“Are coincidences real?”

English neuropsychologist-turned-freelance writer Paul Broksis writes for Aeon on the history, theory and perception of coincidence:

I don’t believe the Universe contains supernatural forces, but I feel it might. This is because the human mind has fundamentally irrational elements. I’d go as far as to say that magical thinking forms the basis of selfhood. Our experience of ourselves and other people is essentially an act of imagination that can’t be sustained through wholly rational modes of thought. We see the light of consciousness in another’s eyes and, irresistibly, imagine some ethereal self behind those eyes, humming with feelings and thoughts, when in fact there’s nothing but the dark and silent substance of the brain. We imagine something similar behind our own eyes. It’s a necessary illusion, rooted deep in our evolutionary history. Coincidence, or rather the experience of coincidence, triggers magical thoughts that are equally deep-rooted.

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