Serendipity and Treasure .
28 March 2008
Finding something of value for which you are not looking .
From Viagra to Niagra , history is littered with examples of valuable items found while looking for something else entirely .
There is an underlying weak coupling , namely a search for something of value , enabling the recognition that a valuable thing has been found , even if it is not what has been looked for .
This effect can be dramatically enhanced by specifying the weak coupling in advance.
The Weak Coupling can be shown to be directly proportional to the Oblique Approach in military terms .
The more oblique the approach , the weaker the coupling , but the greater the payoff .
Neurologically , two disparate end-points are set up and the brain’s feedback networks set loose to get on with making connections . A well-known recipe for creativity .
Discussion by example :
Buried treasure .
A well-picked over field , but buried hoards are still found . For example , “the most significant find of Viking treasure in 150 years by metal-detectorists David and Andrew Whelan in Harrogate” , from “History Today” Sept 2007 p9 .
Medical Instruments and Treasure .
Use the weak-coupling between medical instruments and portable wealth(coins,etc) .
The logic of the coupling :
The losers in a conflict are usually the ones that have to hide money . They are , by definition , more likely to have wounds . Refugees ditto .
They swarm around the around the only persons giving direction and treatment , namely the medics . This is a well-known phenomenon .
Attractor basin around medics .
Doctors form the center of this attractor basin . Outer elements of the swarm hide their treasure and go to the center for treatment . Many die or never return , leaving their treasure for later finders . The center of the swarm also accumulates wealth , which the doctors pool for buying food , medicine , safe-passage , etc . This money would normally be found or used . If the refugee group is overwhelmed , the medical instruments end up in the dirt . If the doctor has time , he might hide them , as these are his definition of treasure .
Search for these .
But the treasure secreted by the outer-swarm would be very unlikely to be found , as it would have been hidden by past-masters of the art of looting .
So look for old medical instruments . Near them and on the retreat route , metal-detectors would have a better than normal chance of finding buried coins , armor ,etc.
Guided serendipity in action!
Off course this logic is well known . But that it is the beauty of it . You are hunting for old Roman surgical instruments , of Celtic , or Viking , or Norman , or Anglic , or Nazi .
(The Nazi’s had a completely separate organization (never penetrated by British intelligence , as it was an old-boy network) secreting caches in case of an unsuccessful invasion of Britain . Fall-back assets set up by a select group of gold-brickers who continued under one of those strange lacunae of security classifications long after Sea Lion was cancelled . They were operating from personal instructions from Hitler , who did not want it known that such a defeatist opinions were ever held by him , however good a strategic idea it might be .
This was a royal pain to Himmler , who lost no time in liquidating all of them he could get hold of after the failure of the Stauffenberg plot . Some of the locations of these caches must have been lost , and are still available to the enterprising treasure hunter . A really rare example of the faux-retreat cache .
Reputedly , the US harbours caches of this nature of USSR origin , for use by expendable cadres after a failed tactical invasion following a limited nuclear war .)
For fun and profit:
Write a book : “The Refugee Routes in Britain” . Research it with metal detectors . Any treasure found is serendipitous .