improbable concurrence or near-concurrence of seemingly related events or circumstances that have no causal relation

A Coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances that have no apparent causal connection with one another. The perception of remarkable coincidences may lead to supernatural, occult, or paranormal claims. Or it may lead to belief in fatalism, which is a doctrine that events will happen in the exact manner of a predetermined plan.

Quotes edit

  • People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence. They are far too ready to dismiss it and to build arcane structures of extremely rickety substance in order to avoid it. I, on the other hand, see coincidence everywhere as an inevitable consequence of the laws of probability, according to which having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be.
    • Isaac Asimov, "The Planet that Wasn't" originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (May 1975)
  • A “strange coincidence,” to use a phrase
    By which such things are settled nowadays.
    • George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824), British poet. Don Juan. Canto vi. Stanza 78
  • This is just too much of a coincidence to be coincidence.
  • “It was a coincidence.”
    “I don’t believe in coincidences.”
    “Neither do I. That’s a coincidence, isn’t it?”
  • My liveliest interest is not so much in things, as in relations of things. I have spent much time thinking about the alleged pseudo-relations that are called coincidences. What if some of them should not be coincidences? My liveliest interest is not so much in things, as in relations of things. I have spent much time thinking about the alleged pseudo-relations that are called coincidences. What if some of them should not be coincidences?
  • By the laws of statistics we could probably approximate just how unlikely it is that it would happen. But people forget—especially those who ought to know better, such as yourself—that while the laws of statistics tell you how unlikely a particular coincidence is, they state just as firmly that coincidences do happen.
  • Coincidence may be described as the chance encounter of two unrelated causal chains which — miraculously, it seems — merge into a significant event.
    • Arthur Koestler (1905–1983), Hungarian-born British author. “Janus: A Summing Up”, Bricks to Babel: Selected Writings, with Comments by the Author (1980)
  • Coincidence is a pimp and a cardsharper in ordinary fiction but a marvelous artist in the patterns of facts recollected by a non-ordinary memorist.
    • Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977), Russian émigré American novelist and poet. Look at the Harlequins! Pt. VI, Ch. 1 (1974)
  • If Tom had learned anything, it was that you can't ascribe great cosmic significance to a simple Earthly event. Coincidence, that's all anything ever is. Nothing more, than coincidence. Tom had finally learned there are no miracles, there is no such thing as fate, nothing is meant to be. He knew, he was sure of it now. Tom was.. he was pretty sure.
  • Most coincidences are simply chance events that turn out to be far more probable than many people imagine.
    • Ivars Peterson (1997). The Jungles of Randomness. John Wiley & Sons. p. 188. ISBN 0-471-29587-6. 
  • It is no great wonder if in long process of time, while fortune takes her course hither and thither, numerous coincidences should spontaneously occur.
    • Plutarch, Parallel Lives, vol. II, "Sertorius"
  • The First Insight occurs when we become conscious of the coincidences in our lives... Coincidences are happening more and more frequently and that, when they do, they strike us as beyond what would be expected by pure chance... They feel destined, as though our lives had been guided by some unexplained force. The experience induces a feeling of mystery and excitement and, as a result, we feel more alive.... More people every day are convinced that this mysterious movement is real and that it means something, that something else is going on beneath everyday life. This awareness is the First Insight... a reconsideration of the inherent mystery that surrounds our individual lives on this planet. We are experiencing these mysterious coincidences, and even though we don't understand them yet, we know they are real. We are sensing again, as in childhood, that there is another side of life that we have yet to discover, some other process operating behind the scenes. p. 8
  • The laws of probability not only permit coincidences; they absolutely insist on them.
  • In a world that operates largely at random, coincidences are to be expected, but any one of them must always be mistrusted.
  • I have told you before there is no escaping the nature of the universe. it is that nature that has again brought you to me. Where some see 'coincidence', I see 'consequence'. Where others see 'chance', I see 'cost'.
  • “Fifty-nine,” Mr. Mowen said. “That’s too many coincidences to just be a coincidence.”

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