A synchronicity is a meaningful coincidence. A synchronicity involves a physical event that is meaningful to an individual at a particular time.
A chance happening is a non-meaningful coincidence involving two or more physical events.
A causal relationship involves cause and an effect that can be meaningfully explained in terms of statistical probabilities.
A synchronicity relies upon the kind of meaning that operating beyond the individual’s control or mind. Such non-personal Meaning is holistic, self-subsistent and self-organising. It represents the content of cosmic consciousness and the meaning of Meaning.
Ideas about the creative self-organising capacity of cosmic consciousness (the global mind) were part of Eastern and Western thought up until the era of science. Todays such ideas are considered archaic and any respectable scientist would avoid them at all costs.
Yet a synchronicity cannot be explained from the scientific position that denies the non-personal, self-organising capacity of Meaning. The best that science can offer is to say that a synchronicity appears meaningful to some people, but it is only a chance happening.
Do you have any stories about a synchronicity?
Carl Jung coined the term ‘synchronicity. Here is Jung’s most famous synchronicity story about a scarab beetle, the Egyptian symbol of rebirth. This story is taken from: C. G. Jung, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, Trans., R. F. C. Hull, New York: Princeton University Press, 1973, pp: 109 -110.
“My example concerns a young woman patient who, in spite of efforts made on both sides, proved to be psychologically inaccessible. The difficulty lay in the fact that she always knew better about everything. Her excellent education had provided her with a weapon ideally suited to this purpose, namely a highly polished Cartesian rationalism with an impeccably ‘geometrical’ idea of reality. After several fruitless attempts to sweeten her rationalism with a somewhat more human understanding, I had to confine myself to the hope that something unexpected and irrational would turn up, something that would burst the intellectual retort into which she had sealed herself.
Well I was sitting opposite her one day, with my back to the window, listening to her flow of rhetoric. She had had an impressive dream the night before, in which someone had given her a golden scarab – a costly piece of jewellery. While she was still telling me this dream, I heard something behind me gently tapping on the window. I turned around and saw that it was a fairly large flying insect that was knocking against the windowpane from outside in the obvious effort to get into the dark room. This seemed to me very strange. I opened the window immediately and caught the insect in the air as it flew in. It was a scarabaeid beetle, or common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), whose gold-green colour most nearly resembles that of the golden scarab. I handed the beetle to my patient with these words, “Here is your scarab.” This experience punctured the desired hole in her rationalism and broke the ice of her intellectual resistance. The treatment could now continue with satisfactory results.”
This synchronicity story is about owls, which are a symbol of the Goddess. It comes from a friend of mine; I shall call her Victoria (not her real name).
Victoria works as a research scholar in English Literature. She was working on a Ted Hughes poem about calling up an owl, and had spent the day looking through all her books on the mythological and cultural meanings of owls and of the Goddess whose symbol is an owl. She was immersed in owls. The next morning she walked through to her bathroom without her glasses on and saw a strange lump in the gum tree outside the back window. She thought it might be a python, but when she put on her glasses she saw clearly that it was a Tawny Frogmouth. She had never seen a wild owl in Australia before, let alone one in her gum tree in a suburban Sydney garden (OK, a frogmouth isn’t a true owl but for her it is an owl).
The next week Victoria was again writing about the Moon Goddess and a Plath poem when a clamor of crows started up in the trees outside her front gate. She went out to see what was upsetting them and found crows and magpies screeching at a Barking Owl. The owl stayed all afternoon, with a variety of birds trying to dislodge it. It just turned its head every so often to look at them. Victoria didn’t see it fly away but this was her second synchronicity involving owls!
Here is another synchronicity story about birds, but this time it has darker associations as the birds are linked to death. Again this story comes from C. G. Jung, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, page 22:
“The wife of one of my patients, a man in his fifties, once told me in conversation that, at the deaths of her mother and her grandmother, a number of birds gathered outside the window of the death-chamber. I had heard similar stories from other people. When her husband’s treatment was nearing its end, his neurosis having been cleared up he developed some apparently quite innocuous symptoms which seemed to me, however, to be those of heart-disease.
I sent him along to a specialist, who after examining him told me in writing that he could find no cause for anxiety. On the way back from his consultation (with the medical report in his pocket) my patient collapsed in the street. As he was brought home dying, his wife was already in a great state of anxiety because, soon after her husband had gone to the doctor, a whole flock of birds alighted on their house. She naturally remembered the similar incidents that had happened at the death of her own relatives, and feared the worst.”