Apophenia is one of my favourite bugs in the human mind.
It describes the way we will so eagerly find patterns or connections in random noise.
Every day, countless random things happen, and a few of them, by chance, repate to other things, and our brain will tell us, “Oh, this is interesting! maybe it’s a sign? maybe it means something? Is the universe trying to tell me something?
No! Of course not. Of the billion things that happen, you are only paying attention to the few that mean something.
Getting dealt a 10 of clubs, king of diamonds, 8 of clubs, 7 of hearts, ace of hearts is just as unlikely as getting dealt a royal flush, but it doesn’t mean anything, so we ignore it.
Sometimes, you don’t have all the information, and you think you see something, but when you go back and get a clearer picture, you realize that you were just seeing things wrongly the first time around; it’s nothing.
Even though I understand what’s going on, I still feel it, and get excited by apophenia.
I had quite the strong case of it the other day; I was sitting in a fancy lobby, waiting to negotiate a new gallery contract.
I was thinking about how well my last show went; how big the turnout was, and how cool it was that Claire Danes, the actress, popped in to the gallery for a few seconds during the opening. My first celebrity spotting at an art show!
As I’m sitting in that lobby, waiting for the gallery owner to come in, I look at the magazine on the coffee table.
Who’s on the cover?
“It must be a sign!” -nope, no, it’s just apophenia.
I still signed with the gallery, though, you know…just in case…