Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of stealth and fate.
I’ve been around for a long, long year, shifting the course of history
How do you think the sun and the moon millions of miles apart
Seem to be from where you stand almost the very same size?
Pleased to meet you. You don’t have to guess my name.
I am Dr. Coincidence.
I specialize in similarity especially simultaneous similarities. For centuries humans have called on me to help them know the future. The I Ching uses yarrow sticks and coins to create controlled randomness. The Tarot mixes cards heavy with symbols and spreads them for meaning. These mantic artists, these seers of the future, create controlled coincidences.
These twirlers of randomness attribute the information about the future to their favorite theories about how the world works.
And what about you out there, living life in all its bumps and glory?
Coincidences slide into your mind, occasionally with a flurry.
They trip you up and turn you around, make you wonder and make you hurry.
The time is now ripe to marry synchronicity to the scientific method. This marriage creates a new discipline, Coincidence Studies.
Dr. Jung laid the groundwork by piercing the veil of hyper-rationalism with the symbolic spear of a scarab that appeared both in a woman’s dream and at the window of his office. This scarab, this symbol of transformation, in the deft hands of Carl, opened our materialist minds to the mysterious hiding in plain sight.
The coincidences of your life are the arrows to be placed in the bow of your curiosity and aimed at the shiny reflective curtain that we take to be reality. Let’s crowdsource coincidence theory. Together each of our coincidence arrows will tear holes in the shiny curtain to reveal more of the mystery that surrounds and guides us.
I’ll let Dr. Beitman tell you a story. It is about Dr. Beitman and Dr. Katon. Dr. Beitman is my alter ego. (He thinks that I am his alter ego.) He usually wears a V neck sweater and a collared shirt and tends to be on the serious side. He sees patients in a tiny, kind of messy office on East Jefferson in Charlottesville, Virginia. He likes to help people find their hidden powers.
“I didn’t know clearly what I was seeking, but when I saw it, I knew that was it. While on the faculty at the University of Washington, I had a colleague named Wayne Katon who was very smart and friendly, but with whom I felt competitive. (I asked him about the competitive feeling years later. He saw me as a mentor and friend. It was all in my mind.) For several years we were running parallel tracks. He was providing psychiatric consultation to the outpatient Family Medicine Clinic, and I was providing psychiatric consultation to the outpatient Internal Medicine Primary Care Clinic.
After ten years in Seattle, I was preparing to leave for Columbia, Missouri because I had been denied tenure. Standing in the hallways of the Psychiatry Department for the last time, I was deciding whether or not to say good-bye to him. Politeness and respect urged me to do the right thing despite my competitive feelings. I knocked on his door. On his desk was a paper on the relationship between chest pain and panic disorder. I asked him about it.
The researchers had interviewed patients who had undergone cardiac catheterization and found that more than a third of patients with normal coronary arteries fit diagnostic criteria for panic disorder. This finding meant that people with severe chest pain who didn’t have heart disease had a good chance of having panic attacks. Wayne had sketched out a one-page research protocol to build on this research. I tentatively asked for a copy, which he kindly gave me. This protocol helped lay the groundwork for his subsequent internationally acclaimed research integrating psychiatrists into medical clinics. With the protocol in hand, I hit the ground running at the University of Missouri–Columbia. With the help of three psychiatry-friendly cardiologists, I began two large studies of cardiology patients with chest pain and no heart disease.
These efforts led to my publishing approximately forty papers on the subject. Two of the papers were written collaboratively with Wayne.
As a result I was promoted to full professor with tenure and soon became chairman. It all began with my urge to be polite and tap on Wayne’s door.” (from Connecting with Coincidence)
This set of coincidences was great for me, Dr. Coincidence. I got Dr. Beitman to start doing coincidence research!
What do we learn from this story?
- Doing the right thing can turn out right
- During times of transition (he was leaving Seattle), coincidences are more likely to occur
- During periods of high emotion, (he was upset about not receiving tenure) coincidences are more likely.
- When need is elevated, (he needed a research idea to get promoted in academia) coincidences also become more likely.
Pleased to meet you. Now you know my name.
I am Dr. Coincidence.
I’m here to Connect you with Coincidence.