What is serendipity?

(This was a question asked by someone on LinkedIn, have posted my response below)

It was a dusty, moth-eaten fragment of a book. Its papers crumbled at the touch, one had to handle it like when holding a butterfly. I was fascinated by the occasional line drawings in its pages, the content was incomprehensible to my 11year old brain. I used to study in a school that was pathetic to say the least, I just had no clue.

Another 8 years or so later the book miraculously survived being thrown out as junk and I re-discovered it. It turned out to be the complete works of Lord Byron, or at least what was left of the complete works. And I read it end to end, thrice..without a break. The language, the thought and the expressiveness was like a miracle to me. Every turn of phrase was like a lightning that flashed across the ignorance of my mind and burnt itself within me. I have been a very different person since.

I have read lots more, learned that Byron is not the master of subtlety and been through much to be where I am now. But the presence and eventual discovery of that book has to be an act of providence, there is no other rational explanation that I can give myself. This to me is serendipity.

It is the realization that there is a vaster intelligence that guides our lives. To know that all the byways we have taken in the past had purpose, our falls, our failures included- that every little thing a limited human intelligence belittles has a purpose that exceeds its grasp. And that not all things in life are tainted by “the touch of tears”….

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Comments

  1. Several years back Daniel Pinchbeck’s book ‘Breaking Open the Head’ (re)introduced a related word – ‘Perhapsness’. Or simply put, who knows how many billions of unknown dimensions exist and seethe behind that billowing curtain…

    -Amit

  2. The American College Dictionary defines serendipity as the faculty of making desirable but unsought-for discoveries by accident. It is closely related to another word, synchronicity, which means meaningful coincidences that cannot be explained by cause and effect. Good musings.

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