RE: [gthomas] Moments of Truth
- Regarding synchronicity, I work on compilers, which are computer
programs that translate programming languages, such as FORTRAN or
C or C++ into machine language. These programs are themselves
written in a programming language and so are used to compile themselves.
(Sorry for the long technical explanation -- I'm getting to the point
soon). Now, the C compiler is written in C. A new version is compiled
with an old version of the compiler. Then we recompile it with the
new version we just compiled. Then, we do it again, and make sure
this third generation of compilations is identical to the second
generation. The new compiler compiled with the old compiler should
generate the same results as the new compiler compiled with
itself. However, if the new compiler has a bug, it might generate
incorrect code for some portion of itself, causing the new compiler
compiled with itself to behave differently than the new compiler compiled
with the old compiler. More often than is reasonable, the module it
generates incorrect code for is the module that has the bug that
caused the incorrect code to be generated in the first place. This
happens so often its downright spooky.
- joseph baxter wrote:
> At 09:31 AM 10/1/2000 , you wrote:Joe/Jim
> >If you are willing to actually accept synchronicity as real I suppose it
> >could exist. The problem with synchronicity is that it is purportedly
> >"acausal". It is very difficult to reject the laws of cause & effect which
> >are required by science & the scientific method.
> Jung called it acausal, but I don't see that as part of the necessary
> explanation. As you put it, it is difficult to reject cause and effect. So
> it could be that two things happening at the same time are the effects of
> causes. By way of example only, one could argue that both efffects are
> sympathetic responses to something larger, as opposed to one being the
> cause of the other. I believe that Jung himself meant something like this.
Excuse me for butting in, but it seems to me this 'synchroneity' business poses
something of a dilemma for the historian. No one trying to do history from
primary sources can accept the kind of seemingly meaningful coincidences being
discussed without exhaustively eliminating all possibility of causal
connection. If he does not hesitate to entertain the idea of simple coincidence
he will never learn anything about his subject from his documents except what
their writers want him to think.
Coincidences happen. But some cannot be swallowed. I keep thinking of
Jesus bar Ananias. According to Josephus (Jewish War.VI.300ff) this character
was a peasant, a posessesed lunatic who, some four years before the war began,
created an incident in the temple by repeating the words of his 'voices' at the
Feast of Booths: "... a voice against Jerusalem and the temple (NAOS), a voice
against bridegroom and bride, a voice against all the people" and carried these
cries into the streets. "Woe to Jerusalem" he kept repeating. He was chastised
first by 'leading citizens' and finally brought before the Roman governor and,
when he refused to identify or defend himself, he was scourged 'to the bone.'
Woe to Jerusalem.' he said. But he recovered and continued repeating his dire
prophecies until he was finally killed by a ballista bolt during the last weeks
of the siege in 70 AD.
A total coincidence that a peasant named Jesus, thought to be crazy, speaking
with the voice of a spirit, was involved in a temple incident, predicted the
fall of city and temple before the war, was finally hauled before the Roman
governor, refused to say who he was or defend himself, and was severely scourged
-all a few months before Mark composed his tale--??? Some say so. But I smell
fish, a barrelful. Else I am no historian.
But I am nowhere near accepting as explanation the theory, currently being
mentioned favorably by some on the Xtalk list, that Jesus, as Mark portrays him,
was a Markan midrashic creation. (Partly based on an oral memory of Jesus
What, then? The best I am able to come up with is that there *was* a lunatic
Jesus Ananias who prophesied the destruction of the city, but probably after the
siege began, and that he thereby got himself in somekind of trouble with the
authorities and thus left a trace in the documents that Josephus worked with.
(So far, an acceptable mass of coincidence; one can easily imagine kooks such
as this in Jerusalem under siege and Jesus was a very common name; Josephus
alone deals with some 20 Jesuses)
But it was not enough by itself for a good Josephan story. (And they *were* all
*very* good stories) By most accounts, I think, Josephus wrote 'War' in the
80s. About 10 years after Mark wrote 2G. I suspect that Josephus had a copy of
Mark's gospel in his library (or its predecessor PN), recognized the real
parallels, and copied the rest to
flesh out his story. If this is true, the real historical value of the Jesus
Ananias 'coincidence mass' lies in the fact that Josephus had access to Mark
before he wrote 'Antiquities' and the passages lying behind the Testimonium
Flavianum. Etc. Etc.
I love a mass coincidence in primary texts. As another Mark wrote about
"It yields such wholesale returns of conjecture out of a trifling investment
From *Life on the Mississippi*
Best wishes, Odell
Prof. Geology Em., W&L