CARL JUNG

Source: Understanding Synchronicity

Synchronicity is the coming together of inner and outer events in a way that cannot be explained by cause and effect and that is meaningful to the observer.~Carl Jung

Because our scientific worldview is built on the concept of cause and effect,as a culture we tend to doubt and deny aspects of experience that aren’t measurable and verifiable. So often when events coincide in startling ways, the first words we hear or say are, “Oh, it’s just a coincidence.”

Some people might think of it in terms of the odds. If there is a one-in-a-million chance of that coincidence happening, why make such a big deal of it? After all, somebody has to win the lottery! This point of view has a certain validity: synchronicity is part and parcel of physical laws. It doesn’t defy the natural order of events; it simply raises more questions than can easily be answered by a cause-and-effect equation.

The concept that everything has a concrete cause is so entrenched in our modern Western mentality that it took considerable courage for Carl Jung to take on the subject of synchronicity. He didn’t discuss it in depth until the eighth decade of his life when, as he wrote in his preface to the I Ching, “The changing opinions of men scarcely impress me anymore.”

A dramatic incident clarified his thinking on the matter. He had been looking for some way to break through to a patient who was super-rational, had rigid, stock answers for everything, and therefore was not doing well in therapy. He writes, “I was sitting opposite her one day with my back to the window, listening to her flow of rhetoric. She had an impressive dream the night before, in which someone had given her a golden scarab—a costly piece of jewelry.

 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, whose gold-green color most nearly resembles that of a golden scarab. I handed the beetle to my patient with the words, ‘Here is your scarab.’ The experience punctured the desired hole in her rationalism and broke the ice of her intellectual resistance.”

 On the basis of his work with his patients, Jung said that synchronicity is more likely to occur when we are in a highly charged state of emotional and mental awareness—when, in his words, the “archetypes,” universal images or themes underlying human behavior, are activated.

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