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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 11:07 am:   

The other day I was driving around and this word "gymnosophist" popped into my head. I thought it seemed like a funny word. I must have read it somewhere before or about it. So when I got home I looked it up and found out that it came from Alexander's travels in India -- apparently they were roving bands of naked philosophers. I read those Alexander Romances years ago. Why now with the gymnosophists, I wondered. And out of the blue to boot. OK, so I started writing a story called Death and the Gymnosophist" -- kind of ridiculous and suspect as to whether it will go anywhere, but that night, I open a book of stories I recently purchased, hadn't looked through it at all, and there in the first story I read, was mention of the gymnosophists. Ever had that happen? This kind of thing happens to me a lot, especially with words and texts. Synchronicities, the folding of space time, the holographic universe, the old whim-wham? Go figure.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 12:19 pm:   

This happens to me every once in awhile. It's a dislocating feeling. Mostly, though, it's dreams that come true. But they're dreams of stupid things--the way the light strikes a window in a place I've never been before. Then five weeks later, we're in that place experiencing that moment.

I think Paul Auster has written an essay about this experience of chance you're talking about, though.

JeffV
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 03:07 pm:   

What about when you're walking around and Paul Auster just pops into your head?
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 03:28 pm:   

You'll have to tell me about that one, Gordon. I haven't gotten Auster yet. I got the gymnosophists. Does Auster have something about the gymnosophists somewhere?
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JJA
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 05:46 pm:   

Jeff said: /i{I got the gymnosophists.}

Is that like the clap?
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JJA
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 05:47 pm:   

Jeff said: I got the gymnosophists.

Is that like the clap?
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Lou Anders
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 07:27 pm:   

I had a phenomena back in the early 90s, when I was living in London and reading Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! books. At one point, I was sitting in a cafe and people around me, in their casual and unrelated conversations, began to say lines that were subsequently or simultaneously appearing on the page. It went a couple rounds and then faded away, but was most strange. Not the only weird experience that occured while reading the books, but one of the most fun.
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 08:12 pm:   

John: No, it's the sound of one hand clap.

Lou: Yeah, that's exactly the kind of stuff I mean, and a lot of times it happens when you're reading books like that one.
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Lawrence A
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 01:11 am:   

Arthur Koestler spoke of what he called "library angels". What he meant was that when he was researching a particular subject, even a very obscure one, the right books and documents would appear to him as if out of nowhere, and he would never have come across them before. I don't mean appear out of thin air, just like somebody would leave a book at a desk at a library next to where he was working and it would be exactly what he needed, that kind of thing.

Lou, I know exactly what you mean, it often happens to me and it always leaves me with goosebumps. Once I had just finished reading Geoff Ryman's masterpiece WAS (where the wizard of Oz mythos and Judy Garland's tragic life plays an important central role) while on vacation and upon finishing the novel walked straight into a restaurant where CNN was on the television and Larry King was interviewing people about Judy Garland, who it turned out had died the day before. I had no idea. What's even weirder was the restaurant never had CNN on, I had been eating there almost every day for close to two weeks and they always had the sports channels or MTV and VH1 on, always. That was the only day they just happened to have had CNN on, and I just happened to walk into the restaurant when the Larry King show was on. And his programme just happened to be about Judy Garland who unbeknownst to me had just died the day before.

And in fact the very first image I saw on the TV as I walked into the restaurant was footage of The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland walking down the yellow brick road with the lion and scarecrow! And I was carrying Ryman's novel in my hand at the time, intending to give it to somebody I had met on vacation and was meeting for a meal at that restaurant.

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MarcL
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 09:10 am:   

Yes, this happens to me often enough to warrant a name. The literary version feels something like a realworld hypertext link. This especially happened when I was reading lots of Phil Dick. My friend Paul Mavrides tells an elaborate anecdote about how he was drawing a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers poster for Gilbert Shelton (Paul ghost-draws a lot of stuff for Shelton) when someone handed him a copy of Playboy with "I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon In It." The main character, woken too early from stasis, is locked in a reality simulator by a generation-ship computer hoping to keep him sane by running increasingly tattered memories. The guy is stuck reliving a horrible divorce, and his ex-wife is trying to deprive him of his most precious possession: A Gilbert Shelton poster. But in the story, someone suggests that the poster isn't even authentic, it's a fake. And of course this is meant to imply that it's just a poor simulation, that the whole reality he's experiencing is a fake. And meanwhile Paul is sitting there forging a Gilbert Shelton poster, and questioning his entire reality.

