Thursday, May 21, 2015

Synchronicity


Carl Jung coined the term “synchronicity” to express a concept he observed. It came to his attention through a patient’s case. They were at an impasse in her treatment because she was rationalistic to an exaggerated degree. Rationalists or positivists are people who credit only the facts that can be tested in a laboratory. They scoff at any inner, deeper, hidden, secret meaning behind events, which I’m always looking for. The hidden rationalism in Jung’s patient was holding her back from accepting messages from her unconscious, which often speaks to us in dreams.

One night she dreamed about a golden scarab and told Jung about it the next day. During her psychotherapy session with Jung, an insect hit against Jung's cabinet window. He caught it and discovered that it was a golden scarab, very rare for that climate. This surprising event finally broke through her skepticism about the existence of the inner realm. 

A positivist would insist that the rare insect hitting Jung’s window as she was talking about it was just a coincidence. But Jung saw the meaningful connection between the outer appearance of the insect and the inner world represented by the dream. He identified synchronicity, and people have had many “sightings” ever since. I notice them regularly. Most are inconsequential but all provide evidence that the inner realm exists. This alone assures me.

Synchronicity is meaningful coincidence. To quote a reader, it is “a divine (inner realm) thing.” More precisely defined, synchronicity is an acausal connection between two or more psycho-physical phenomena. "Acausal" in the sense that no cause can be found in the material world. Jung and Wolfgang Pauli, who won a Nobel prize in physics, collaborated on a book called Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle.

Dreams that come true are related to synchronicity. Abraham Lincoln’s dream of his own death, like synchronicity, gives evidence that our consciousness has access to an inner realm not subject to time/space. If you scroll down in this post, you’ll see more examples of inner and outer connections, some related by Larry Dossey.

And here’s another related by Carl Jung in Memories, Dreams, Reflections. During a train journey he was overpowered by the image of someone drowning. When he got home he learned that a grandchild had nearly drowned. An older brother had fished him out of the water in the boathouse at exactly the time when Grandfather Jung had gotten the hint from the unconscious.

Jung follows this account with more stories in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, starting on page 302. He states that the unconscious informs us “of things which by all logic we could not possibly know.” Maybe I’ll dig up more examples for future posts. It’s fun.

After writing this I took a lunch break, but first I got a phone call from Phoenix, Arizona—another synchronistic occurrence. Marilyn there calls our uncanny connection an “invisible telegraph” because she’s prompted to call at significant moments. I’d just written about synchronicity, which activated an internal bell in her.