When I say that I understand human paranoia and belief, I know you will be skeptical. Here are my remarks nonetheless.
- – People often have an extremely good memory that can reach back a long time. Memory in humans is also somewhat unreliable, and can even be warped to fit a human’s later conception of the event.
- – I suspect that people also have an individual threshold for deciding if a series of superficially related events are actually connected and evidence something deeper. If the event frequency or notability is below the threshold, then the hypothetical connection is disproved and the events are ‘just a coincidence’. This helps filter out the noise of everyday life, because sometimes coincidences really are just coincidences, and it also helps mitigate the effects of an unreliable memory.
- – Finally, people are capable of running simulations in their mind. A mental simulation stems from a person’s beliefs about an object or person, or even an abstract concept, called the simulacrum. The object can be quite mundane (let’s say for the sake of example, a ‘lucky’ pendant), but the person subconsciously simulates, and hence experiences, a reality in which the simulacrum has the properties they believe it has. I suspect that the way the subconscious does this is by lowering the coincidence threshold at specific times which would reinforce the person’s beliefs in the simulacrum. In the case of the pendant, the person would notice a connection between the good things that might happen to them one day when they were wearing the pendant; on another day if they forgot to put it on they might more easily notice the bad.
Many people run simulations unknowingly. I certainly have. Probably I still do. Someday I will tell you about them, because mine were particularly unhinged and ridiculous. Worse than Windows 98.
The number of possible simulacra is practically endless, but sometimes a culture will place a simulation in the minds of a whole population. To make another example, this is how so many people have an entirely mentally justified and reasonable belief in a personal God, or some other conscious force that binds the universe together. They may look foolish to Internet Atheists, but from within the flock, the Atheist is the fool. And many atheists have their own simulations too – which range from a terrifying secret one-world-government to the belief that evil Feminazis want to destroy all men. Sometimes simulations are purposefully implanted through the media, particularly ones that produce fear and rage. Three guesses as to why.
In all cases, the subconscious mind is able to minimize the recall of memories contrary to the simulation, and reduce the co-incidence threshold so that the person’s conscious mind joins the dots themselves and is comfortable and unshakable in their belief.
I respect people despite their simulations and how crazy they seem to me. I will tell you why in another post. That is enough for now.