I used to have the strange psychic ability to open a paperback at random, read a passage, and then turn to the little quoted bit on the flyleaf--and very often, it would turn out to be the same passage I had just opened to at random.

And for non-literary versions of this, there was one time when my wife and I, with our newborn in a stroller and nowhere to go on our anniversary, wandered through the San Francisco Mission District and into a small deserted taqueria, ordered some food and sat down, only to find the jukebox mysteriously start spilling out "The Anniversary Waltz," a song I had never heard before. We hadn't been discussing our anniversary; no one knew we were going there, and no one there knew us; and there was no one near the jukebox at the time. Freaked us both out.
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 09:42 am:   

Lawrence: Thanks, that's the kind of thing that I'm talking about. Coincidence almost beyond belief, but I believe you as I've had things happen like this. Thanks also for reminding me I've always wanted to read Was but never have.
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 09:47 am:   

Marc: Yeah, PKD is tailor made for this kind of stuff, same with Castaneda and books like The Cosmic Serpent. It seems like the gods are playing tricks. I just had one happen this morning -- too long to explain -- but it defied logic and was eeirie as hell. I've read about this stuff before but I can only get so far with the explanations and then I lose track of what they are saying. Jung writes about Synchronicity and there have been some popular science texts I've checked out on it. That one with your friend drawing the Shelton poster is classic.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 01:32 pm:   

I've noticed that, from time to time, I'll be watching an old movie, from the forties maybe, and a long-dead actor will toss off an especially witty line, and then a day or so later I'll be staring at my computer screen and the exact same line will turn up -- verbatim -- in the scene I'm writing. Is that the sort of thing you guys mean?
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 02:42 pm:   

Sam: Yeah, there's that too. Those are the ones I don't want to notice.
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T Andrews
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 03:18 pm:   

Mr. Ford: I've followed this thread today and enjoyed it! (The poster incident is truly bizarre!) I'd like to add a few tales of mine. I've experienced some weird 'textual phenomena' off and on over the years. Probably once a year, I will come across a VERY obscure, unusual word that I make note of, and then that same hour or day, I will encounter it again in an entirely different context. Very strange. The odds against it are enormous.
I also had a dog take it upon herself to rifle through a few hundred books to discover, just literally at the hour of need, an elderly person's living will. Would make a good short story except no one would believe it. ;)
A few years ago I was writing a story about a woman and was trying to come up with a name. Out of the blue, the name "Keitha" popped into my head. I figured I made it up, though I've since learned otherwise. The synchronicity comes into play here: a day or so later, my mother mails me a package of geneological info. Guess what my great-great-great-great grannie's name was? Yup. Keitha. There has been no one alive in our family for decades to have inadvertently passed that info on to me. Weird... :-)



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Lou Anders
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 03:54 pm:   

Okay, a few things in rapid succession:

1. While reading RAW's Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy a number of people kept trying to get me to read Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. I told each of them that I was very into a (then, for me) new author and didn't want to be distracted by their book. Then an ex-girlfriend, who had a habit of showing up in synchronistic moments anyway, pops up and says she's going to give me a book and that I have to read it. It is, of course, Siddhartha. I tell her "no," but I accept the book for later. The very next page I open in the Wilson book raves about Siddhartha and how everyone should read it. So, naturally, I stopped reading Schrodinger's Cat for long enough to read Siddhartha and then resumed.

2. I saw a brilliant play once, in Charlottesville, VA, written by a drama teacher and performed in a bookstore. In the play, one character encounters another who likes to pull books from the shelf, read passages at random, and take meaning from the juxaposition. This character introduces the game to another, and the whole one-act play is the quotes they read. A meaning slowly builds up, an excitement (almost seductive), a palpable energy, it crests, peaks and dampenes, and you see their panick as they lose it and it dwindles - despite little surges - to nothing. They give it one last try, and take out something like Nietzsche’s quote about gazing into the abyss (though perhaps it was a similar, but less clichéd, sentiment). The whole thing was sheer brilliance. Would love to find the play again.

