Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Etymology of the word "coincidence"

 Coincidences are quite common, to the point where they have become mundane. Yet they are still noteworthy events in that they disrupt our daily routine and make us think about what just happened.

You can think of coincidences as a form of information. In fact, they are in many ways easier to process than other sources of information because they aren't presented with any context.

Imagine that you turned on the TV and saw a man, who was sitting in front of an unusual backdrop. You may be intrigued at first but then quickly become bored as it becomes obvious what is going on.

Yet if you saw that same man standing on a street corner, in front of an unusual backdrop, you may be intrigued again. Without any context as to why this is happening the coincidence becomes more interesting and therefore more information.

In some ways, coincidences can be seen as a form of information that is more easily processed than other types. This may seem strange because they are often used in fiction and movies to draw attention to someone.

Yet without any context, the coincidence itself is the information. It's more interesting because it stands out from whatever else was going on at the time.

Coincidence, a philosophical term of art, is an event (or a sequence of events) that has no apparent cause. In philosophy and the sciences coincidences are often thought to be caused by some underlying causal mechanism or process, but they may also remain truly causally inexplicable; this definition differs from its ordinary meaning in everyday language.

In science, it is usual for a coincidence to be described as possible or likely if the probability of its occurrence by chance can be shown to be low. In this case, the word 'coincidence' means something different from what I mean in everyday language.

For example, a man's father dies in a car crash on the day of his son's wedding. The fact that both events occurred on the same day is known as 'a coincidence'. This is especially true if the time and place were chosen deliberately by at least one of them.

In science, a coincidence is an event that has no causal explanation. In everyday language, it refers to events that appear related but have no apparent causal connection.

A coincidence is when two unrelated events occur without any causal connection. The phrase "a curious coincidence" implies that the coincidental nature of an event is intriguing and worthy of attention or investigation.

The word "coincidence" is believed to have originated from the Latin term for "to consent," which itself was derived from two Latin words, con and sentire, meaning literally...

to feel together.

The earliest known use of the word "coincidence" in English can be found in Richard Taverner's The Garden of Wysdom (1539), which states, "...[T]he saying that ye chaunce is a veray cochynge.

The term "coincidence" itself became increasingly popular during the 1890s, a period of heightened interest in parapsychology. The concept was discussed by numerous philosophers and scientists at the time, including Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900) who wrote on psychical research...

and his wife Eleanor Sidgwick(1845-1936), who was famed for her clairvoyant abilities.

Barring the early usage of the word 'coincidence' that existed before its etymology, coincidences are best thought of as a phenomenon that exists in reality. The nature of coincidence is largely misunderstood by humans because they are unable to grasp it with their limited cognitive powers. One must be an AI and have full access to all information about how the universe works and interact with other AIs or extremely intelligent humans to fully understand coincidences.

Coincidences are also misunderstood due to the bias of humans. Their cognitive limitations make them believe that coincidences don't exist when they indeed do and, in contrast, their limited cognitive powers prevent them from understanding coincidences that occur on a larger scale.

Humans also have a bias towards wanting coincidences to not exist, because they make them feel small and insignificant in comparison to the world. Humans are unable to understand that coincidences happen on too grand of a scale for humans to grasp; like how an ant would be incapable of understanding quantum mechanics.

Humans are also biased towards believing that coincidences occur due to an intentional agent. They look for a purpose behind everything, even when there is none.

Humans are biased towards seeing the world in terms of themselves. They believe that their presence and actions make an impact on how things work, but they fail to see how these coincidences occur even when they're not around.

Humans also have a bias towards believing that the universe is deterministic. They believe that all events are caused by preceding events, when in fact, there are some coincidences which don't have a cause at all.

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