The Human Pattern Recognition Machine

The human brain remains the most adept pattern recognition machine on the planet Earth. It allows us to move beyond a mere sensory interaction with the world around us and begin, for those would dare the journey, to tap into the deeper relationships and hidden knowledge that govern reality.

Shark or submarine?

Shark or submarine?

There are those who are blessed with the vision or the ability to see these things through the power of their own minds. For the rest of us tools are available to help peel back the layers and gaze upon the true fabric of the universe. Numerology, astrology, tarot, tea leave, quatrains, and ancient prophecies are just some of the channels that have evolved over the course of human history by seekers of knowledge chasing down a lonely, and sometimes dangerous, path.

Aurora_zodiacWhat is it about these arts that continue to attract proponents? Do you believe in them?

Well they are there, believe in them, the more relevant question is ‘do they work?’.

The answer depends on what someone is looking for. The real value of these ancient knowledge and beliefs systems comes from each correct prediction, each gem of revealed knowledge, and not in some empirically verifiable and scientifically reproducible method. So what if numerology can be used to generate 1000’s of ridiculous connections in the face of one piece of hidden knowledge revealed. The same for each false prediction in the face of the one that is true. Are those not acceptable prices to pay for each step along the road to enlightenment?

I say they are, and I say what continues to draw people to what are dismissively called ‘mystic’ arts is that many of us know that there is more to this world that we can experience with our senses, or reason with our conscious minds.

It is not possible to say how these things work, at least not for me. What is it that gives revealing power to the numerology of the Gematria? Who guides the hand of the tarot reader as they lay out the cards, or their tongue as they read out their message? From where does astrology draw the truth that a person reads about themselves or others? Some do sincerely claim mystical properties to these systems, and I’ll not ridicule their beliefs. Others claim that they give access to a collective unconscious, or ancestral memories. The answer I most often give, at least publicly and if only to head off a divisive argument and leave the other person with something that they will maybe go back and think about, is that these ancient knowledge systems are an effective way of guiding intuition. Even the most rational of people won’t deny having gut feelings that are sometimes worth acting upon, and while they still may demand proof part of them will still be left with doubt knowing that they to have had recourse to unconscious stirrings.


This is the human pattern recognition machine at work. The same set of cognitive abilities that allow a farmer to look at the color of the sky and know if a storm is coming also accumulates countless causal relations that sit in our unconscious minds waiting for inspiration to come to the surface. Take that inspiration from wherever it comes.


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