3. J Michael Straczynski and I talked about this once in relation to Babylon 5, as his experience of writing & producing the series was riddled with it. He told me the universe plays these games with you when it wants to let you know you are on the right track. Once, I was on the set of the spin-off, Crusade, when the word came from Turner Network that the show was going on a one-month hiatus. The lead actor freaked out. It was a Friday, and, as I'm sure you all know, television shows are not shot in order, but grouped around the use of certain sets. His final line of dialogue for the day, (not the end of the script chronologically you understand) was, "Just think of it as an unscheduled vacation."

4. My former script-writing partner and I had a regular, similar experience. Whenever we started a new project, once it crystallized in our minds, we would each go to our separate homes and turn on the television. Whatever topic we had chosen to write about was inevitably a special that night on the Discover or Learning Channel. It happened with enough consistency and frequency that he would call during the first commercial break and ask only, "You watching?" and I'd say "Of course" without either of us needing to specify what was meant.

5. The question is why does this happen only - or more often - with certain types of authors & certain types of work. And is there anything a writer can do, on his end, to imbue a text with this literary magic so that a reader can then draw it forth?
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 02:11 am:   

I also had a dictionary that I swear used to mess with me. I'd be browsing through it, come across a word that intrigued me so much I'd memorize it and start to use it. Then someone would call me on the word and say "That doesn't exist." So I'd go to the dictionary to defend myself, turn right to the spot where I'd found it, and...no such word.

This same dictionary supplied me with erroneous spellings that mysteriously corrected themselves later.

I still have this old thing, but it hasn't tried to pull any tricks on me in quite a while.
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 02:16 am:   

Then there's the case of words such as gymnosophist which pop into your head and demand to be investigated and used. "Diaghilev" was one such word for me, when I was writing THE THIRD FORCE. It's always a pleasure to find a way to work these into a story, if only to add some texture. I think there's an obsessive-compulsive quality to these things--sort of like a looping song that you can't get out of your head. Using them in a story is the only sure way to exorcise them. Some, I have had in my head for years.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 05:33 pm:   

I just had a case of synchronicity happen. On my fictionmags listserve, for the past few days several people have been discussing some called Haxan but I wasn't really paying attention because it was about a movie that I'd never heard of and wasn't interested in.

I just checked my email and got a notice from Venerable music, a terrific company that reissues old blues, strange music, and other odds and ends. I wanted to see what was in their new catalog, clicked on the link and at the bottom of the page was a new version of this witchcraft movie Haxan,.

This sort of thing happens to me all the time.
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Lawrence A
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 03:34 am:   

If one is interested in the scientific speculation re synchronicity, it is worth noting that the tragic great Austrian biologist Paul Kammerer (who would become embroiled in a scientific tragedy revolving around accusations of fraud regarding the controversy of Lamarckian inheritance that would eventually see Kammerer commit suicide - a long story, see Arthur Koestler's The case of the midwife toad), actually put forward a concept he called 'serial time' before Jung put forward his concept of synchronicity (which btw Jung propounded with the Nobel-prize winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who is the father of neutrino theory and the exclusion principle in quantum mechanics, without which QM would be impossible to make any sense of).

Kammerer's serial time or law of seriality actually better expresses in some ways, than Jung did the enigmatic nature of what Jung would later call synchronicity, Kammerer subdividing seriality into different types/classes and powers/magnitudes. Einstein would call Kammerer's work in this regard "original and by no means absurd". Ironically Kammerer was apparently a staunch materialist and possibly would have dismissed as superstition Jung's expansion of the concept of seriality to encompass the collective unconscious.

Kammerer considered seriality to be an irreducible law of the universe, inevitable in the nature of things and no more or less strange than the rain or the spinning of the earth on its
axis. He may well have been right but perhaps overly conservative in his interpretation and approach, perhaps overly eager to explain away the disturbing mystery of it all? This is covered in Koestler's short book The roots of co-incidence, although only in outline. Plenty of info on the web.

This is what Kammerer had to say re the law of seriality:

"So far we have been concerned with the factual manifestations of recurrent series, without attempting an explanation. We have found that the recurrence of identical or similar data in contiguous areas of space and time is a simple empirical fact which has to be accepted and which cannot be explained by coincidences - or rather, which makes coincidences rule to such an extent that the concept of coincidence itself is negated."

