So myself and a few friends are sitting in The Red Lion garden, ribbing each other in the way guys do over a few beers. One of us has just got back from France with his girlfriend so he pulls out his Mac iBook from his bag and plonks it on the table. In screensaver mode, photos from his holiday begin to fade from the near distance and onto the screen in a random size and position of the screen. As this neat piece of technology is quietly humming away he is pointing out who was who and where was where and we were gently taking the mick here and there and enjoying the sun and English ale.

This has been going on for twenty minutes, maybe half an hour. We’re quite animated by now, laughing and being boisterous when an unexpected picture of our friend’s girlfriend (in her tight little pink knickers) appears on the screen. This is funny. We have a laugh about it, he half-jokingly, half-bashfully covers the picture with his hands. The screensaver goes on. After another minute or so one of us points out how funny it is that none of the other pictures, fading in from the near distance as though being thrown onto a table, have covered the picture of our friend’s girlfriend’s pink butt. Again our friend tries to cover the picture with his hands. More photos arrive, but frame this one picture perfectly. More and more and more, completely randomly, fall onto the screen but leaving this one picture untouched.

We’re finding this amusing now.

“This,” I say, “is an example of the intelligence of randomness.”

“Something somewhere,” I say to my friend who owns the laptop, “is messing with you.”

We laugh at this.

Still the pictures refuse to cover the picture of his girlfriend’s arse. We’re laughing more now. Eventually he says “right, that’s enough of that,” and as he reaches for the laptop off button, another – larger – version of the butt picture appears. Then another. And as our friend is fumbling for the off switch, finally another of the same picture of his girlfriend’s arse (once again, larger than the last until it filled half or more of the screen) appeared, as though in a last ditch attempt to humiliate our friend as much as possible with the weapon at hand.

Until eventually, in a slight panic, the machine is offed.

We thought this was hilarious. At the same time, this is a typical example of a seeming connection between supposedly random events and consciousness. I’ve seen it many, many times. It was almost as though

a/ something, somewhere, knew how embarassing this was for our friend and was – in good humour – making the photos fall in this way and eventually choosing the same one three times in a row, each one larger than the next, before our friend could get the machine off.

b/ that somehow our collective conscious was affecting the ‘random’ selection and location of the photographs.

Of course, one would normally chalk it up as mere coincidence. An amusing set of coincidences. But what is anything, really, but a set of coincidences? Our brains are chemical storms little different to the skies that hang above our heads. A functioning household has seperate organs that work together, much in the same way that our bodies do. What is it that makes us, our supposed ‘consciousness’, so unique from any process – be it chemical, biological, physical (all of which are principally the same) – present, to our knowledge, in the universe? Where does ‘I’ begin and end? Where does ‘we’ peter out into the big ‘out there’?

As I’ve said, I’ve experienced these things before: I’ll document them, and any new ones as they occur, on this blog. Maybe you have, too? Are they just coincidences? And even if they are, what is the definition of a coincidence? What is the difference between any coincidence (or co-incidence) and another? Darwin would have us believe that evolution was a random process resulting in consciousness, didn’t he? And we humans are late comers to the show…

Is something try to make contact? Is this entity, whatever it is, if anything, in some way more deeply connected with our lives than we presently understand?

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