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PostGary Moore Reflects on the WAIS Effect (John Eipper, USA, 01/13/20 3:40 am)
Gary Moore writes:
"The WAIS Effect" (Patrick Mears, January 8) is apt shorthand for the mysteries of serendipity/synchronicity, or "eerie coincidence." Carl Jung gave us the word "synchronicity," but Albertus Magnus, the academic star of medieval Paris and Cologne, pointed out an intentional element, though tricky. Albert noted elusive evidence that thoughts can affect the physical world to bring surprising results, but, he mused, the attempt to do this has to be connected to some strong emotion, if it is to work.
Not just in an age of medieval magic and alchemy, this genie has been bottled by "Think and Grow Rich" gurus ranging from Napoleon Hill to Rev. Joel (God wants you to be rich) Osteen in Houston. Like many a not-yet-ready-for-prime-time paradigm, awaiting its Copernicus, the subjective-reality-creation terra incognita engenders snake oil, sloshing right along with a towering reality nobody seems able to get down on paper. Mick Jagger might as well have been channeling Albertus: "You can't always get what you want, but if you try so hard, you get what you need."
But how does this relate to the startling coincidences noticed by Patrick Mears (and many of us)? Please contact info@not-yet-a-Copernicus-on-this.com. For me, the periods of bizarre coincidences can come in waves. Haven't seen any in a while right now. Is this good or bad? Am I being more realistic now--or less positively expectant? In my experience, the strong emotion that can lead to these mystery moments can be as simple as expectant elation. As they multiply--if the stars are right--I can almost get a sense of being able to cause them to happen more.
But look out! Start cogitating too rationally on the effort and the elational engine, perverse as the weather, can quickly go away--leaving you feeling like a fool for every having thought about such nonsense. Is this Lodi the Trickster, making fun of us (or the divine trickster Mantis of the Karoo, noted by José Manuel del Prada, WAIS Jan. 8)? Christianity has arguably shunned this mystery element so much that it rationalized it into tit-for-tat cause and effect. It's a punishment for Eve: We are tossed on impenetrable mysteries because God is mad at us.
But then the Trickster reappears... For a thousand years Ptolemaic astronomy was deemed unquestionable, buttressed by intricate calculations, real calculations, which all worked out. Almost. True, something in the Ptolemaic assurance that the sun spins around the earth seemed a tiny bit off in places. But surely this was just background static, soon to be dispelled. Even the liberator Galileo scoffed at any suggestion that magical-seeming invisible forces might cause the moon to pull the tides.
And so, in a world-engulfing soup of incantation, how to reach in and pull the real genie out?
JE comments: Awaiting its Copernicus: Gary, you've phrased it brilliantly. To shift gears, I have a naïve theology question about the so-called Prosperity Gospel. If you're a fundamentalist who calls for a literal reading of Scripture, how can you justify ignoring Christ's teachings on poverty and humility? Rich man, eye of the needle, et al.