“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone,
“it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
– Through the Looking Glass
I must not be in my masterful mode today. I think synchronicity is the word I want, but lose my nerve and look up the definition. Always a mistake.
Synchronicity is a concept developed by psychologist Carl Jung
to describe a perceived meaningful coincidence.
– Tech Target
Dagnab it. That’s not exactly it. I’m not perceiving any meaningfulness in this coincidence — I get that what’s going on is happening in me, not in the outside world — I’m just taking meaning from it for me.
So I dare the rabbit hole and try Google’s reverse word-look-up feature: What word means “taking meaning from repeated coincidental events”?
Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon
where one stumbles upon some obscure piece of information
—often an unfamiliar word or name—
and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly.
– Damn Interesting
But that’s not exactly it either. I’m definitely encountering the same subject again, but it’s not exactly obscure content, wouldn’t you agree?
Oh. Sorry. You really have no idea what I’m on about, do you? Let me ‘splain.
Seth Godin’s blog this week included a fabulous piece repurposing the “garbage in, garbage out” rule.
It’s one thing to make a sports car
that runs beautifully on smooth roads, perfect tires and premium gas,
but it’s a triumph of engineering to make one that runs beautifully all the time.
– Avoiding the GIGO trap
His proposed new mantra?
Garbage in, gorgeous out.
And look what I already had on my desktop! (If you’re not a Christian or even not much of anything, don’t be put off by the Jesus talk: You don’t have to believe in Jesus to have this knock your socks off.)
What Jesus did in his passion and death
was to transform bitterness and division
rather than to retransmit them and give them back in kind:
He took in hatred . . . and gave back love.
He took in bitterness . . . and gave back graciousness.
He took in curses . . . and gave back blessing.
He took in paranoia . . . and gave back big-heartedness.
He took in murder . . . and gave back forgiveness.
– Ron Rolheiser (edited for length; read the whole thing here)
Now if that isn’t “garbage in, gorgeous out,” I’m my Aunt Matilda. And I don’t have an Aunt Matilda.
But I’m still looking for the right word for my experience of linking these two inputs, so I scan down the search results.
the faculty or phenomenon
of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for
– Merriam Webster
Now that’s nice: emphasizing the delight in unexpectedly finding something valuable, reinforced by finding it in more than one place. OK, I may have added a few bits to the strict definition, but I’m feeling more masterful by the moment.
Anyway, maybe it wasn’t entirely “not sought for.” Maybe I was searching. Because as soon as I linked the first two, my subconscious offered me a third.
Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better.
– Paul McCartney
So there it is: however phrased, however framed, definitely a valuable thing.