An apparently random thought (?) can create a coincidence.
A few months ago (2003) I was at work. My mind was on my work when 'thought words' occurred: Arthur C. Compton. The name spontaneously emerged into my thought, for no reason. Immediately I stopped what I was doing and entered the name into the Search window. The impulse seemed to be part of the thought words, I didn't hesitate. I did a search on the Internet for 'Arthur C. Compton' and got a direct link to a web document. It was a copy of a letter written in 1942 labeled "Letter: Arthur C. Compton to Enrico Fermi, September 14, 1942." I read the letter through. http://www.osti.gov/accomplishments/documents/fullText/ACC0038.pdf
Then I realized the name Arthur C. Compton was not the right name. It occurred to me that the correct name of the man I knew about was 'Arthur H. Compton', not 'Arthur C. Compton. When I looked at the document I saw that the letter had been scanned apparently and the scanner had misread a parenthesis symbol as letter C. But I had to wonder why the name, the wrong name wafted into my thought that morning and that puzzled me very much.
This is only one member of a string of events. Some context is this:
In 1989, I had decided to verify what the major news had been on the day, month and year I was born, 1-02-1932. I'd gotten a printout of the news on the day, month and year I was born one day in 1989 when I was in Chicago visiting the Museum of Science and Industry. Newstories of 1932 What caught my eye on the printout was that discoveries related to quantum physics as well as the discovery of the function of neurons in the brain were awarded Nobel Prizes that year.
Another reason was that I had read several books by then, Paul Davies Other Worlds; David Bohm's Wholeness and the Implicate Order to name only a couple of the first ones I'd read. These are books about quantum physics. I'd also read Presence of Other Worlds by Wilson van Dusen, a psychologist who introduced me to psychology and other ideas that were new to me, even though I was 57 years old! I'd felt compelled to read non-fictions that came to my attention. What unusual books to find myself almost forced by a compulsion to read! I'd spent a very unusual day at the Museum of Science and Industry. The printout made me curious enough to want to see if it was true. I went to the University of Washington to look at microfiche archives and found nothing of interest for 1-02-1932 in the Chicago Sunday Tribune. As I was leaving, a thought occurred to me that the news is a day late so I read the 1-03-1932 newspaper. On the front page was a lengthy article about Arthur H. (Holly) Compton and his work with gamma rays! The subtitle of the article was intriguing: "Flaw found in material formula" Obviously the formula was Einstein's equation. E = mc2^ This link leads to the article I read but I suggest reading them later: News of 1-02-1932 The last paragraph was intriguing:
"In the psychological field, I feel that the things that are accounted for by physical means represent only a limited portion of reality, that they fail to account for the fact that men individually and collectively achieve human motives.". It seems that some degree of uncertainty, such as the physicist has recently found, is necessary if non-physical things, as for example, thoughts and motives, are to have any relation to the physical world. Without this flexibility in physical law, it is doubtful whether there could be an organic evolution with its incessant struggle for life. It is, in short only, because the world in a physical sense is not wholly, reliable that it can have any human meaning."
But how could that mistake explain the spontaneous words and immediate response in actions in my life, in 2003?
Quite clearly I remembered that it was not Arthur C. Compton I'd read about in the newspaper the name was Arthur H. (Holly) Compton. Yet the name, Arthur C. Compton had occurred into my thought then I'd stopped what I was doing without hesitation and typed the 'thought name' automatically! It seemed very strange that with wrong information I had gotten a response. I re-read the copy of the letter and saw an error had been made in the signature. Enrico Fermi had received it from Arthur C(ompton) and whoever labeled the letter had made a mistake. (There's a link to that letter above.)
What caused the name to appear suddenly into my thought interrupting my work? What caused me to immediately type the words into an Internet search window? I had no answers to those questions.
But the same day: I went to the post office to get some stamps. The clerk says: "We have some very nice new Enrico Fermi Stamps, would you like to try them? I bought several Fermi stamps. I still have them. Later that evening I read an article in the newspaper that briefly mentioned Enrico Fermi.
How would a post-office clerk 'know' to suggest that particular stamp from a drawer that was full of other stamps? She asked if I wanted to try some new stamps and mentioned Enrico Fermi for no reason?
The meaning of this event carries some significant information, but what is it? If it was not to illustrate that all of my mental 'eruptions' are not my own, what other reason could there be? The fact that as soon as the name occurred into my thought and I acted without hesitation is what I puzzled about, later. Then I remembered a few other instances when a thought had occurred spontaneously into my mind and without hesitation I'd done something. Were those events retrieved and displayed on their string, the string was created but not by my own will? Did I 'think' or was I the recipient of a string of memories that were significant?
That I had no reason to 'think' Arthur C. Compton seemed to have some significance to me because by then I'd read several books authored by current authors, Paul Davies, David Bohm, Eugene Mallove. Joseph Chilton Pearce's The Bond of Power seemed especially compelling to someone like me because he had been extremely influenced as I'd been by Arthur C. Clarkes' Childhoods End and William Blake. Also I had an interest in the concept of the 'postulate arrived full blown in the mind' which was one major theme in that book. But he also wrote about autism, folie aux duex and I had passionate reasons to be interested in those ideas also, in my personal life. This had been a radical change of reading material for me. I'd read fictions, rarely anything but fictions.
The printout introduced me to the idea that I could calculate the number of days I'd lived, that had never occurred to me. Also I noticed that the day May 18, 1989 was exactly 9 years after Mt. St. Helens exploded near where I lived. I had begun to see my own inner content reflected literally in an almost invisible 're-play/reflection/echo' in my very much changed mind.
A couple of quotations by Arthur Holly Compton: "Every great discovery I ever made, I gambled that the
truth was there, and then I acted in faith until I could prove its existence."
"It is not difficult for me to have this faith, for it is incontrovertible that where there is a plan there is intelligence - an orderly, unfolding universe testifies to the truth of the most majestic statement ever uttered - 'In the beginning, God.' "