Coincidences Come in Many Beautiful Varieties: Dr. Beitman Discusses

Coincidences video series part 1
By Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Times
March 7, 2016 Updated: March 7, 2016

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—Dr. Bernard Beitman, developer of Coincidence Studies, uses a forest metaphor to explain the importance of categorizing the different kinds of coincidences.

The world of coincidences is like a forest full of strange birds, trees, and flowers. Birds are one kind of coincidence, trees another, and flowers another. But the academic discourse on coincidences—limited as it’s been—often lumps all coincidences together. How could you say a bird is the same as a tree?

Beitman’s fascination with coincidences began when he was a child. “I was like a small boy who somehow found a tunnel into this strange forest,” he said. When he returned, he didn’t know how to talk to people about what he’d seen in the forest of coincidences. But he learned that, in general terms, most people had glimpsed that forest.

As a Yale- and Stanford-trained psychiatrist, Beitman started with Carl Jung’s term “synchronicity,” further defined serendipity, and added a new category of simulpathity. He taught his first course in Coincidence Studies the fall of 2015 as a visiting professor at the University of Virginia.

Synchronicity helps with psychological development. Serendipity helps get things to happen; it’s about “being in the right place at the right time,” getting what you need right when you need it. 

The third term Beitman discussed with Epoch Times is simulpathity. Beitman coined this term to describe feeling the distress of a loved one at a distance.

In his studies, approximately 1,000 respondents reported feeling the distress of someone at a distance. He said it’s a capability most people possess but don’t usually notice.

This is the first part in a series of videos with Dr. Beitman. Check here for all parts in the series: Coincidences Video Series

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