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The Roots of Coincidence [Paperback]

Arthur Koestler
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House Inc (P) (Sep 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394719344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394719344
  • Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 10.9 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 751,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest books I have ever read 17 Feb 2011
By Alonso
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have found Umberto Eco's books and philosophical insight's thought provoking, Arthur Koestler's "Roots of Coincidence" are the smart person's hitchhikers guide into Parapsychology.

Enjoy the book gracefully.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forges arguments for bringing parapsychology into the open 9 Jan 2004
By loce_the_wizard - Published on
Coincidence, synchronicity, and paranormal events of varying types have and are lumped together with dismissive shrugs by many, but not all, learned people in a host of disciplines. That Arthur Koestler turned his keen intellect on these topics is not as surprising as some of the postulates he made, many of which stand still as neither disproved or confirmed.
He chronicles much of the research done to confirm E.S.P. and discusses both the flaws and results, results that tend to favor the existence of psychic abilities despite the fact that rigid scientific methods demotivate participants and suppress such abilities. Mr. Koestler makes the point repeatedly that coincidence, synchronicity, and parapsychology cannot necessarily be bottled up or tapped on demand, but that sometimes precipitating events will trigger such events. (I've experienced such things first-hand and concur with this view.)
Mr. Koestler---like other divergent thinkers such as Robert Anton Wilson, Fritjof Capra, Karl Pilbram and others---turned to physics for explanations for these phenomena, believing that an intrinsic link must exist between these two seemingly disparate disciplines. His writing on this subject is fairly strait-forward, though because this book is more than 30 years old, much of what was then state of the art now seems quaintly misdirected (sort of like the depiction of the giant HAL artificial intelligence in "2001: A Space Odyssey").
An essential point, for me, are that Mr. Koestler takes great pains to show that learned, prestigious persons---e.g., Jung, Rhine, Kammerer, Eddington---have been delving into this research for centuries, often at great personal cost to their careers or images.
Rereading this book now, I tend to side with Jung's view of refusing "to commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud." In other words, I'm not sold on everything here, but I think this well-articulated treatise on parapsychology that well-worth the time. Or put another way (with apologies to Lennon): All we are saying is give E.S.P. a chance.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Unthinkable made Thinkable. 29 Aug 2006
By OAKSHAMAN - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had read quotes from this book for years but I hadn't actually read the entire thing. Somehow, I thought that it was "dated" in terms of newer work. That was stupidity on my part. This book was far ahead of its time. Nor is it dated. True, theoretical physics has continued to advance, but what is included still serves its purpose as a tool to expand the mind. Koestler didn't present quantum phenomenon as an explanation for parapsychological effects- he used it as negative support in the sense that if respected scientists can believe this, then why should we automatically reject ESP, PK, or synchronicity? Substitute "string theory" for where he uses "quarks" and it still serves its function.

I admit that the examination of the statistical approach to parapsychology almost bored me to the point of putting the book down. It is well written, but the subject is inherently boring for some of us. It is with the discussion of the classical sort of experiments such as those carried out by the Society for Psychical Research that the book gets really interesting. This is carried on into the comparison of Kammerer's Seriality and Jung-Pauli's Synchronicity. What I found most fascinating of all was the author's speculation on the connections with the Pythagoreans, Neo-Platonists, and the philosophers of the Renaissance (the Harmony of Spheres, the anima mundi, correspondences, and the sympathy of all things.) He goes on to mention the similarity to the underlying Oneness of Christian mystics, Buddhism and Taoism. He even points out the connection to the thoughts of Schopenhauer.

I now see that many profound thoughts that I attributed to others were expressed here first. It would have saved me some time to have read it first. No wonder so many others quote from it.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound, thought provoking, mind expanding. 18 Aug 1997
By A Customer - Published on
The Roots of Coincidence - a discussion about what constitutes coincidence. Is it 'normal' that an occurence should happen more often statistics predict? What forces cause one to believe that a chance meeting is coincidence and not fate? It made me a believer in 'things' paranormal. Read It! Decide for yourself
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For readers who like to think "what if"? 13 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on
A very enjoyable read. Having read other works of Koestler, I am amazed at the broad range he covers in his writing. In this book, Koestler deals with how and why coincidences happen, from psychology to subatomic physics. You'll be surprised...
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paranormal Science 15 Jun 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Reveals the hypocrisy of the so-called 'skeptics' of paranormal events. Uses statistics to show that many psychic events do occur with regular freequency. An excellent read for anyone who wants an objective presentation.
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