Thursday, 13 August 2015

What a coincidence

Last weekend saw me and my better half travelling north to Kuala Lumpur to visit relatives and friends. On such long drives, I would usually have the walkman of my mobile phone playing a selection of mp3 songs piped through headphones. Radio reception via the car's stereo is inconsistent because the station frequencies change as we travel.

One of the songs in my playlist is Purple Rain by Prince. I was listening to this particular song when I drove past a large advertising billboard at the side of the highway. The image that caught my eye was this pretty young lady dressed in racing-driver garb standing next to a sports car. It was an advertisement for Prince Lubricants. Well, not quite Prince the music performer but it was an interesting coincidence nonetheless. (By the way, I googled the product and the hottie race driver is called Leona Chin).

Such coincidences have occurred quite frequently to the extent of making me wonder if they have any meaning at all. The phenomenon has a specific name - synchronicity. It is a concept first proposed by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. One definition of this concept, as given by Google, is as follows :

synchronicity (n) ~ the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.

So what has prompted me to be writing a blog post on this subject? Of course it has to be that another synchronistic event happened again, right? Well, not one... but two. Last night.

1. Mellifluous

I was watching this new TV series on National Geographic called Innovation Nation. In one segment of the show, the host Mo Rocca, was explaining that the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan, USA has a very large collection of items. So large that many are not displayed but kept in their extensive archive. Among these are a few precious Stradivarius violins. One of the adjectives Rocca used to describe the Stradivarius was its mellifluous quality. Rocca mentioned that he would explain the term later towards the end of the show.

Not wanting to wait that long, I opened the app on my tablet. Lo and behold, without even the need for me to type in the word to search its meaning, the app opened with its customary 'Word Of The Day' page and there in bold is displayed the chosen word... mellifluous. How's that for a coincidence. Mellifluous, by the way, means sweet-sounding.

2. The Tower of Babel

After watching Innovation Nation, I was still not sleepy and so switched to the History Channel. It was showing an episode of Ancient Aliens. Not one of my favourite shows actually (too much conjecture and too little proof). This particular episode touched on the story of the Tower of Babel, as mentioned in the Book of Genesis. The tower, which  reached a height of 300ft, was supposedly built by the people who survived the Great Flood. To have the skill and technology to be building a structure of that height at that time, the programme suggests the possibility that aliens may have provided assistance of some sort. Seriously?

I couldn't hold my interest much longer so I switched off the TV and thought that it was time to doze off. I still could not sleep so I picked up the book I was currently reading. I was halfway through reading The Story of English (authors Rob McCrum, Robert MacNeil and William Cran). It is the story of the history and development of the English language and its spread to become the global choice of written and spoken communication. I had paused my reading at the part where the authors were telling of the Scouse accent unique to the region of Liverpool in north England. Resuming my reading, the book then went on to the chapter called 'Black on White', where it describes the effect of the black African slave trade had on the spread, variation and usage of English.

A sub-chapter of this section is called `The Tower Of Babel'. It caused me to pause in surprise. The authors chose to use this phrase as a sub-heading because they quoted a line from a 1744 writing by Captain William Smith named A New Voyage to Guinea. Needless to say, this coincidence caused me further difficulty in falling asleep.

(Note : My further reading about the ancient Tower of Babel, indeed is related to the story of languages. But let's leave that for another day.)


In my haul of inexpensive books from the Big Bad Wolf sale in JB earlier this year, I picked up a book called The 7 Secrets Of Synchronicity written by the husband and wife team of Trish and Rob MacGregor. I have not read it yet. But with these recent occurrences, I guess I'll start reading it today.

So, does all these coincidences have meaning? Let's find out, shall we...

Meaningful coincidences...

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