Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Synchronity, science and Fringe 3-17

The third season of Fringe is currently running in local TV in Hong Kong. Yesterday was episode 17 stowaway. The storyline runs like this: "The Fringe team tracks down an apparently immortal woman, Dana with the help of an FBI agent, Lincoln Lee. Walter and Bell believe the immortality may be due to Dana having been struck by lightning twice before. They find that Dana is attempting to connect to the souls of suicidal people, hoping that she can die with them and "stowaway" with their soul to heaven to rejoin those of her family that were killed in a burglary attempt. They are able to prevent Dana from using a bomb set to destroy a commuter train. Instead, when she leaves the train with the bomb, the bomb explodes and she finally dies."

"Why she died" was the issue discussed, and the concept of synchronicity was raised. I am actually delighted to see this concept entering the mass-market domain, and...a church bell ran after a mythical/theological comment by Olivia that reminded me of the banging sound Jung and Freud vehemently disagreed on the subject of mind influencing matter!

Fringe script-writer certainly got the concept of synchronicity correct, well, in contrast to some intellectual/deep meditation practitioners who got in wrong as shown by their fervent arguments and efforts to demonstrate the concept scientifically.

What is science and how is science related to this matter? In doing statistical analysis, one of the most important tools is analysis-of-variance, which essentially try to show whether or not one can disprove that two samples are from the same population. Or in more layman terms, are these two samples correlated?

Correlation can mean cause and effect or meaning both are influenced by the same ultimate cause. These further analysis to those ends will be outside statistical analysis proper, or at least more research or studies need to be done.

Since the concept of synchronicity doesn't postulate a cause and an effect, it can only mean there is some outside sources of influence. In the human issues that we are interested in, like those in the fringe episode, would presumably mean: some kind of Divine Intervention, no matter how one defines it operationally.

Going back to Fringe, the issue is why in previous cases, the suicidal persons died whereas Dana survived, whereas in the final case, all passengers on the train survived whereas Dana died? The mythical postulation of Olivia was indeed Divine Intervention: all the previous happening was planned for Dana to save the passengers on the train. If the Divine wants to influence anything, HE (or SHE) can only do it through the psyche of a human being (that is the classical Jungian approach, of course the drama Fringe dramatized it a bit, for obvious reason, in making Dana survived many suicidal attempts: defying all scientific thinking - except "science" as defined by Fringe scientific guru Walter!)  How about the Church bell? A synchronicity explanation would be that Olivier was made to present her mythical explanation right BEFORE the Church bell is going to ring (on the assumption that the Divine is all-knowing)!

To enrich the case more, Olivier was made to shake a bit after her mythical remarks, as if she came out from being possessed (by whoever), as if she had been expressing a revelation, presumably from the Divine!

An ordinary TV drama turned out to be quite interesting!

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