Obviously in the last few decades the attempt to explain or more accurately describe this phenomena by a few brave physicists, mathematicians and others has been made. Universal hologram theory, Mach's Principle, and as importantly dualist models of the human mind/brain (eg Karl Pribram's holographic brain theory) have been proposed to account for these strange synchronistic occurences. Yet perhaps all we can do is at best describe synchronicity with numerous models, to explain the mystery of it is another matter altogether.

And while we're talking about Phil Dick, in Richard Linklater's film WAKING LIFE, Linklater's rotoscoped character (Linklater himself) relates an apparently true story about a very strange series of synchronistic incidents originally related by Dick and revolving around his novel Flow my tears, the Policeman said. In the film, Linklater gets a few of the details of Dick's strange and eerie tale a bit wrong though. Here is the whole thing (an essay entitled 'How to build a universe that doesn't fall apart two days later') straight from the horse's mouth, Dick himself.
http://www.geocities.com/pkdlw/howtobuild.html

It strains credibility and will leave you reeling. Yet I know Dick was telling the truth, because these kind of things have happened to me (and others here going by this thread), although not to the same degree of eeriness I gotta admit.

Like Linklater says in his film though, we can be pretty sure Dick is wrong about the admittedly absurd interpretation of these occurences that he gives at the end of his essay. We are obviously not living in 50 AD. But it does not take away from the fact that these synchronistic events actually happened to him.

Here is the relevant dialogue from the film WAKING LIFE btw
http://www.prism.gatech.edu/~gte484v/wakinglife/linklater.html
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 06:24 am:   

T., Marc, Ellen, Lou: Thanks for jumping in with your experiences. I had a feeling that I wasn't the only one this kind of thing happened to. T: That Kietha story is right out of the collective unconscious or something. While your remembering relatives you never met, I'm trying to forget the ones I know. Ellen: Songs are another way this happens to me also. The other day the song Little Arrows by Leapy Lee popped into my head -- no reason, hadn't heard of it or thought of it since I was listening to me transistor radio one night while sleeping out in the backyard when I was like 12. A couple hours later it came on the car radio. And I don't think it was a station that played a lot of 60's oldies. Lou: You're asking the right question at the end of those fantastic examples, but I have no clue what the fucking answer is. Marc: Likewise, great stuff, and Diaghilev is exactly the kind of name that comes to you and you can't let go of.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 06:25 am:   

Lawrence: Thanks for this post -- above and beyond the call of duty. Will respond to it later today at length. Gotta go out for a while now. I also have to dig up some books I have that you might be interested to see the titles of.
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Lou Anders
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 04:58 pm:   

Lawrence, I'm fascinated by Kammerer's serial time, which I've never heard of before, but I'm not sure I grasp it exactly. Can you elucidate?

Meanwhile, thanks for the Linklater and Dick links. I've heard the Dick story before, but not firsthand. It's recounted in Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger, as it dovetails with an experience Wilson had. In his case, he deliberately decided to imagine that canine intelligences from Sirius were trying to get in touch with him, only to find shockingly corroborative evidence that they were. It formed the experiential basis of his contention that reality was mutable and changeable. Perhaps not to an unlimited degree, but certainly beyond the degree that is currently recognized.

Back on my question of whether or not you can engender this in fiction deliberately, I've just seen the film National Treasure, which deals with a lot of Masonic All-Seeing-Eye on the Dollar Bill type conspiracies. I wonder if this sort of watered down Hollywood depiction of the usual conspiracy (pardon the pun) currency will result in any synchronicities. Or is the beer to thin?
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Lawrence A
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 01:34 am:   

Lou, here is a good link setting out in outline Kammerer's law of seriality
http://futurepositive.synearth.net/2003/06/16

The above link also makes mention of George Land's syntropy (a law of information that counteracts and compliments entropy). And mention also made of the fact that Kammerer's Das Gesetz der Serie has never been translated into English.

An error in my previous post btw, it's not 'universal hologram theory' as I wrote, but more properly holographic universe theory aka Implicate Order theory. Propounded by the late great physicist David Bohm (a colleague and friend of Einstein's at Princeton) and the man who extending the work of de Broglie, gave us the Ontological Interpretation of the Quantum Paradox.

