Chapter 12: Apophenia

Apophenia - a chapter of connections?

Prepared by Ardi del Rosario COM 12 G

What does "apophenia" mean? According to dictionary.com,

Apophenia is the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. The term was coined in 1958 by Klaus Conrad, who defined it as the "unmotivated seeing of connections" accompanied by a "specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness".

One usually can experience this when daydreaming. When one is idle, one would often find that the mind would start jumping from one thought to another, oftentimes without any connection to the previous thought. One could start daydreaming about flying in the sky and end up a few minutes later daydreaming about a trip to Egypt. Sudden connections are made in one's mind that, for somebody other than the self, the connection could be hard to establish.

In the same site as above, another example of apophenia is given:

Pareidolia is a type of apophenia involving the finding of images or sounds in random stimuli. For example, hearing a ringing phone whilst taking a shower. The noise produced by the running water gives a random background from which the patterned sound of a ringing phone might be 'produced'.

With that, one can see that Cynthia's (Cayce's mother) obsession in EVP is connected to pareidolia. Hearing sounds from nothing, or more specifically, having to rely on a recorder to hear voices from the noise in the background, one can see that this EVP is connected to the title of the chapter - apophenia. One is trying to find a pattern from something as random as noise from the environment. For believers of this phenomenon, voices of the dead can be heard anywhere for so long as one pays attention to the record captured. Though Cayce doesn't bother with this, her mother is a firm believer of EVP. SPOILER ALERT In a future chapter, Cynthia lets Cayce hear one of her recordings. According to her, it is a recording of Win, Cayce's dad who might have died in the 9/11 END OF SPOILER

Below is an EVP recording found in YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94IKAEAEBvE

How EVP was brought up in the book, as can be seen in the character of Cynthia, reflects the attitudes of certain believers of EVP in real life. There are really groups or organizations composed of people who roam around to search for voices of the dead. Most of these members search not only the voices of the dead but, more importantly, voices of their loved ones who may have messages for them. May it be unsaid messages or advices and warnings from the after-life, these believers would search almost everywhere to hear these voices. These believers use EVP as a way to "keep in touch" with the people in their lives who already passed away. As can be seen in Cynthia, believers may use EVP as a way to comfort them through their grieving period.

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(image from http://www.midcosystems.com/details.cfm?SNID=12&MNID=4)

Apart from EVP, another striking detail in this chapter is how mobile the world is getting. The world is indeed shrinking to the point that you can stay connected to a person even if that person is halfway around the world. One can see this through Pamela Mainwaring. Pamela, who is Hubertus' personal travel agent, seems to not have her own office cubicle. She's what you may call a "mobile worker". Unlike a regular worker with a fixed number of hours and days of work per week, Pamela needs to be always ready whenever Hubertus, or in this case Cayce, needs her. In real life, there is indeed a trend of having mobile workers, especially in multinational corporations wherein employees are demanded a lot of attention by their bosses. Though they are given more freedom due to the fact that they can do their job anywhere, like in the beach, they still need to respond to their bosses when they are suddenly called for a business report, even while on that beach vacation. What's strange is that it seems that this mobility could also be translated to a having a chain with a heavy metal ball attached to your leg because this mobility also demands a lot from the worker who needs to go to the office for just 8 hours a week for 6 or even just 5 days.

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(image from http://www.jasondunn.com/generic-boarding-pass-airline-ticket-blank-template-high-resolution-37/generic-boarding-pass-airline-ticket-blank-template)

Another thing which one might find striking in the book is the mention of having airline tickets being printed with the use of a home printer. With this new technology, people can now do all the flight bookings by themselves. They no longer have to rely on a travel agent to do the work for them. With this new technology, people are given more convenience since they don't have to wait in lines anymore. They just have to bring the ticket with them and voila! Connecting to mobile world example given above, this detail in the book also shows how the world is slowly shrinking. It's now easier to travel around the world given this opportunity. Just like in the game show "The Amazing Race", one could travel to Brazil, then Namibia, and finally in Thailand in a span of just one week!

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