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Synchronicity; Apophenia and the 11:11 fallacy

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posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 05:34 PM
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Synchronicity, in it's original conception defined by Carl Jung, is the attachment of metaphysical or supernatural significance to random coincidence. It is said that coincidences are indicative of an underlying intelligence or collective unconscious will, manifesting as a means to guide the subject towards some spiritually significant end or advancement.

In other words, it's unsubstantiated woo.

Coincidences are an inevitable part of existence. Improbable things happen, all the time, and there is no evidence, outside of self reporting, confirmation bias and magical thinking of some, that they are in any way special or unusual. The fact that coincidences occur is no more unusual than a specific person winning the lottery, it is expected that they will happen, and happen regularly, as a probabilistic certainty. Attaching metaphysical significance to coincidences on a subjective level makes them seem important, meaningful, and personal, when the objective reality is that they are completely normal and natural.

But want happens when one particular occurrence of coincidence happens more than should be expected by random probability? One might be more willing to "follow" such an occurrence and attach it significance when it occurs. This is called Apophenia, and is a result of the human mind's propensity to recognise and pick out patterns in random noise. The fact is that the occurance doesn't really occur any more or less than would be expected, it only seems that way to the subject experiencing it.

This is because, after the first few occasions of the coincidence, and the conscious acknowledgement of it, the subconscious begins seeking out more instances of the coincidences to fulfill the expected pattern. A person effectively trains themselves to notice it more often, and attach meaning to it. At the same time, they ignore instances when it doesn't occur. This leads to confirmation bias, and in extreme cases, magical thinking. The correlation of unrelated occurrences becomes meaningful, and the slippery slope begins.

"Any fact becomes important when it's connected to another." -Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum

This is most clearly evident in proponents of the "11:11 phenomenon". 11:11 is symmetrical, it is repetitious, it is unique, it is memorable. The fist time you see 11:11 on a clock, you think, "ha, it's 11:11, cool". The basis of a subconscious connection to the number is created in your mind, and it sticks in your memory. The next time you see it, this connection is reinforced. Over time, you begin to notice it more and more often, as your unconscious mind begins to expect to see it, you unknowingly begin looking for the sequence not just on clocks, but everywhere.

A classic example of this apophenia is the case of man named John St Julian. In watching his youtube video, it becomes evident that not only does he subconsciously train himself to notice the number sequence more and more often, he also engineers circumstances, either consciously or unconsciously, where the sequence will come up in a significant way. Early in his video, he states that "11:11 wont leave you alone", but infact the inverse is true. He has subconsciously trained himself to never leave 11:11 alone, and he completely ignores every other number combination and numerical value.

The attachment of significance to one numerical combination is the inevitable conclusion of apophenia, and this numerical favourtism can have significant results on a person's life and psychology. In John's case, he decided to see what would happen if he made decisions based soley on the occurance of 11:11, and effectively surrendered himself to being led by this number. This blind following manifested in an extreme case of magical thinking, backed up by his own confirmation bias, and his life was changed forever.

Noticing something more and more often does not infact mean it occurs more and more often. This is indicative of the logical fallacies of the clustering illusion and the gambler's fallacy, and the effect is purely psychological. There is no change at all in the events of the external material world, but there is a significant change in a person's perception of events in that world. This change is self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating, and once begun, is very difficult to untrain.

As a side note, i would like to ask those who are advocates of this "11:11 phenomena", what happened in the past, before there were digital clocks and electronics? Did this phenomena not exist? Was it limited to seeing this numerical pattern in books? Random measurements? Astrological signs? Did it only begin to manifest once we developed the technology to display the number sequence regularly, in digital clocks, licence plates, and signwriting?

I have decided to begin my own experiment in the hopes of bringing some much needed logic and rationality to this subject. There are thousands of people who claim to be affected by the "11:11 phenomenon", and I intend to show that you can arbitrarily chose any number sequence at all, attach personal or metaphysical significance to it, and find it everywhere. I have yet to decide whether or not to surrender my life to being led by it, but as a starting point I am simply going to describe and illustrate my own experience in engaging apophenia.

The number i have chosen is 842. This number has been completely POOMA, and has no pre-existing significance to me whatsoever. I will detail how over time the numbers 842 become more and more common to me, and how coincidences appear to begin to be centred around it. I will demonstrate that synchronicity is nothing more than a psychological artifact, and that it has no legitimate basis in the external, material world.

Stay tuned, and you will see how anyone's subconscious can be trained to see a pattern in any random noise, and that statements such as "11:11 is God's way of staying anonymous", and "When you learn the significance of the number 11 and world history you will really come to an awakening that something big is happening here; perhaps a supernatural occurrence", are complete and utter horseradish.


edit on 16-1-2016 by spygeek because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 05:42 PM
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a reply to: spygeek

I can't believe you, sorry. And here's my reasons why.

Every time I look at my analog kitchen clock it says the same number. It's always the same time and I go in there about 10 times a day, if not more. Has done for about a week. My wife says the battery needs replacing, but I'm not so sure.