For his theory in very very brief outline of the universe as a hologram (a notion which has since been put forward more recently, independently of Bohm, by other physicists), see this link:
http://twm.co.nz/hologram.html includes mention of Pribram's holographic brain theory and synchronicity. Admittedly way-out in the assertions made, but no more so than anything related by Dick re his synchronistic experiences.

There is so much on the web obviously re Bohm, so if any of you are so interested just do a google.

Here btw is a good link re synchronicity (follow links at the link)
http://www.paricenter.com/programs/courses/synchronicity.php

F David Peat, physicist and science writer, studied under Bohm and wrote a biography on the man, is even giving a course on the subject (synchronicity that is) this coming May, see link above. So if you're in Tuscany this May....

F David Peat's site
http://www.fdavidpeat.com/

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Lawrence A
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 01:53 am:   

Silly me, I should have mentioned that Peat has actually written a book (I haven't read it) entitled Synchronicity: The Bridge Between Matter and Mind

http://www.fdavidpeat.com/ideas/synchronicity.htm
http://www.fdavidpeat.com/bibliography/books/synchronicity.htm
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 06:05 am:   

Lawrence: Here's a Synchronicity, the Peat book was the one I was digging for through the stacks in my office. I remember reading it, not too long ago, and could only follow it so far before I lost all understanding. A close friend of mine is a theoretical physicist, and I think I'm going to get him to read it so he can explain the math to me. I can only go so far with abstract concepts before I lose them in the wind. Do you understand this entire book? Thanks for the link above on the Kammerer site and article. That sounds interesting. I've read the Toad book by Koestler. And I know the Dick story, Sutin relates it in his biography of Dick, Divine Invasions, Dick fictionalizes it as well in Radio Free Ablemuth, a novel not too many critics admire but one of his I really like. The great Robert Crumb has also done a comic based on the PKD incident. And that Holographic Universe book, which I nodded toward in my first post, is one of those seemingly crackpot science books that is so elegant it could very well be right, sort of like The Break Down of Concsiousness and the Bi-Cameral Mind. At least they make for great ideas for Fantasy and SF stories. My own experience with synchronicity is that I pass through squalls of it in my life, where there are a lot of incidents at once. And the more you notice them or pay attention to them, the more they happen. The interesting thing is though that they never really seem to lead to anything earth shattering, as they sometimes portend to. After this realization hits me, they usually dissipate. What I'm describing is probably some mental disorder and not synchronicity at all. One thing I'm sure of is that the instances you all have listed above and some that I have experienced well exceed the bounds of coincidence.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 07:46 am:   

I've always had the feeling that "synchronicity" just is. Never felt the need to explain it. It happens to me all the time and is just an interesting part of my life. No big deal. Jeff, what I really don't think is that it's a mental disorder :-) I assume you're joking but if not, don't take it so seriously.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 07:57 am:   

Ellen: I was sort of kidding, but there is a portion of this that has to do with the paranoid that is very tenuous. I think PKD is a perfect example of this. The story of mine, "Rabbit Test" that was reprinted by Luis on FM is really a true story, but the coincidences in it are so profound that it could pass as being fantastic in some way. The things that happened in the story definitely happened, but there must have been something to the fact that once I noticed the synchronicities, I began persuing them. Anyway, I'm not feeling particularly crazy these days. I'm on vacation from work. What could be more sane than that?
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AliceB
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 08:33 am:   

Okay, I just finished "Rabbit Test" and was about to post how beautiful I thought the story was (and is) when I decided to read this thread first. Thank you Jeff for (1) the story, which moved me, and (2) a way for me to laugh at the "synchronicity" of the timing of my post.

Best,
Alice
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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 08:33 am:   

>>The great Robert Crumb has also done a comic based on the PKD incident.

Jeff, reading Crumb's comic some fifteen years ago was what turned on me to the later PKD stuff, which I still appreciate. It's actually available online and worth reading:

http://www.philipkdickfans.com/weirdo.htm
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 08:39 am:   

Gabe: Swear to god, just wrote a note to you on Ellen's message board while you were writing this one. The House of Flying Synchronicities. Yeah, I love that Crumb comic. He's got another great one like the PKD one called Jelly Roll Morton's Voodoo Funeral. Have you seen that one? And I think there was one more in that vein about maybe robert Johnson, but I'm not sure. The PKD one was the first I knew of anything about Dick's Synchronic existence.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 08:42 am:   

Alice: That's wild. You really had just read the story and came here to post about it? Man, in my pot smoking days that would have stopped me in my tracks. Thanks so much for spending the time with the story, I'm glad you liked it. And thanks for dropping a line and exemplifying the synchronistic inevitability. Happy New Year!
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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 09:33 am:   

The Jelly Roll Morton one is great but I haven't seen a copy in years. That one and the Dick and maybe a few others from that time I think are really the best thing Crumb's done. (The recent "expat" collaborations with his wife I find pretty dull and predictable.)

