Why Wonders Occur More Often Than You Think & Unusual Coincidences

Cambridge University Professor John Edensor Littlewood defines a miracle as an extraordinary event of special significance that occurs with a frequency of one in a million.

He assumes that during the hours a person is awake and alert, he sees or hears one “event” per second, which can be either extraordinary or unexceptional.

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In addition, Littlewood assumes that a person is alert for about eight hours per day. Consequently, a person will have experienced about one million events in 35 days under these assumptions.

If one accepts this definition of a miracle, one can assume that on average every 35 days a miraculous event can be observed, and therefore, according to this reasoning, seemingly miraculous events are actually commonplace.

Our brain is incredibly trained when it comes to perceiving and analyzing connections and coincidences. The problem is that if you look long enough, you will always find strange coincidences. Overthinking everything, you know what it is, right?

Why is it so easy for us to see hidden news so easily? Why do simple coincidences feel so creepy and why is it so much fun?
If you flip Neil Armstrong’s “small step for man”, you can hear something that sounds like “man will spacewalk”.

“Apophenia” is the perception of connections or patterns in information.
One type of apophenia is “pareidolia”: When you see or hear something that shouldn’t be there.

Photo by Natasha Brazil on Unsplash

For example, when you hear your name being called, your phone ringing, the sound of the sink running, or English words in a non-English song or faces that aren’t there. Our brains are good at this kind of work.

Probably because this greatly heightened perception of patterns and faces can save our lives. If there’s an ambiguity if something in the shadows turns out to be a threat, or just a shadow so it gives the benefit of the doubt to a threat
to believe.

Living beings with a healthy sense of Apophelia live longer, long enough to have and raise offspring and thus naturally become the norm.

Furthermore, “Confirmation Bias” is the tendency to seek, interpret, prefer and retrieve information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values.

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People exhibit this bias when they select the information that supports their views and ignores contrary information, or when they interpret ambiguous evidence in ways that confirm their existing attitudes. The effect is strongest for desired outcomes, emotionally charged issues, and deeply held beliefs.

The confirmation effect cannot be eliminated, but it can be managed, e.g., through education and training in critical thinking. I’m always a fan of being open-minded because that’s the passive way of achieving fulfillment and purpose while optimism or curiosity is the active way.

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