WHAT IS SYNCHRONICITY?
In its simplest form, ‘synchronicity’ could be explained as coincidences that are given meaning by those who discover or notice them. But like most things, there’s quite a lot more to it than that. The term was coined around the 1920’s by Analytical Psychologist Carl Jung, who also referred to this concept as an Acausal Connection Principle. The examples of this phenomenon are extremely broad, as some individuals will interpret all kinds of stimuli as a relevant symbolic message, quite possibly a constant (willful) confirmation bias. But then, some coincidences, some events of synchronicity are not so swiftly dispelled.
One of the most commonly remarked experiences of synchronicity, is thinking of a song in your mind or even singing it aloud and then turning on the radio and that song is playing. People often attempt to look for meaning in this occurrence, but a common mistaken trope with understanding synchronicity, is not solely about meaning, but an underlying connection. It’s this underling connection being suggested as the means by which you’re singing along with a song, you had no prior knowledge was playing (in some rare instances, lyrically in-sync).
An example that has always intrigued me, happened to a very methodical work colleague of mine, years ago. He was a true creature of habit, every morning he would arrive on site, park his vehicle in the same place, sign on, return to his vehicle and drink his coffee. Every morning, like clockwork. On one fateful day, just as he went to begin to drink his coffee he recognized a friend he hadn’t seen in years. He got out of his vehicle to catch up with this individual in the distance, upon catching him up, he realized he was actually mistaken. Upon returning to his vehicle, he noticed a crowd was rapidly emerging around it. There had been a a gas pressure explosion, that had projected a large piece of metal directly through his vehicle, which lodged through the framework, precisely where his head would have been. If this wasn’t eerie enough, it was later discovered that the person he thought he saw, had actually already passed away some years prior, in a work place accident. It can always be dismissed as coincidence, cause and effect but regardless to outsider opinion, this experience had a profound effect on the individual. Synchronicity, like much of the paranormal world will always sound like nonsensical claptrap, any credence to it generally comes only after you experience it for yourself (like most things).
Carl Jung’s example of synchronicity:
“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 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 round and saw that it was a fairly large flying insect that was knocking against the window-pane 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 a golden scarab. I handed the beetle to my patient with the 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 be continued with satisfactory results.”
—Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, 1969
For arguments sake, an argument you may or may not be having with yourself, on how you feel about synchronicity as a concept, I’d like you to partake in this hypothetical scenario (and try to be as honest with yourself as possible). You awake from a dream, a vivid dream pertaining to a doomed aircraft. In 13 days, you’re going to take a plane trip. You noticed that your seat number is 13C. Later on in the day, walking down a street you catch a glimpse of a mother consoling her crying child over his broken toy airplane. Finally, as a breeze whips up some loose papers from an overflowing garbage receptacle, a torn page from a comic book spirals into the air, and lands meters in front of you. As you look down at the page, you notice the words “NO SURVIVORS!” and the illustration shows flight AAL100, the same flight number that appears on your ticket sitting on the bench at home.
Do these occurrences mean anything to you? If these entirely possible chance scenarios took place, would they implicate your decision making in any way?
The act of synchronicity, the seemingly chance events some of us see as connections to a guiding force gently manipulating the trajectory of fate is in essence, a byproduct of a much more complicated concept. It connects some of Jung’s other theories together, such as collective unconscious, the ability of beings sharing an unconscious mind, a wealth of knowledge/experience that transcends that of the individual (similar to some theories surrounding the Noösphere). It was the basic overarching concept that allowed Jung (to the criticism of his peers) to entertain the existence of certain paranormal channels, such as mental telepathy.
Carl Jung, along with theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli had theorized that life itself, the physical, the psychological, the spiritual interpretations of what is and isn’t around us, are all part of a much larger concept, they called the Unus Mundus, “one world”. Claiming that ultimately, both the observer and the phenomenon (of instances of synchronicity) came from the same source, the Unus Mundus, possibly explaining the innate desire for the mind to make these discoveries, and hold value to the notion of coincidence (for some more than others). Unus Mundus being considered a unified reality (of possibly multiple dimensions, transcending time and space) from which all things emerge and all things consequently return.
It’s through this belief, that all things are innately connected, on a level much more intimately than many of us can currently perceive that allow things like human precognition, telepathy to be seen in a different light. If the consciousness of an individual could access this ‘Unus Mundus’, events of the past, present and future could be perceived/imagined/recalled by the individual.
