. The coincidence is made up of three parts: the moment (time) it happens, the space (place) it happens in, and the event (action) itself. If any of the three parts is changed by even seconds, the coincidence may never take place and if it does, we may not notice it.

I have shared just a few examples but have left some of the most extraordinary ones out. Like Scheherazade, I do not want to reveal too much to soon. However, I will say this, there is a secret to manifesting extraordinary coincidences, and it is very simple... like most magic.

The longest coincidence I ever had took 16 years to manifest itself and it was the most important coincidence I ever had; it changed my life. The quickest one happened within moments of my inquiry and it holds the record for the being part of the funniest thing I ever saw in a candid moment. The most interconnected one has 7 links to it... so far. Most coincidences have one or two, three is a lot.  I even have an X rated coincidence which is certainly one of my most memorable ones.

Recently after visiting friends at a sports bar, I wondered about Freud and Einstein in a sports bar. I imagined them sharing their ideas and finding nobody interested in them. They would fall flat on their faces and would decide not to pursue their theories. Just at that moment, when I came to a stop, I looked up and noticed that the car in front of me had a license plate that read, “E=MCSQ”. The driver had actually taken two pieces of tape to make the equal sign.

What is the meaning of a coincidence? Regarding the meaning of any coincidence, it is the meaning we give it. For me, the meaning is that it has become part of life. I call it my hobby. We are all “S.E.E.s,” which means Self-Entertaining Entities. So let’s indulge ourselves in thoughts and ideas and sometimes even silliness. The nice thing about having a hobby like this is that you never know when something extraordinary will happen.