Friday, August 21, 2009

Nothing more than a Coincidence

Coincidences happen all of the time to every person in their lifetime. It is not uncommon to experience such an event because it normally occurs in the context of an individual's life. In other words, a coincidence to one person is not relevant to the life of another person. It is relevant only to the person who experiences the coincidence. However, many people mistake a coincidence for an event that they claim can only have occurred to them supernaturally or by a higher power and not by simple chance.

Let's look at the facts. It is already well known in the fields of physics and math that there are probabilities for a given event. For instance, it is more probable for marathon runner A to win a race compared to marathon runner B based on a number of things. Runner A practices 3 hours longer than runner B every day. Runner A has also won 5 marathon races in the last 3 years than runner B who has won 2. Runner A has not incurred any injuries in her career as a marathon runner while runner B has incurred one knee injury in her career. These differences effect the probability of who will win the race. It's that simple.

Now let's use this example to discuss the concept of probability of coincidences. A person who has entered a contest to win a prize has a certain probability of winning based on the number contestants. Their probability increases or decreases if they must compete to win the prize by using their skills. If the contest is based on who can produce the most creative drawing then those contestants who are skilled at artistry and creativity have an increased probability of winning. There may be 10 contestants in a group of 100 that are very close in skill level for this competition and, in this case, those 10 contestants have a reduced probability of winning among them. Further, 2 of those 10 contestants may have entered a similar contest and have won which would increase their chance of winning among the top 10. There could be many other factors that I could discuss but you get my point.

There are many factors that could effect the probability or chance of experiencing a coincidence in our lives but that is all there is. We are not more special than anyone else. It is our skills and our drive that can make something happen. We can't simply ask for something that we desire to just happen for us. Life does not work that way. Our every day decisions and actions are governed by probability. From a mathematical point of view there is little significance in the occurrence of a particular event that may seem less probable from the point of view of the perceiver.

What we must learn is the ability to properly estimate the probability of a given event occurring in our own lives. The basis should not be on how hard we wished or prayed for it to happen. This has no effect on the occurrence of any event. All of our personal experiences have a reason for occurring whether it be taking action to make something happen or involving ourselves in something relevant to our desired outcome. The experience is a completely realistic one, although many people would say that it could not have happened without some kind of supernatural force. That is nonsense.

Every human being is deserving of a life that is free and no one person is more special than another. Obviously merit and wealth can help a person to reach their desires more swiftly and be more successful but we all experience coincidences no matter who we are. Some people may say that they did nothing to experience such a positive event but perhaps in these cases they were in the right place at the right time. Timing is but one factor in the realm of probability. We put ourselves in a position to experience a coincidence and this is the only way.

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