Also, someone said clock numbers mean something and, as we all know, clocks were invented before humans and the universe were. Which means that there's always been someone who's special with regards to clock times repeating.

So there's my logic

edit on 164316/1/1616 by TerryDon79 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 05:50 PM
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a reply to: spygeek

Should be interesting...I hope you actually follow through and report back.

Something tells me though that your little experiment will fall to the way side.




posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 05:51 PM
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a reply to: TerryDon79

If your clock displays the same time, ten times a day.....then it needs a new battery.

Your wife's a keeper.



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 05:56 PM
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originally posted by: EA006
a reply to: TerryDon79

If your clock displays the same time, ten times a day.....then it needs a new battery.

Your wife's a keeper.


I don't believe you!

It's not coincidence. It's synchronicity.

It must be.

Honest!

Or, I was just being sarcastic.

Nah, its synchronicity.



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 05:56 PM
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originally posted by: EA006
a reply to: TerryDon79

If your clock displays the same time, ten times a day.....then it needs a new battery.


That is not necessarily true. there is a theory which states it instead needs winding.



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 05:58 PM
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complete and utter horseradish.


While I understand and agree to a large degree with the explanations you have provided that scientifically explain these synchronicity things I pull up short in denying them as complete and utter horseradish.

The approach to life that you matter of factly label 'magical' is not 'magical at all. It is an approach to life that allows for that which is beyond the 'buttoned down', 'it's all random occurance in an otherwise material and nothing more existence.

So yes, I support your understanding that much of this phenomenon can be understood in the manner in which you and many others understand it. However I hold to the old adage that there is more under heaven then your philosophy allows Horatio. At least, it goes something like that.



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 05:59 PM
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a reply to: roadgravel

You saying Terry's wife doesn't know the difference?



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 06:00 PM
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a reply to: roadgravel

It's definitely battery operated.



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 06:01 PM
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a reply to: spygeek

Curiously both terrydon and i both reply to your post, and at the time i post just now, there's an 8 4 and 2 all in the same position on our posts and stars......



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 06:04 PM
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originally posted by: EA006
a reply to: spygeek

Curiously both terrydon and i both reply to your post, and at the time i post just now, there's an 8 4 and 2 all in the same position on our posts and stars......



And I bet that had nothing to do with batteries.



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 06:08 PM
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I was making a comment, in general, about clocks.

But if it is only about that one, it's a shame someone else would have to suggest a battery change.



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 06:09 PM
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originally posted by: TerryDon79

originally posted by: EA006
a reply to: spygeek

Curiously both terrydon and i both reply to your post, and at the time i post just now, there's an 8 4 and 2 all in the same position on our posts and stars......



And I bet that had nothing to do with batteries.


Lol no. Where are you from in Scotland?



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 06:12 PM
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originally posted by: roadgravel
I was making a comment, in general, about clocks.

But if it is only about that one, it's a shame someone else would have to suggest a battery change.


Ah, I thought you meant my clock in particular.

It does need a new battery btw lol. Just rarely use it as its in the kitchen with a digital clock on the microwave and cooker, but for some reason I still look at it when I walk out lol



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 06:14 PM
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a reply to: EA006

A bit north of Dundee. Nice place. Nice and quiet most of the time too


To spygeek....sorry for going soooooo off topic.



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 06:18 PM
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a reply to: MagesticEsoteric

I intend to be as rigorous and thorough as possible in my reporting. I will endeavour to describe in as much detail as possible the coincidences and events that occur around 8:42, I haven't thought about the length of the experiment yet, but I suspect within 6 months I should have accumulated enough evidence to significantly undermine the claims of 11:11 phenomena and synchronicity advocates..



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 06:18 PM
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ok well how do you know that you are right? what if the universe is alive and thinking. what if sometimes coincidences arent simply coincidences? saying you know for sure that its BS is pretentious.



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 06:20 PM
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originally posted by: roadgravel

originally posted by: EA006
a reply to: TerryDon79

If your clock displays the same time, ten times a day.....then it needs a new battery.


That is not necessarily true. there is a theory which states it instead needs winding.

Or flipped over.



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 06:21 PM
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a reply to: TerryDon79

There is the same at my place and I too look at it the most. The computer is the dispute settler on time accuracy questions.



posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 06:24 PM
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originally posted by: TerryMcGuire

The approach to life that you matter of factly label 'magical' is not 'magical at all. It is an approach to life that allows for that which is beyond the 'buttoned down', 'it's all random occurance in an otherwise material and nothing more existence.


I was referring to the logical fallacy of "magical thinking" (check the link for the definition), which is heavily relied upon in the synchronistic approach to life I wasn't suggesting the approach itself is magical.


So yes, I support your understanding that much of this phenomenon can be understood in the manner in which you and many others understand it. However I hold to the old adage that there is more under heaven then your philosophy allows Horatio. At least, it goes something like that.




This isn't about philosophy, it's about known psychological processes and failures in logic that lead to imagined metaphysical concepts, independent of reality.




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