Re: Debunk All Religiosity Equally (D.A.R.E.) ---> inloading

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Tue Jul 10 2001 - 07:46:00 MDT

Amara Graps wrote:
>[My definition of synchronicity: Consciously or unconsciously you
>*know* the things that you like/want/need/good-for-you, therefore your
>senses are highly tuned and sensitive to that item in your
>environment. So then, some event that might be considered a
>coincidence to someone else, takes on a special meaning to you: a
>"meaningful coincidence", i.e. synchronicity. Often it turns out
>that that particular occurrence was exacly what you needed, whether
>or not you were aware of its importance at the time. ...

A thoughtful and unusually clear explanation. But to me the key
question is: is it *true*? People have such a strong need to belief
such things that one must worry that they see it even when it is
not there. Is Amara's strong acceptance of the events around her
best explained by her unconsciously arranging those events to give
her what she needs, or by her unconsciously deciding after the fact
that whatever happened must have been what she needed?

>I believe that there is a deep wisdom in my environment, it only
>requires me to be aware of it, to look, to probe, to see, to
>understand. ... the environment present around me is also a
>result of processes in the past, and there is a deep wisdom there,
>as well. ... being in awe of all things *living*; ... often the
>smallest, most inconsequential things in my environment seem to
>me to be the most profound: footsteps in sand, the smell of garlic
>and onion, hearing children laughing (or crying), and so on.
>I believe that the answers (to any questions
>that we have) are *in us* and *around us*. This is one place where
>cultural history and mythology can play an important role. Humans
>have experienced and worked out amazing things, and their intellectual
>and emotional paths are in front of us, if we *only pay attention*.

Although there is a purely emotive element here, there also seems to
be a factual claim here as well. So again for me the key question
is: how *true* is it?

To me one of the great tragedies of the human condition is that the
young largely ignore advice from the old. Another tragedy is that
people are overconfident in their own wisdom relative to that of
other people. So I can share some of Amara's awe in the wisdom
of people around us. But the smell of garlic? I fear that
seeing great wisdom in that is most likely wishful thinking.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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