Thursday, July 05, 2012

Coincidences and Rhymes


Richard Feynamn famously said, we need to tell more stories like... "I was sitting by the phone last night, thinking about my sister, when suddenly the phone rang, and it was... a telemarketer." The point being that in stories, you expect the phone call would be from her sister, because that's how stories work, stories revel in coincidence (paul auster called them rhymes on radio lab), and thus they make the world feel a little magical. And while rationalists love ranting against reading too much into coincidence, so much of fiction depends on them. And while rationalists scream that these events are just random chance, the random rhymes illuminate something fundamental about people we work, and the underlying patterns that humans are programmed to see, even if those patterns sometimes are just pure coincidence.
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