When I was in high school, I had a crush on a fellow student that happened to live in room 23 of her dormitory. It wasn’t too long before I found out indirectly that she actually had less than no interest in me and so I didn’t attempt to pursue any kind of relationship with her — I just didn’t want to get hurt. Not long after these events, however, I began noticing that the number 23 was popping up everywhere. I would notice it on a box of cereal, or a page in a library book would be dogeared to that exact page. What a coincidence, I thought, that I had recently had a crush on a girl who lived in room 23 and now the number seemed to be following me everywhere I went.
I had a surprising experience thrust upon me this week at my place of work, leading me to see the possibilities for the future of teaching. It happens that this week I have been also looking for a partner with whom I can study advanced topics in Jewish study — better to study that sort of thing with someone than to be left to ones own devices and just interpret things however one wants. Since I know that there is no such thing as coincidence, I was pleasantly amused when I found myself in the role of the teacher this week.
There is no such thing as a coincidence. If it’s raining outside and you have water dripping from the ceiling in your upstairs bathroom, your first thought shouldn’t be a leaky pipe.
It’s funny, though, how many people will say in that situation:
“Gosh, isn’t a coincidence it’s raining and our pipes are leaking?”
Another example: “Gosh, isn’t it a coincidence the sun is burning my skin today more than ever on the same day North Korea launched a nuclear missile?”
A final example: “Gosh, isn’t it a coincidence my best friend is three months pregnant three months after my husband started taking Viagra?”
Why is it human nature to need to invent the most complicated rationale for the simplest cause and effect?