"The erroneous or fanciful perception of a pattern or meaning in something that is actually ambiguous or random."
I'm fascinated by this concept. It's the use of the word "erroneous" that perturbs me, because so much of what anyone comes to know about their life is, in fact, based in finding patterns or meanings in things that completely plausibly (and in all likelihood ARE) ambiguous or random.
I took a walk through a loved one's past in their own words today. I've read journals before, and am quick to admit that it often proves to be an enormous error in judgement. Sometimes you're not who you thought you were to the person. Sometimes you're much more than you thought you were and are unprepared for it. Sometimes you're introduced to someone you thought you knew and didn't. Some things are better left unspoken...unread. You become jealous of ghosts. People, things, events that are inconsequential to your current relationship with the person. Words written in a specific emotional context are taken out, changed, become like daggers aimed directly at your Achilles heel(s).
I walked away unscathed today. Unsurprised. There's something terribly comforting in the knowledge that what someone tells you is what they tell themselves. Unedited. How many people in the world are that genuine? Courageous, even? Amazing.