Ultimately, when looking at the most perceivable aspects of synchronicity, the coincidental occurrences, the first question most of us think is, who or what governs synchronicity, who/what orchestrates the unusual circumstances to unfold? Some suggesting God, gods, deities, angels, supreme beings, hyperterrestrials. Then, naturally the question is why, why would anyone/anything want to shape the trajectory of fate? Why are the interventions at a coincidental level? Why not interact in a more direct manner? Maybe a degree of subtly is necessary, but for what reason, is anybody’s guess.
Another question, is how could this be taking place in our perceivable universe? Strangely, this question, science can attempt to answer with the theory of quantum nonlocality.
WHAT IS QUANTUM NONLOCALITY?
“Quantum nonlocality can be difficultly understood and explained starting from the idea that the spacetime manifold characteristic of special relativity is a fundamental entity: it is due to a quantum potential which is equivalent to a spacelike, instantaneous action between the particles in consideration. In virtue of the features of quantum potential, a new order must be introduced to understand quantum phenomena, in particular quantum nonlocality. One can say that in this new order subatomic particles are instantaneously connected through space, which functions as an immediate information medium between them. Since to interpret in a correct and appropriate way also the time reverse of a quantum process (and thus also of the instantaneous communication between subatomic particles) of a symmetry in time in quantum mechanics is needed, a symmetrized reformulation of bohmian mechanics is introduced and analyzed.”
—Davide Fiscaletti, 2008
“If everything that ever interacted in the Big Bang maintains its connection with everything it interacted with, then every particle in every star and galaxy that we can see “knows” about the existence of every other particle.”
—John Gribbin, 1984
As a side note, many of the experiments used to determine the existence/occurrence of acts of quantum nonlocality taking place, are considered by some to be highly speculative.
HOW DOES SYNCHRONICITY, THEORETICAL QUANTUM NONLOCALITY EFFECT MY DAY TO DAY LIFE?
It is of the opinion of a great many, that it is entirely possible, that not only have you never noticed a single coincidence of any merit in your lifetime, but the concept of synchronicity in its entirety, is utter nonsense. Sentimentality, people making connections, seeing shapes in clouds and assuming there is an artist behind the formation. People have lived and died, believing the version of events that comprised their entire lifetimes, were utterly devoid of synchronicity and the like. Maybe they were right?
Alternatively, and it is a drastic alternative, that life, reality, our interpretation of all forms of stimuli, along with our imagination, the functionality of consciousness itself, is not so easily understood. It’s all not so easily defined and measured, catalogued. The limitations are not set in stone. Great belief, seems to inspire great things. It helps many go on when things seem unbearable, because despite everything seeming like only loss, they believe things will get better, by all rights sometimes, logically they shouldn’t. I recall hearing about a woman, who was friends with my mother. She was recently bereaved by the death of her daughter, who had taken her own life. Reunited with a group of her friends, she began to explain that her daughter, who had collected feathers as a pastime when she was alive, was leaving her feathers to remind her she was with her. She felt it at her core, that these feathers appearing everywhere were some inexplicable message from beyond. The other women smiled awkwardly, nodding to enforce her belief, deluded as it may have seemed. But as they looked at this woman, full of sympathy, a feather slowly danced through the air, tumbling into the circle of women as they spoke. The bereaved woman knelt down, picked it up and put it in her pocket. She burst into tears and her friends embraced her, some also emotionally overwhelmed.
Now that event, could most definitely have been a coincidence. I once took a hat off of my head, sat it next to me and a baby bird landed in it, unlikely things can happen I can attest to that. But would you want to tell this woman otherwise? Sometimes, I envy those who experience frequent amounts of synchronicity, because as of late, I don’t witness it anymore. Strangely, it almost feels as though I’ve fallen out of favor, of someone, or something. Went too far off of the path I was meant to stay on, too stubborn, ignored too many of the signs, so they stopped happening.
As foolish as it may sound, my genuine advice would be, don’t make the mistake I did. If you believe something is a sign, I believe you should put your pride and doubt aside and follow it and and see where it goes, why not? (Sure, it might lead you to a mental asylum, but the path less traveled, right?)
Perhaps even the illusion of meaning, is worth more than no meaning at all, in the end.
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