Apophenia, Pareidolia, Synchronicity

Apophenia, Pareidolia, Synchronicity

Someone reading some of my posts suggested that I suffered from apophenia - the tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless data; In my case, a tendency to relate photographs to random observations. I'm not sure that apophenia is the right word, since I'm only having fun. A similar concept is pareidolia - seeing images of, e.g., animals or faces in clouds, landscapes etc. It is suggested that apophenia and pareidolia may have helped early societies organize chaos and make the world intelligible.

  • "Werner Heisenberg [in Physics and Beyond, 1971] recollects a friendly conversation among young participants at the 1927 Solvay Conference, about Einstein and Planck's views on religion. Wolfgang Pauli, Heisenberg and Dirac took part in it. Dirac's contribution was a poignant and clear criticism of the political manipulation of religion, that was much appreciated for its lucidity by Bohr, when Heisenberg reported it to him later. Among other things, Dirac said: "I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest - and as scientists honesty is our precise duty - we cannot help but admit that any religion is a pack of false statements, deprived of any real foundation. The very idea of God is a product of human imagination. [...] I do not recognize any religious myth, at least because they contradict one another. [...]" Heisenberg's view was tolerant. Pauli had kept silent, after some initial remarks. But when finally he was asked for his opinion, jokingly he said: "Well, I'd say that also our friend Dirac has got a religion and the first commandment of this religion is 'God does not exist and Paul Dirac is his prophet'". Everybody burst into laughter, including Dirac. *

Song of the Day: Wrapped Around Your Finger - The Police (1983)
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