Friday, May 24, 2019

Fire and ice

On the way home from work, the thought suddenly came to me: You know, I should post something about the first "synchronicity" I ever noticed, the one that first caught my attention and made me think, "I should keep a record of these things."

I can still remember it quite clearly. I was approximately 12 years of age and had just read -- I cannot remember why or in what context -- a sermon by a Mormon leader that quoted, with reference to sexual morality, the first four lines of Robert Frost's "Fire and Ice":
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
Searching for "some say in ice" turns up exactly one hit, so I think the talk I read must have been "Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments" by Jeffrey R. Holland (qv).

Less than an hour later, I picked up a popular science book I had been reading -- Carl Sagan, perhaps, or some similar writer (I haven't been able to track it down) -- and, after a few minutes of reading, found that it quoted the same four lines of the same poem, this time with reference to the physical heat-death of the universe. The timing, the two completely different contexts in which the poem was used, and the two writers' independent decisions to quote only the first half of what is after all an extremely short poem -- all this had seemed too much to ascribe to coincidence. Not that I had any other explanation.


Anyone who has taken an interest in such things will have discovered the law, "Speak of the synchronicity fairies, and they will appear."

Having just been remembering that "Fire and Ice" synchronicity from decades ago, I arrived home to find my wife watching some sort of true-crime docudrama on TV. The scene was a Halloween party, and one of the guests was dressed as a gypsy fortune-teller, sitting at a table with a crystal ball and some cards spread out in front of her. These were not tarot cards, but almost looked more like Magic: The Gathering or something of that nature. The camera zoomed in briefly such that one, and only one, of these cards was clearly visible. It bore the title "Fire and Ice." Some minutes later, the camera once again showed the cards -- from a different angle, but still only "Fire and Ice" was legible. Nothing was said about the cards, and they didn't play any role in the story as it unfolded; they were apparently there just to set the scene and establish a suitably spooky atmosphere. (Trying to find this card on Google has turned up only an MTG card called "Sword of Fire and Ice," but I'm sure the title was simply "Fire and Ice," with no sword.)


Bruce Charlton said...

OK... But why the picture of "Derek Smalls" from Spinal Tap?

I had a minor synchronicity today... striking but separated by a few days. In a dinner table discussion a participant mentioned that he was about to be 10,000 days old - I had never heard anyone mention this unit of time before (it amounts to 27 and a bit years). Today - reading Howl's Moving Castle (by Diana Wynne Jones) - there was a plot point about the character becoming 10,000 days old.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

How beautiful upon the mountains are their feet!

In his July 21 post " Twister, 'The Extreme', and Shine On ," William Wright mentions a couple of Book of Mormon passages ...