Bernard D. Beitman, M.D., went to Yale Medical School and did his psychiatric residency at Stanford. He is visiting professor at the University of Virginia in the department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences and is the former Chair of the department of Psychiatry at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has edited two issues of Psychiatric Annals that focus on coincidences, authored the book Connecting with Coincidence and is founder of the new interdisciplinary field of Coincidence Studies. He has a radio show, a Psychology Today blog, a website and Facebook page all called “Connecting with Coincidence.
Bernard D. Beitman, M.D.
IRVA 2018 – Connecting with Coincidence: From Protoscience to Life Coach
Coincidences are defined as surprising intersections of two or more events with no apparent causal explanation. My research strongly indicates that coincidences commonly occur in the lives of a majority of people and can be useful in many ways. My interest began as a boy looking for his lost dog and was further substantiated by a simultaneous choking at a distance of 3000 miles between my father and me.
In an effort to organize this chaotic field, I have begun to establish the new discipline of Coincidence Studies. The first step is developing a taxonomy which includes description, themes, explanations and uses.
Description involves 2 variables: mind and thing yielding 3 categories: mind-thing (thought and object), mind-mind (subjective parallels) and thing-thing (a series of two or more observables).
Themes include: doing something out of the ordinary, help somehow arrives, context reflects a psychological conflict, the weird lost and found department, animals and plants comfort, the machine starts or stops, and intuition leads the way.
Explanations include: probability, conventional causes (subconscious motivation), concordance, collective consciousness (e.g. simultaneous discoveries), psi, quantum mechanics, complexity theory and mystery (God, Universe). Coincidence groups vary in their explanations.
Uses include: confirmation of a decision, providing opportunities (romance, work, creativity, money, health, spiritual development), aesthetic experiences, psychological change, and stimulating interest in coincidences.
Some coincidences provide everyday experiences that indicate human potentials beyond the restrictive concepts of materialistic science. Some people experience telepathic and clairvoyant events which they call coincidences. The study of coincidences offers an additional lever to expand acceptance of psi by the general population.