Synchronicity was a concept developed by Carl Jung. Through his many writings it has been defined in a variety of ways, most generally, synchronicity is an acausal connecting factor. We create a logical casual progression of the vast majority of things we perceive. The soccer ball moved because it was kicked. The apple falls because of gravity. The man took a job because he needed money. We see things take place in our world, and our conscious brain assigns the most logical train of causation, or story, to the event. This process is absolutely necessary. The world is infinitely complex and has required us to develop a way of reducing its complexity. We learn through associating groupings of patterns and simplifying them to a level that is useful for our survival in the world. The story is a way to symbolically encode trains of causation into things we can remember and utilize in our life. We do not need to understand the intricate biochemical processes of carbohydrate metabolism, but we are significantly benefited from understanding the abstract notion of causation that eating a strawberry gives us energy. Casual relationships are everywhere in our life, and they are what our sense making apparatus was designed on.
So with a good understanding of causality, let us return to its antithesis, synchronicity and acausality. Synchronicity can be seen when some outer aspect of life (observation of some event in the world) evokes some inner personal meaning. The connection of outer event and inner meaning can have no logical causal connection. For one exists in the realm of space and matter and the other in the realm of the psyche. The example I like to use for this is Déjà vu. For those that have never experienced Déjà vu, it is a profound sense of already having lived through a situation that is immediately occurring. In my experiences with this phenomena, it typically only lasts a few seconds, and I am overwhelmed with the feeling that whatever just happened has happened before. It is a visceral feeling, a knowing that you have had this experience before in another time or another place. It is the feeling that something has happened before, while logically knowing it has never happened before. This acausal connection of outer occurrence and inner reality is the structure of synchronicity.
Synchronicity is a difficult idea to wrap your head around. We have only barely sketched its borders, and I want to leave it fairly open at this point. I will conclude with a personal description of synchronicity in my life. The first part of this story was described in a previous post, but the synchronicity didn’t click until a few moments later.
I was walking outside, down a path that I had traveled more than 100 times. Suddenly, an epiphany. One of those curious thoughts or realizations that fundamentally alter the way you view the world, or I should say, they way you perceive your experience. I saw a tree, then I saw its trunk, its bark, its texture, its border, its repeating structure, its carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and electrons. Aligned in cosmic symmetry, the only way it could possibly be. The journey of those particular molecules had undoubtedly been incredible. Just as I was a product of my many ancestors, so was the tree. It was the genetic product of an interstellar journey spanning billions of years. The tree was at one point a seed, the seed of a tree before it. Just as I was a son of a father, who was the son of his father before. This was the epiphany. A profound sense of gratitude for the sheer impossibility of my existence along side the existence of this tree. The unimaginable history required in order for me to be here, experiencing this tree. Then the synchronicity struck, forcefully and beautifully elegant. Not seconds after these thoughts cleared my mind, my grandfather drives by in his truck. Right in front of me, no more than 30 feet away. Down the street perpendicular to the one I was walking along. He turns, smiles, waves, and continues down the road. The literal embodiment of my ancestors. An incarnation of the father archetype. I had made this same walk hundreds of times, but I have never seen my grandfather there. My grandfather doesn’t even drive much these days. The outer reality of his passing by was layered over my inner epiphany. This cemented the idea of synchronicity in me forever.
Synchronicity will be a common theme in my posts. I believe there is a deep and profound beauty in it. Hopefully this is enough of an introduction that you may see the patterns of synchronicity in your own life. It might just be the signposts of your path.
Previous post discussing synchronicity.