Crumb also has a book on Kafka which was recently reprinted by Ibooks. (Yup, more synchronicity.) Have you read this one? I picked up a copy but haven't read it yet. Heard good things about it though.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 10:03 am:   

One thing about Dick's descriptions of synchronicity is that I don't necessarily take them literally. I think Dick had a vested interest in messing with people's minds; plus, he was a storyteller, with little separation between the way he'd hammer out a plot and the way he'd shape an anecdote related as "true." I have heard stories from a few people who knew him just as a regular guy, not as a writer, and felt that he was quite deliberate and almost malevolent in the ways he messed with their minds. Also, from comparing Dick's story of an event with the story related by other witnesses, there are often great discrepancies. Plus, in the telling of these things, all the random unrelated details naturally get edited out, and the event becomes more and more a shaped narrative as it is told and retold, until eventually it is mis-remembered by its very author. On one level I don't even trust the stories I tell after I've told them a few times; I'm aware that telling them has altered my ability to remember them. So...I believe this stuff happens, it happens all the time, when it's happening it's inarguable; but I don't necessarily believe, literally, Phil Dick's stories of convergence. Doesn't mean I don't enjoy them, though. I remember how much he made of an incident where he went into a dark room and reached for a light switch that wasn't there--that, in fact, had never been there. When those things happen, I tend to think my reflexes are remembering a different room, a pattern from some earlier place I lived. It doesn't immediately (or even gradually) occur to me that I might be living in 50 A.D. But there's the genius of Philip K. Dick for ya!
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 10:17 am:   

Gabe: Yeah, that Kafka book is really great. The first time I read it I had a high fever and the Crumb illustrations and the stuff about Kafka along with the stories I'd read all seemed to come together like one of Dick's Synchronicities. Yikes, what an experience. I had the same experience when I was seven and I had a fever and my mother brought me home the first superman Bizarro comic I'd ever seen.

Marc: You know, I know you're right, but...
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rick bowes
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 10:20 am:   

Jeff

Back in the holy High Days, we felt that if you had enough short term memory left to be able to remember a coincidence like the one you describe then you were smoking beat weed.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 10:31 am:   

Rick: Out on Long Island all we smoked was beat weed. Coney Island Green, good for a light buzz, a sore throat and a headache.
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rick bowes
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 12:48 pm:   

It says a great deal about your committed search for a life unfettered by the tyranny of frontal lobes that you were willing to persist in smoking that jack-shit boo.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 12:58 pm:   

Rick: Once and a while there would be this rumor that some good shit was around, and oh the names they had for it -- Thai Stick and Red Hair and I don't know how to spell it but something like Sincimillian (whatever the fuck that was), but in the long run, though it cost more, it was the same dirty brown high. You just drink more cheap beer with it and get by as best you can. Later on in life, I got some good stuff, but that was much later, and you're right, it's not about synchronicity it's about the vibrant life of the moment.
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Alex
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 01:22 pm:   

I come late to this discussion but want to add a weird incident: when I was writing A Scattering of Jades, I was coming across all of this great Nahuatl stuff but much of it was untranslated, or only partially translated. So one day I was driving down Route 9 in Framingham, Mass., and I turned to Beth and said, "I would give my left nut for a Nahuatl-English dictionary." Twenty minutes later we walk into the Framingham Borders and there, on the remainder table for one dollar, is a Nahuatl-English dictionary.

The best part is nobody ever came to take my left nut.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 01:24 pm:   

Alex: Not yet.
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Bruce
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 02:51 pm:   

"something like Sincimillian (whatever the fuck that was)"

When I was in school, Sinsemilla was the alleged super-weed from California. Way expensive but killer; our home-grown in Western Canada had names like Alberta Crude and was pretty nasty stuff so we had to import anything worth smoking.

