Infinite Monkey Theorem

3rd March 2020. Reading Time: 5 minutes General. 1943 page views. 0 comments.

The infinite monkey theorem is a reminder that weird coincidences can happen. Do movies and books really predict our future or is it a coincidence? It also shows that when you are in the paranormal world, there are only so many ways you can talk about the paranormal before there is some double up from someone else.

When I think about Monkeys with typewriters, I automatically think of the Simpsons 

It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times!!!!

Mr Burns - reading a transcript written by a Monkey

A line that has been used in my household for years.  Anyway, Mr. Burns had Monkeys typing what he said would be the 'greatest novel known to man'.  While a funny joke, we don't realize how deep it really goes.   The Simpsons itself has been credited with 'predicting' the future.  Donald Trump being president was a big one and more recently, people are drawing comparisons with the episode where the flu makes its way to the US through a parcel from China that makes the entire country sick.  Obviously, people use this to say that they are predicting the Coronavirus. More recently, people have found the book The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koonz which talks in eerie detail about an outbreak that sounds like it mirrors Coronavirus.  The thing is, the book was written in 1981.  Was it a prediction or coincidence?  How many times do you see movies from 30 years ago that reference the future followed by articles 'Things they predicted that came true?'.  Are these really psychic predictions from writers or a matter of odds?

The latest revelations have brought to light a thing called the 'infinite monkey theorem'.  In very simple terms, think of a room of monkeys aimlessly typing away on typewriters.  They are randomly hitting buttons for an infinite amount of time.  The odds tell us that eventually, a monkey will have typed out the greatest literary works, but only if they are hitting the keys randomly.  It is noted that the probability is small, but it can happen.  In context, if you were to have a computer randomly outputting letters, after a certain period of time, all of those letters would make up a full novel.  Anything is possible when you are dealing with infinite time. 

When you look at the case of people accurately predicting the future, when you have so many different people writing and theorizing things, of course, people are bound to get some things right.  If you are making a movie about the future, you are going to think of ways we might advance with technology or how the problems we face today may escalate over time.  A new world is built from imagination and you are bound at some point to get something right to a certain extent.  The thing with people, much like our brains, we like to make connections to things we understand and that are familiar.  You also have to think about the way we process information with our own bias.  If we are looking through old books for examples trying to make connections from past predictions with current events, your brain is going to make it fit for you.  There may be small similarities but we are making more meaningful connections because we want it to be a prediction.  Some I will admit seems to be quite accurate and it does make you wonder if there is something to that, but there are some that are more a case of coincidence. Some are extremely specific, while others are vague and we fill in more of the information ourselves to make it fit the narrative we want it to write.  

With that in mind, let's look at it from a paranormal field point of view.  You have thousands and thousands of people who are out there investigating and researching the paranormal.  Of course, people are bound to have the same views at some point in time.  They are bound to use the same technique at some point in time.  As a writer, I certainly do not 'own' paranormal content.  I and another blogger halfway across the World could be working on a subject piece at the same time that is quite similar.  Neither of us has copied the other nor been inspired by the other, it just happens and this is what the infinite monkey theorem highlights.  Weird stuff happens and so do eerie coincidences.  If you see someone expressing the same view or similar content to what you have produced a day earlier, they are not necessarily copying you - it happens.  Of course, there are blatant acts of plagiarism out there and even well-known names are guilty of this as we recently discovered, but there are also times when it is a coincidence.

In the past, I have had people say that they must have inspired a piece of writing because they talked about a subject a week prior or that a question I have asked I must have 'stolen' from them.  I can honestly say no I haven't, I have enough ideas of my own and again when you are in a bubble in the paranormal world, there are only so many ways you can talk about the paranormal before there is going to be some obvious double-ups.  It is time that in this sense we stopped trying to take ownership of a theory or area of the paranormal and embrace that other people may just think the same way that we do.  When you apply the infinite monkey theorem, with the sheer number of ideas that are out there, mathematics tells us that eventually there will be a crossover.  

Before jumping the gun, we need to acknowledge the infinite monkey theorem and the concept of coincidence.  That is not saying that other things are not happening and maybe some people have psychically predicted something, but maybe it is just a case of a weird coincidence that is bound to happen. Is it a weird 6th sense thing or is it just mathematics and a game of odds?  What do you think?

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