September 19, 2005



1.When we see coincidences as meaningful what we are really saying that there is some sense to life, that everything is not just chaos, that seemingly random similarities between parallel events open up a door in what is known through which it might just be possible to glimpse that which we will never know. And so I made a kind of quiet resolution: to follow the coincidences that life presented me and see where they might lead.

Milan Kundera has an essay about the six different kinds of coincidences that can be employed in the contemporary novel. I can't remember what these six are exactly but this half-remembered inventory makes me think that coincidence helps us form stories about our lives and without stories we are lost. But these stories must be open and flexible or they will bury us. And coincidences, because they are unexpected and out of the ordinary, help us open up our stories again and give us a taste of how perhaps anything is possible.

The problem with following coincidences is a problem of interpretation. When a coincidence occurs in which direction should I follow it, how am I to understand what it means? For that matter, even if a certain interpretation presents itself as obvious and clear that doesn’t necessarily suggest some specific decision. Action remains on the periphery of the phenomena.

In what ways is it still possible to use words such as fate or fortune now that science has made them archaic? But I almost drifted backwards into semantics. Fate and fortune still exist, whether or not we have words to describe them.


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