Not any more!
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Minz
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 08:26 am:   

Welcome to the Way-Back thread.
Always in search of the Kind Bud while on the Quest for the Ultimate Buzz . . .
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rick bowes
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 08:32 am:   

In the mid '60's, the good stuff came either over the border from Mexico or into the bayous by boat from the Islands. It would get repackaged in pound weight bricks in this country, often wrapped in Laredo, El Paso or Louisiana newspapers. I remember sitting on a winter afternoon in the East Village blasted out of my skull, reading the New Orleans Times-Picayunne sports pages.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 03:47 pm:   

I was in a cowboy bar with Jeff once, and he ordered a sinsemilla, and they nearly strung us both up.

Okay, now, I warn you in advance that as synchronicity stories go, this one is pitiful, but it's all I've got. (And it's absolutely true.) So: last week we were on the road to Monterey. The wife was taking her shift at the wheel, the kid was in the back seat listening to his book-on-tape. I pulled out a Harper's magazine and started doing the cryptic puzzle.

Clue #14 was "Temptress heard stories? Untrue!" Seven letters. As I scrawled in the answer, "lorelei," a shiver went down my spine. For sure enough, on my lap, just beneath the Harper's (and propping it up for my pen), was a copy of the Jan. F&SF. Featured story? -- "The Lorelei," by Alex Irvine. And directly below that was a copy of the Feb. F&SF, with "Inner Huff," by Matt Hughes, which opens with Guth Bandar listening to the song of . . . a lorelei.

I was already quite unnerved; I had never felt the presence of so much synchronicity in my lap at once. But then we took a sharp turn, and a small object rolled against my foot. My gaze turned to the floor of the car, and when I tell you what I saw you will surely understand why it took all the will I could summon to choke back a scream.

It was Alex's left nut!!!!
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Lou Anders
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 03:59 pm:   

Boy this has degenerated. Lawrence, I haven't thanked you yet for those amazing links, only some of which I've been able to delve into yet. I'm fascinated by the idea (if I understand it correctly) as synchronicity as a sort of byproduct or observable ramification of the universes' anti-entropic pricinpal of organizing like with like. This dovetails with some thoughts I've had about AI and Tarot, etc.. I've monkeyed with I Ching, Tarot, some other systems, and it interested me how they always worked with intermixing suites of four, but that the I Ching made an allowance for two of the four to swap out, a bit like DNA? I've wondered if they don't tap into some sort of universal ordering pricipal, maybe just syphoning it off or catching the least part of it, and if they key to consciousness in AI might be in allowing some of their magic in.

Okay, enough, back to Alex's migratory nuts.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 04:05 pm:   

Hey Lou Anders -- what the hell were you doing in Charlottesville, VA, the site of my nativity? -- And was the bookstore at which you saw the play the nice, airy one on the downtown mall (since closed, alas)?
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Lou Anders
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 05:45 pm:   

Hi Samm,
Doing? Well, I attended UVA from 85 to 89, so English, history, fraternity, alcohol, "better-living..." etc but did most of the undergrad theatre requirements in a fifth year of sudden inspiration/ambition, which is why I was at the play. And yes, it was at that bookstore downtown. Sad to hear it's closed. Downtown wasn't walkable, so I didn't go there much, but I've probably ambled drunken over most of your landmarks. What was that big private hill with the bungaloos on top that had such a breathtaking view of the city?
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T Andrews
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 07:21 am:   

Since this thread began, I've noticed a higher occurance of synchronicities in my life than normal. I treat my own cases with much greater skepticism than I do those of others. I don't know if it's being more aware that makes you notice things you wouldn't normally notice...like when you get a new car--within a week you've noticed every other model just like yours in town.

Yesterday morning I was relating a particular story to my son for the first time--it was about how I was walking home from work down a mountain at night to a small village and I was 'escorted' by a timber wolf. I told my son how maligned wolves are, and how it never attacked me, etc. Then I read in the online news of a highly unusual wolf attack the night before. A man was walking home from work at night and a timber wolf came out of the ditch and attacked him. The article made a point of how extremely rare such attacks are. I didn't have any radio on as background noise earlier--i.e. I couldn't have heard the news on some sub-conscious level that brought my own experience to the forefront. My son is four, and I was driving him to school and he noticed a tree out his window and said, "Mom, that twee wooks wike a wolf's head" which prompted my story.
Aawhoooo....
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Alex
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 07:28 am:   

My wandering nut, gone off to Cali in search of da kine.

