Part 1 — Apophenia: The Reason You Believe Everything Happens For a Reason.
Let’s say you just lost your job. Even as you are walking out of the office (or logging off your company computer at your home office) you are already asking yourself — why?
Immediately you begin to search for the reason this has happened to you. It feels like an injustice ( and in many cases from a legality stand-point it may very well be) but it feels more like an injustice against your existence.
Why has this happened to me?
Now let’s say after a night of wine and sadness, you wake-up to fix yourself a hearty breakfast to cure that hangover. Eggs, bacon, a couple of pieces of toast. As you toss the bread onto your plate you have to do a double take — could that? Is that? Could it be?!
JESUS’ FACE ON MY TOAST?!
You fall to your knees. You post it on instagram. You make a Tik-Tok.
Is this a sign from God? From the universe that everything will be ok? I mean, you just lost your job and then Christ shows up crisped onto your sourdough?
It’s a miracle!
…except that (most likely) it’s not.
You’ve just experience Apophenia (Ap-oh-Phe-nia)
“The tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things.”
Think about this — If you had lived in a culture that had never heard of Jesus, or seen the typical white man Jesus illustration many of us picture when we think of Jesus, you know what you’d have see on your piece of Toast?
Ok, so there is a scientific allocation for the experience, but does that make it bad? Does that make it less meaningful for you? Perhaps not, however, this kind of phenomenon has the potential to become very unhealthy in your decision making moving forward.
What happens if you see a “sign” everyday, but no job offers ever come? You may start to think “Am I in the wrong field? Maybe I’m not meant to be a teacher? I mean, I did see that billboard for the rodeo right after I hit all three green lights in a row…am I meant to be a bull rider?”