Monday, May 23, 2016

Mind, Machine, and the Empathic Revolution: Manifesto for a New World

Free eBook from Aaron Garrison:


Like most revolutionaries, I have a dream: of genuine empathy between people -- as to truly see through someone else’s eyes, and discover all it can teach us.

Also in the revolutionary spirit, I have a manifesto, presented as the following essay.

Available as an eBook from the following vendors (for free, except at Amazon and Barnes & Noble):

Available as a print book, via PoD, from the following vendors:

Saturday, May 7, 2016

More Number-Fun

I've reported on my fun with numbers, certainly; and I've reported the newish, "combination-types" of these sort of incidents, too. Well, here's a little more of the latter.

This time, it involved bumper stickers.

First, I've been seeing numbers lately (which goes without saying, really, for the phenomenon hasn't stopped since it started, years ago). Second, the predominant repeats as of the last couple days have been 317, 144, and their variants (73, 14, 44, etcetera). Which brings us to the bumper stickers I got in the mail today.

The bumper stickers in question were for my websites, to be put on my newest vehicle, as to promote my little web-enterprise (the extent of my advertising, as it were). Upon opening up the mailer, however, I gave pause: there, staring up at me, were more my latest, most-popular numbers -- a whole cluster of them, at the bottom of the bumper stickers (their print numbers, I guess). I found this notable from the outset, due to the sheer amount of the repeats, and their total randomness, and their arrival precisely admidst a storm of these very numbers, lasting for days.

Though, what really made this incident blog-worthy was the underscore of irony, given that one of the stickers was for (drum-roll) (Another patternistic component of these incidents, as it so happens, such as when I experience book synchronicities while reading books about synchronicities ...)

But wait, there's more!

When I opened the scanned image in my photo editor, to crop it for this very blog post, I was met with yet another number-repeat, now in the scanned file's timestamp, as a Sundae-topping cherry of sorts.

Upon seeing the cluster of numbers on the bumper stickers, I'd smiled. Upon seeing the file's timestamp, I laughed (which, it felt, seemed to be the point of that little footnote, as if some force wasn't satisfied until getting that response ...).

Thursday, May 5, 2016

More Definitions

I've made several "definitions" posts, as to keep the world abreast on the latest types of synchronicities to ping my radar. And, as of a couple days ago, I now have a new one to define.

First, some preliminary definitions.

A "Compelling" -- when I am intuitively urged to do something, often of an illogical, unnatural, or seemingly counterproductive nature (but that turns out to be beneficial in the end). Example: when I was once Compelled to stay put in my car after parking, only a split second before a bicyclist stormed past my driver's side, from my blind spot, as to occupy the space that would've been filled by my door.

A "Repeat Number" -- when I repeatedly see a specific number (or its shuffled-up variants, such as 173 or 317 instead of 137), typically in improbable, provocative, or otherwise conspicuous ways. Example: encountering an overwhelming number of cars with license plates containing the repeating number, and in independent, unsought-out ways, as to establish an objective and validating factor to the incidents, thus ruling out subconscious bias like selective perception or subconscious suggestion (such as, for instance, randomly stopping to let a car pull in front of me, only to reveal its repeat-number-bearing license plate -- and, typically, many, many times within the course of a day, as to be astronomically unlikely).

A "Receipt Synchro" -- a variant of the Repeat Number, in which I will receive a receipt bearing a repeat-number, often in such a patternistic and conspicuous manner that, also, precludes some type of subjective or psychological bias. Example: randomly going into a store, without planning on it, and then buying an equally random and unplanned selection of goods, only to find the receipt riddled with the repeat-number du jour (and, typically, with other randomizing factors that make the appearance of the number even more unlikely, such as, say, buying a random piece of produce that weighs in at .173 pounds and, thus, ups the total to exactly $11.73, when I Just Happened to check out at exactly 1:37 PM, after Just Happening to get in a long line that held me up such that I would check out at exactly that time and not 1:38, all perhaps after being Compelled to go into the store in the first place -- etcetera).

A "Litter Synchro" -- when I randomly pick up a piece of litter, only to find it to be somehow synchronistic. Example: picking up some unused napkins to throw away, only to find myself developing a mysterious and spontaneous nosebleed just minutes later, to be plugged with the fortuitously found napkins (and, again, perhaps with some illogical and troublesome Compelling thrown in the mix, such as having to go out of my way to pick up the napkins, as happened with the nosebleed incident in question).

And, now, I introduce the newest addition to my synchronistic lexicon: the "Compelled, Number-Repeating, Receipt-Litter Synchro." (No, it's not a handy-dandy new gadget you can get for a limited time at only $199.95 if you call now!!!)

