Consonance and Confluence
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Consonance and Confluence • Posted: Sep 02, 2010 13:55:30Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

It's interesting to note how much magical thinking is still so often a part of our lives. By "magical thinking" I mean the presumption that there is a meaningful substantive connection between two things whenever they occur in proximity to each other. For instance, depict an attractive lady beside a shiny new computer and one might imagine owning that computer would precipitate just such an attractive lady into one's life. There is no rational reason to believe in such a "magical" connection, but people do nonetheless.

Scientists take special interest in concurrent events and mathematically measure them using statistical correlation, degrees of confidence, and estimates of significance. But, scientists are also extremely cautious with their explanations as to what the linkages they discover mean. Is there really a cause and effect relationship? Or is the relationship something else, the result of independent but parallel processes, perhaps, as with hair and nails? Both grow, but neither is the cause of the other. However, most of us are not scientists and most of us fail miserably at discerning true cause and effect from mere coincidence. And as a consequence we live behind numerous walls of superstition and prejudice based on magical thinking, not scientifically demonstrated fact.

There are other aspects to magical thinking too. Take the aspects of language: rhythm, rhyme, and melody. How many times have we been convinced of the truth of something solely because of the mesmerizing magic by which it is presented, say in song or jingle, rap or compelling poem. That something has consonance with other things that we value or hold to be true, in other words that it "sounds like" it belongs or fits with something we already know or believe, then we are very often willing to adopt it as also true when, in fact, it may not be.

Another form of magical thinking is misapprehending confluence. Flowing water picks up all kinds of junk. The more momentum an idea develops, the more misinformation and distortion begin to come along for the ride. We are sometimes tricked by the confluence of ideas, words, and events into believing that they can and should be equally believed, when if we actually took the time to examine them separately we'd see that they shouldn't. The tragedy of panic is the result of misapprehending confluence.

On the other hand, there are times when we are fully justified in noting elaborately developed consonance and confluence and wondering at the underlying magic of it all.

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
7.4 mm 35 mm
1/80 sec
f 2.8