That Profound Moment We All Know…
Synchronicity is a term coined by Carl Jung on the 1920s to describe moments of co-incidence of two or more events that are profound and meaningful to the experience and which have no causal relationship.
In his book Synchronicity (1952), Jung tells the following story as an example of a synchronistic event:
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.
— Carl Jung,
My own experiences with Synchronicity have left me breathless at times, and they occur with such regularity in my life now that I tend to lose track. One of my favorite examples, though, involves a night when I spoke with my older brother. Him being significantly older than I, we had lost touch for a couple of years, save for the obligatory birthday and holiday calls where we would catch up on the times in between.
I had come home from a night out with friends where the conversation has been inspiring and intense, as it usually seems to be with me (I love deep conversation). It was about 1am, and I sat down at my computer to do some writing before I went to bed, as I typically did at that time to keep track of all the odd things that happened in my life that day.
As I was in the middle of typing, I suddenly had the overwhelming sensation that I should call my brother to say hello. I picked up my phone, scrolled through the contacts, and realized that I didn’t have his cell number. The feeling was so intense that I thought about calling to wake up my mother to get his number, but I decided I’d call her to get it in the morning and call him after I left work. I put my phone down and went back to writing.
About four and a half minutes later, my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number. I almost never answer calls when I don’t recognize the number, but this time I did answer. It was my brother.
And after the first hellos and “wow, I was just thinking of calling you”, he said, “Yea, I felt like we needed to catch up, and I realized it was late. I figured you’re young, you’re probably up, but when I went to call you, I didn’t have your number, so I just got off the phone with mom- woke her up to get your number!” I hadn’t even told him yet that I had thought to do the same thing….
We only chatted for a moment, decided we should visit in person, and I hung up the phone and booked a flight to go see him the next week.
Even our visit was wrought with moments just as profound… Every day I was there (nearly a week) we would sit and talk and basically balk at how crazy it all seemed! But it wasn’t crazy…
Scientists have been digging into the mysteries of our universe for a very long time. And in the last one hundred years or so, we’ve made some pretty profound headway on uncovering the hidden physical principles that govern our perceived reality. We’ve uncovered the nature of gravity, and we’ve identified the electromagnetic force, along with the strong and weak nuclear forces, which keep the atoms of our bodies and the entire universe bound together in coherent and predictable ways. We’ve discovered that quantum entanglement is scientifically confirmed (two particles that appear to “communicate” instantaneously no matter the distance, thus appearing to break the rule that nothing, not even information, can travel faster than the speed of light). And we are beginning to explore the odd implications of what we are discovering of the quantum universe, which is showing that we, as observers, are literally altering reality through our mere observations.
It’s all so mysterious and exciting, but it isn’t mysterious in a way that implies it is not real or isn’t happening. It is happening. And what is mysterious about it is that we simply can’t yet understand how these things that obviously happen, things that are measured, observed, and documented- how exactly they occur within the framework of physics we are attempting to uncover and describe.
Synchronicity is just one more of these beautiful and mysterious things that obviously has a place in our universe, and for scientists such as myself, I am still looking to uncover that unifying theory that finally describes how these things happen- and with that information, how we can begin to use it to enrich our lives.
To learn more about utilizing Synchronicity as a way to enrich and enhance your own life, visit the Books section of this site, as well as other blog posts by The Synchronicity Project.
“Be. Do. Have.”