Thursday, 30 July 2015

What is the difference between coincidence and precognition?

ClockRecently, I reported (here) an apparent example of precognition that I witnessed. It involved a misperceived sighting of a market stall. Just such a stall appeared in the same place, and to my complete surprise, the following day. Though you could make a case for the incident being an example of precognition, it somehow felt more like a coincidence to me. That got me thinking, what exactly makes a convincing precognition?

it is difficult to distinguish a rare coincidence from precognition. I'm, therefore, going to refer to such incidents as examples of PPRC - 'possible precognition or rare coincidence'. I can't find, after some admittedly cursory online research, the difference between a coincidence and precognition. If anyone knows of any definitive source on this subject, please let me know.

I suspect there is no fixed divide between coincidence and precognition. A detailed description of a future event would obviously be more impressive than something vague or ambiguous. The likelihood of the event being predicted might also be considered important. Of course, there may be NO way to reliably distinguish a single incident of precognition from a coincidence. But if one person repeatedly correctly predicted unlikely future events, precognition would be considered likely.

So what did I think would have made my 'market stall' precognition more convincing? I think it depends if the event is life-changing. It is unlikely that knowing where a market stall will be in advance would change a life. In contrast, most widely-reported precognitions concern future events that have a significant effect, good or bad, on people's lives. So, suppose instead of misperceiving a market stall, I'd misperceived a sign with a strange name on it. And suppose the name turned out to be that of a race horse I'd never heard of. And suppose it raced the next day and won. And suppose I'd bet on that horse. I think many people, in those circumstances, might put a high stake on such a horse because it would 'feel' like precognition. But if the horse lost, it migh feel more like coincidence.

So, I wonder if there are many more PPRCs going on ever notice. If they accurately foreshadow mundane events we may just dismiss them as mere coincidence. But even the life-changing precognitions may still be coincidence. So what IS the difference between precognition and coincidence?

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