Probabilities, Science and Math – Living in the “elbow of the curve”

The title drew me to David J. Hand’s book: The Improbability Principle, Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day.  I love looking for coincidences; call them signs – they inform my worldview and actions I take – put together with math, even better.  This book is about statistics, math; probabilities!  My fascination with these subjects started a few years ago when I stumbled across an article about Ray Kurzweil and the elbow of the curve on Ari Einbinder’s Blog – Real Clever Science.

elbow of the curveEinbinder explains that in Kurzweil’s book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, he “..talks a lot about technology’s rate of increase, which is exponential. An exponential curve starts off rather level but when it starts to noticeably turn upward it quickly does so and shoots off the top of the chart. But that little bend where the increase begins – that’s the year 2010. As Kurzweil emphasizes, “we’re in the elbow of the curve.”  (Check out Einbinder’s site for an interesting analogy about chess and grains of rice.)

Science, technology – math!  Fascinating – Exciting – Astonishing!  But science has little room for myths, legends or fables – not even Jung’s synchronicity.  Hand points out that the “Law of Inevitability,” the “Law of Truly Large Numbers” – and how our brains work with the “Law of Near Enough” – tell me anything is possible/ probable!  They can explain my “signs.”

Definitely appreciate the point Hand makes about “the normal distribution” (aka the bell curve) when he says it “doesn’t actually exist in nature.”  I’ve been telling people at my company that FOR YEARS, especially when they pigeon hole us during our annual reviews.  Still – something is missing.  Where is purpose?  Where is meaning?

I find the “Integral” theories advocated by Ken Wilbur more compelling.  These theories don’t discount folklore, traditions and faith – nor do they discount science.  Wilbur takes an integrative approach, including, enveloping and transcending.  Today is steeped in history; we transform and morph as we learn and grow to new levels of understanding.  Tomorrow we will ride the elbow of the curve – taking the best, leaving the rest.

My ride?  Includes signs & science – intent on giving today’s reality a thumping.

“The more attention you put on coincidences and the more you inquire into their significance, the more often the coincidences occur and the more clearly their meaning comes into view.”

– Deepak Chopra, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire

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