This incident was just as it sounds. While walking down a supermarket aisle, minding my own business, I was Compelled to go out of my way and pick up a stray piece of litter, which turned out to be a receipt. After a second Compelling (did I mention I was late for an appointment, and had absolutely no time for messing with litter?), I unfolded the receipt and read it over, only to be met with the predominant repeat-number for that day, 37. And then, a couple lines down, there was a 73. Then, another one.

On it's own? Yeah, it could've been chance. However, after the past precedent of the dozens upon dozens of prior incidents, all of similar pattern and nature ... unlikely. In any case, it was something of a synchronicity salad, I felt.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Good Day for a Duck (or, An Introduction to Animal Symbolism)

"Animal symbolism" is an old and complicated concept. It goes by many names ("animal totems," "power animals," "augury," "omens"), and is associated with any number of belief systems and traditions, with countless cultural and subjective spinoffs from each, all anywhere from closely similar to wildly different. So, when folks talk about "animal symbolism" and the like, there's no telling just what is being referred to, since the term covers as many hugely varying ideas as there are people to discuss them.

It is for these reasons that I have, until now, avoided the subject.

But, I can't anymore. These days, I've experienced it so much, and for so long now, that I've, first, determined that there is, beneath all the fluff and superstitions that have become attached to it over the millennia, indeed something to the idea (and with enough certainty to satisfy the relentlessly skeptical part of myself that I retain in order to ensure that I'm not deluding myself). And, second, I've just recently had several incidents that have been coherent and consistent enough to establish both a distinct definition and a pattern of action. Namely, my "animal symbolism" synchronicities will, typically, involve a series of notable, statistically unlikely, or otherwise conspicuous encounters with a given animal (or, alternately, with the underlying archetype of a specific "animal," such as, say, repeatedly seeing images of alligators, or signs reading "gators," or meeting several "gator-like" people, etc).

Case in point: the urban ducks.

This exemplary incident of animal symbolism spanned several days, earlier this month, beginning at a hotel on the outskirts of Charlotte, NC. The hotel was pretty ordinary, a middlebrow Best Western in a big plaza of middlebrow hotels, in a big strip of equally button-down medical offices and shipping warehouses and other industrial architecture, all alongside a bustling seven-lane highway. That is to say, this hotel was, in a word, urban, smack dab in the middle of your stereotypical concrete wasteland -- the last place you'd expect to meet any wildlife, much less a duck.

Yet, it was there that my first symbolic duck crops up.

Though, I didn't just see a duck in the vicinity of the hotel. No: the duck was directly in my path upon leaving the hotel, forcing me to take note lest I trip over the thing. As it were, I'd parked my car around the side of the hotel, in an odd, out-of-the-way spot in order to ease the loading of my stuff; and it was there that I encountered this first duck, waddling casually past my self-made parking space, the only other living thing in the area. So unexpected was the sight, I stopped and did a double-take, and then stopped a second time, looking around for a fountain or pond or an overturned duck-crating truck.

There were no ponds or fountains, though. Not that I saw.

(Here, I should note another, book-type-recurrence synchronicity that occurred in conjunction with this one: less than an hour after encountering this hotel-duck -- my first ever, as it were -- I read randomly in a book of a hotel with a resident duck, also in classical patternistic fashion.)

The next duck comes a few days later.

For this one, I'll summarize: another stray duck in an urban landscape where you'd not expect to see anything more than a roach, much less waterfowl. This time, the encounter occurred at a similarly urban-wasteland convenience store, and our meeting was even more conspicuous: as I was emerging from the store's jangling door after paying for gas, there was a mother duck, waddling down the sidewalk with her chicks, directly in my path. In fact, "directly" is, again, a poor description, for this cluster of ducks was right there, precisely as I emerged, dead center in front of me, once more forcing me to stop and give pause lest I trip over this creature.

Had someone been standing by with a duck-box, trying to time the duck's crossing with my exit from the store, they couldn't have done a better job.

The last duck appeared only the next day, as if to ensure my attention.

It was the same as the last two, and as conspicuous, except this time I was in my car, driving through a parking lot. The lot was big, and totally concrete, and every bit as urbanized and un-duck-friendly as the last two environments -- yet, there was a lone duck, in the midst of it all like the proverbial sore thumb, and waddling directly in the middle of the lane I was driving down. Again, I had to stop in my tracks, now to avoid running over my symbolic animal. There, in view of a busy Starbucks and a strip mall of shops and restaurants, I idled patiently in my car, watching this third duck-that-should-not-be ... be. (And, it bears mentioning: I'd felt Compelled to enter the parking lot from this way, against all reason and logic and convenience, passing up the prior entrance and, instead, pulling into one farther down, which forced me to cruise the length of the lot and, thus, encounter the third duck in my little trifecta.)

What's it all mean? That, unfortunately, is hard to say. However, after three conspicuous, patternistic, highly improbable duck encounters, all within a matter of days ... I find it unlikely that the local duck population has been conspiring against me.