Serendipity is a chance stumbling upon a new idea, rather accidentally. This term was first coined by Horace Walpole in 1754. It was with reference to a Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip who were “always making discoveries, accidentally and unexpectedly of things which they were not in quest of.
Evolution of scientific thought and ideas is replete with a number of such Eureka moments. These momentous flashes of enlightenment have a touch of serendipity. They can't be explained as a logical outcome of sequential thinking. They are maverick moments that at first have a whiff of anti conformism. They have a spontaneity that's bereft of flexing any intellectual muscle. In retrospect one realises that they actually pushed the frontiers of prevailing concepts and ideologies.
The incredible thought experiments proposed by Einstein at the iconic "Copenhagen interpretation " are truly stunning. This genius proposed concepts like Entanglement way ahead of his times even when he had scarce modalities and resources to actually verify his hypotheses. The EPR paradox was a critique levelled against the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. Albert Einstein and his colleagues Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen(known collectively as EPR) designed a thought experiment which revealed discrepancies in the accepted formulation of quantum mechanics. This hypothesis had a consequence which looked unreasonable at the time. The thought experiment incredibly described a phenomenon that is now known as quantum entanglement.
The Vedas are considered by many as a similar flash of realisation that occurred to the rishis in their meditative state.
This kind of enlightening is termed as "Aparoksha Gyaan" or knowledge acquired without the intervention of any medium.
This knowledge is almost a celestial handout to the ripe and prepared mind. The human intellect is traditionally classified into two broad categories.
"Tarka Pradnya" and "Antah Pradnya". The former or Tarka Pradnya is logic based intellect whist the latter or Antah Pradnya is the innate intrinsic intellect. It's the substrate with which divinity gets Entangled. This coupling is termed serendipity in common parlance. Serendipity does not occur to the unprepared mind. It is effectively a kind of resonance with divinity. A concerted effort, a quasi obsessive single minded dedication (tapascharya) is a precondition for creating this resonance with divinity.
Masterpieces in creative art forms like music, literature, painting are also testimony to similar trysts with divinity. They are euphemistically termed ' inspiration'. These moments are characterised by a fleeting sense of transcending the self. Awareness expands from the personal frame to a much larger canvas.
Recently, a neurological basis for this perplexing phenomenon has emerged. It was observed that the capacity of consciously processing visual stimuli increases significantly when the observation of the outside world is not guided by precisely defined expectations. In particular, the brain produces an enhancement of the level of consciousness amplifying and extending, in the secondary visual cortex. (An area situated at the back of the head around the primary visual cortex)
“Serendipity seems, therefore, to occur when the attention of an active observer is not tied up, based on the experience of past events consciously perceived, to precisely defined expectations of incoming sensory inputs,” explained the scientist Fabrizio Doricchi, coordinator of the study conducted in Rome. It probably indicates a mindset that's not biased and is in a deprogrammed state. It might just be a ' quantum resonance 'with the universal consciousness. A realisation when the consciousness sees with the 'Third Eye'
Dr. Deepak M Ranade