The faculty of making fortunate and unexpected discoveries by accident.
The term originates in the fairy tale "The three Princes of Serendip" (H. WALPOLE). It is now quite generally accepted in the forementioned meaning, since it covers a kind of very relevant mental activity. Indeed, in numerous instances quite important discoveries have been made in a seemingly sudden flash of illumination, which probably corresponds to a not yet clearly understood cerebral process, through unplanned and automatic neural interconnections. Of course, serendipity visits only well informed, open, inquiring and creative minds, who are able to notice the deep significance of some seemingly fortuitous event. (FLEMING discovery of penicillin, by observing a "spoiled" bacterial culture and inquiring for the cause of this unforeseen outcome). It is somehow akin to the "Eureka" syndrome and to the proper perception of unsuspected systemic interrelations.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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