Thursday, July 19, 2007

synchronicity

I know that you're all now thinking of the wretched Police song. (Virtually alone in my generation, I never warmed up to the Police. I always thought they were severely overrated. Who can respect someone who sings "De do do do de da da da/Is all I want to say to you" with a straight face? And yes, I do realize that song is about the meaninglessness of words, and I don't care. And don't get me started about Sting's solo career. I hated his pretentiousness and whininess, oh look, it's the "King of Pain." Yes, he's rich, famous, handsome and married to a model, but he's still "the King of Pain." Feh is all I want to say to you). So with that mental soundtrack, let us all take a moment to ponder the phenomenon of synchronicity. Why? Because Silliyak, the current reigning holder of the august Mr. Drunken Househusband title, has requested a post on that theme as his prize from the First, Possibly Annual, Readers' Photo Contest.

I've never been a big believer in the cosmic mysticism of synchronicity the way so many people are. I think in general we notice things because they are, consciously or subconsciously, on our minds, and then our minds imbue the things we notice with consequence and meaning.

Back in my early twenties, I had a synchronicity story I liked to tell. Before any of us met, my first husband, one of my favorite friends from college, and I all went to hear the same Residents show. "We were all in the same room together, but we didn't know each other yet," I'd say earnestly. Of course, at least three ex-boyfriends of mine were in that same room, as well as virtually every black-clad hipster in Boston, so it doesn't seem such an amazing coincidence now as it did then. The importance of it has also faded, since my old friend and ex-husband are no longer in my life (although I did look up the friend online and discovered that he is a published horror author, good for him, and we exchanged friendly emails).

The most fascinating coincidence I've run across is that Philip Zimbardo, the creator of the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment and author of the important and spellbinding book, "The Lucifer Effect", sat next to Stanley Milgram in high school. Milgram is the man who did the chilling experiments where regular people administered shocks on command to an unseen subject. There must have been some interesting dynamics in that classroom, with those future experts on the human capacity for evil.

I can think of no better example of synchronicity in my current life than some small things which happened yesterday. I got out of bed to go talk on the phone to the current owner/poacher of my ex-cat, Bob. Later in the day, I read the following passage in the amazing book "The Blood Spilt" by Asa Larsson:
It was probably some old dear who'd felt sorry for him and taken him in. Some pensioner who had nothing else to do but cook him salmon and give him the cream off the top of the milk.

Sven-Erik was suddenly filled with an unreasoning anger against this unknown individual who took in and adopted a cat that didn't belong to the person in question. Didn't this person realize that there was somebody worrying and wondering where the cat had gone? You could tell Manne wasn't homeless, with his shiny coat and affectionate ways.
Of course, this passage made me think about my own wandering ex-cat, Bob Marley, and the fact that the cat-poacher in my case had called me just that morning. My mind next wandered to the topic of synchronicity and whether this coincidence was good enough to build a post around to fulfill my obligation to Silliyak. Then a few hours later, Silliyak (humorously) gave me a little jab that I'd "jilted" him of his prize... when just that day I'd been thinking of writing it and wondering if I'd finally acquired a good enough example. Cosmic meaning? Your call.

8 comments:

hughman said...

ugh, i never got into the police either. if i want tormented rock, i'll listen to patti smith (WHO IS A GODDESS!) all that yoga and tantric sex crap from sting. TMI.

radical mama said...

Cosmic indeed!

Silliyak said...

Thank you. Hope the "jilted" comment didn't startle you :)

Freewheel said...

The Police were totally overrated, as their reunion tour now makes clear. But I did love the scene in 48 hours with Eddie Murphy singing Roxanne.

Silliyak said...

I sort of like Sting/Police, but if you did a word association and said "Sting", I would reply "pretentious"

Epiphany said...

This oughta make you happy:

http://music.msn.com/music/article.aspx?news=269067>1=7702&vv=450

the Drunken Housewife said...

Piph! Yeah, I saw that online and should have mentioned it as part of the synchronicity of it all. Mean to the personal chef, how tacky.

Silliyak said...

Actually, being mean to the person who is preparing your food is not only tacky, but unwise!