Carl Jung called meaningful coincidences and parapsychological occurrences by the term “synchronicity,” but noted that some things are merely attributable to “probability of chance.” Writing on Reality Sandwich, Nick Meador wonders: do we know how to tell the difference?

In recent times the term “synchronicity” has become one of the trendiest words in circles that self-identify as conscious or transformative. The Internet contributed to this, no doubt, by exposing so many of us to schools of thought like Jungian psychology (the origin of synchronicity) that had been partially or totally omitted from general education programs. However, common discussion and application of the term doesn’t take into consideration the fact that the Internet and connected technologies are constantly influencing our perception of supposed synchronicities. When we evaluate these phenomena more closely, it becomes unclear whether we’re identifying them correctly or interpreting them in a useful way.

The word “synchronicity” first appeared in the 1950s, when Carl Jung brought it forth in the development of archetypal psychology. Jung defined the term in 1951 as “a meaningful coincidence of two or more events, where something other than the probability of chance is involved.” He applied the term not only to these striking coincidences, but also to parapsychological occurrences like clairvoyance, telepathy, and precognition. Yet it’s important to acknowledge that these phenomena are much older, or even timeless; examples abound in various artforms throughout human history.

Read more at Reality Sandwich.

8 Comments on "Synchro-missity"

  1. I can’t believe the question even needs to be asked. How do you tell the difference?
    Maybe reading the book might help. But the experience is usually accompanied such a peculiar state of mind, an uncanny awareness. I’ve spoken with others, and seems most folks report a strange sense that accompanies the experience.

    • Damien Quinn | Dec 10, 2013 at 7:07 am |

      Excellent. If you wouldn’t mind setting up the strangocity sensors while I measure background mind state levels and calibrate the uncanninometer, we’ll have this synchronicity thing cracked by tea time.

      What about the coincidentiality gauge?….I was just thinking that!!

  2. Damien Quinn | Dec 10, 2013 at 7:21 am |

    Synchronicity seems to be a modern expression of the idea of omens. I don’t think this would necessarily invalidate the idea but I don’t see any reason to take it more seriously than the idea that a comet heralds destruction (sometimes it does).

    We are designed to see patterns and there’s always going to be a lot of personal coincidence in a seven billion strong mono-culture as interconnected as ours, especially when the coincidences used to assess synchronicity are as roughly sketched and subjective as they tend to be.

    Is it not as interesting to think that your mind is just rationalizing sub sensory cues which are shining an instinctively negative or positive light on the situation you’re in.

    Maybe we don’t need the universe to give us clues about what we should be doing.

    • Calypso_1 | Dec 10, 2013 at 9:23 am |

      It also steps across into liminal awareness. These states may be sub-sensory or simply cultivating awareness of the results of connections that exceed the bounds of sensory perception altogether. Even though cultures have, perhaps rightfully so, categorized such experiences as extending into paranormal realms, the vast majority of cause & effect are simply beyond the scope of our limited sensorium.
      Anyone who has gone down the rabbit hole can testify to an abundance of events that defy any logical explanation. The subjectivity, if navigated through the more treacherous and maddening realms of apophenia, can take on a life of its own that encompasses more than individual experience. The emergence of folie à deux perhaps, but compelling and potentially transformative nonetheless.

    • yeah, but how about noticing increases in synchronicity? when I was younger I experienced synchronicity, deja vu, and such things infrequently, though I did experience them. after partaking in entheogens, meditating, and delving into my unconscious these experiences became quite frequent. I also think they may be contagious, because during very potent bouts of deja vu, I noticed people around me would claim theywere experiencing deja vu, though I said nothing. and they were often strangers.
      my opinion is that these experiences occur after digging up the unconscious which would make sense in the light of Jung’s experiences w/ synchronicity

      • Damien Quinn | Dec 16, 2013 at 5:47 am |

        Your opinion is the most reliable guide to yourself but I think it might also be possible that the frequency hasn’t increased but, now that you’re more interested in this type of experience, you pay more attention to them when they happen and remember them.

        • that may be possible. but it is clear that i was experiencing more deja vu. for a couple months, i experienced it almost every day, one time for a couple hours.
          another theory is that our minds interact w/ external reality, and when i delved into unconscious and practiced “spirituality” more, my mind would have more of an impact on reality. but this interaction didn’t seem to be under my control so much as unconscious

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