For some people, coincidences are “just coincidences”; everything is random, and unlikely events are bound to happen occasionally. One may experience a moment of surprise, then forgets it.
For other people, nothing is “just coincidence”; everything is preordained. One may even make an important life decision based on a coincidence, taking it as a “sign.”
The nature of coincidences is no longer a matter of philosophy alone. It is the focus of an emerging, multidisciplinary science.
Statistics gives us an unbiased answer to the question “What are the chances?!” Psychology helps us understand the meanings we may attribute to them. And various studies explore their impacts.
For example, Jim E.H. Bright at the University of New South Wales found 74 percent of his study participants had benefited from coincidences in their career development.
Oprah Winfrey is a famous example of the career-boosting potential of coincidences.
In the early 1980s, Oprah was hosting a local morning television show in Chicago. At the time, she had a passion for the book “The Color Purple.” She particularly identified with the character Sophia and prayed to play Sophia in a movie adaptation of the book planned by producer Quincy Jones and director Steven Spielberg.
Jones was in Chicago on business and saw Oprah on the TV in his hotel room. Without knowing she had the desire to do so, he decided she should play Sophia.
Jones and Oprah connected, she got the role, and it accelerated the growth of her popularity.
I do not believe in coincidences, but I do believe in divine timing.
“I do not believe in coincidences, but I do believe in divine timing,” Oprah once said, as quoted by Dr. Gary Schwartz of the University of Arizona in his book “Synchronicity and the One Mind.”
Epoch Times has previewed this book, though it has not yet been released to the public. It is part of a growing body of literature about the phenomenon of coincidences.
Bernard Beitman, M.D., published his book “Connecting With Coincidence” earlier this year. Beitman, a Yale- and Stanford-educated psychiatrist, taught the first-ever course in Coincidence Studies last year as a visiting professor at the University of Virginia.
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