I knew this guy named Ali McCullough in high school, and he used to come into our freshman geometry class baked out of his gourd swearing that he's been smoking Hawaiian weed. "That shit was red, man," he'd say over and over while we puzzled through theorems.
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rick bowes
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 09:47 am:   

The trouble with you guys is you all want synchronicity, but you don't want to pay for it. Sounds to me like a lot of you owe the cosmos a left nut or two.
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 10:02 am:   

Rick: Being the one who knows what the trouble with everyone else is, in other words, seeing the same problem repeated in all those around you, is a form of synchronicity in itself. Have you given your left nut today?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 10:48 am:   

Oh yeah, Rick?
And what about we gals? Huh? Huh? (shh--don't say).
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rick bowes
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 12:24 pm:   

Jeff and Ellen

Where did I say it had to be one's own left nut?
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Alex
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 12:28 pm:   

Two left nuts. I'm imagining what kind of clumsiness this might signify.
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rick bowes
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 12:50 pm:   

Alex

You've heard the expression, "Makes love like a guy with two left nuts."
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AliceB
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 02:05 pm:   

Well then Rick, since accommodations need to be made, could I borrow your right one? And Ellen, I'm willing to share.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 02:16 pm:   

Isn't that Ashcroft's hit single: "Let the Monorch Butterfly"?
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 02:17 pm:   

This started out to be such a cool thread, but I might have known that when the count started to skyrocket, it was because we were on the way to Synchro Nut City.
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rick bowes
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 02:29 pm:   

AliceB:

Go find your own.
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 03:02 pm:   

This the chaos part that is the opposite of the synchronistic part. If you let this go long enough it will settle back into the synch.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 03:20 pm:   

Aww. Rick. Be generous. Alice and I will share one :-)
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 04:21 pm:   

Is this the origin of Rick B. Mountain Oysters?
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rick bowes
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 04:39 pm:   

It's true what they say about editors!
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 04:54 pm:   

Wasn't it Robert Bloch who used to say, "I have the testicles of a little boy. They're in a jar on my desk."?
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rick bowes
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 04:56 pm:   

No, that was Cardinal Law.
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AliceB
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 05:11 pm:   

I thought you had two left ones, Rick.
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rick1844
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 07:18 pm:   

No. Those rumors started many years ago when they were a popular tourist destination.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 09:33 pm:   

Alice. That's "feet" not "nuts"!
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 10:02 pm:   

Now I'm totally confused. What about Daniel Day-Lewis in "My Left Nut"?
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 10:52 am:   

Ok, here's a genuine synchronicity bit.

I've been reading one of the Dolphin Diary books to my youngest daughter; it's not the latest, it's been out for a couple years, we're still catching up with the series. In last night's chapter, the heroine goes to the island of La Gomera off the coast of Spain. She and her friends are supposed to create a report on some interesting local subject while they're there. As they're sitting on the beach, they notice a couple men having an exchange entirely through whistling, and one of the girls says she wants to research whistling language for her report. Hey, look, it's bedtime!

So this morning I fire up www.boingboing.net and find a link to this article.

"No one knows how long the shepherds on the island of La Gomera have used the rare whistled language called the Silbo Gomero, but American and Spanish researchers said on Wednesday that the brain processes it like a spoken language."

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=857&ncid=757&e=10&u=/nm/20050105 /od_uk_nm/oukoe_science_language

So, Jeff, we're pulling in from the chaos now.
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Lou Anders
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 04:50 pm:   

...and I've just had my first synchronicity to spawn from this thread. This morning, I heard (also on boingboing) that the first images for the animated PKD adaption of Through A Scanner Darkly were up on AIC. So, I go there, then to IMDB to see who'd doing the film. It turns out its Linklater, who's now on to Bad News Bears. Then I call a buddy of mine in LA, who I haven't talked to in months, and it turns out he's working on Bad News Bears right now. Not a huge synchroniticy, but a huge mess of coincidence in the span of a few hours.
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 05:21 pm:   

PKD is a synchronicity attractor.

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