"The creation of something new is
by the intellect
but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.
The creative mind plays with the objects it loves."
-- Carl Jung
Swiss Psychologist Carl Gustav Jung coined the term
synchronicity to signify "the simultaneous occurrence of two meaningful but
not causally connected events," or as "a coincidence in time of two or more
casually unrelated events which have the same or similar meaning... equal
in rank to a causality as a principle of explanation." Synchronicity is the
occurence of a physical event in the world which
occurs at or near the same time that it is being discussed or thought
about. The essence of synchronicity is felt, for there is often
significance and meaning associated with it. When you consider that this
kind of interplay is one way that your eternal spirit and your physical
self engage in dialogue, you may find yourself looking forward to
experiencing more frequent synchronicities in your life.
This playfulness we so often feel in creativity allows us to
find connections between ideas without a structured, rational, mechanical
process -- discovering that what we need comes to us when and where we need
it. Jung describes an amazing experience he once had with a scarab beetle
in an article he titled, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting
"A young woman I was treating had, at a critical
moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was
telling me this dream I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I
heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a
flying insect knocking against the window-pane from outside. I opened the
window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest
analogy to a golden scarab that one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid
beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which contrary to its
usual habits had evidently felt an urge to get into a dark room at this
particular moment." [The
Collected Works of Carl Jung, Volume 8, page
As Jung treated this particular patient, he realized that
she required a change of perspective from her overly-rational view of the
world to one which allowed greater freedom of thought and feeling. Jung was
intrigued to notice that this kind of rebirth that he considered so
important for his patient was also indicated by the timely arrival of the
scarab beetle at the window!
Jung's concept of synchronicity has graced the world
with a holistic alternative to the
philosophies of mechanism and reductionism, allowing for tremendous
freedom and playfulness between consciousness and the physical world.
Science & Synchronicity
Wolfgang Pauli (1900 -
Swiss physicist and Nobel laureate Wolfgang Pauli first discussed
the concept of synchronicity with Carl Jung in the 1930s, when he consulted
with Jung for psychotherapeutic help. Pauli knew that Jung had discovered
something important with the concept of synchronicity,
because he began to find deep meaning in his dreams. Symbols from his
dreams would synchronistically appear in letters from colleagues and
statements made by fellow researchers and friends -- and Pauli was pleased
to find that great scientific insights could be made through allowing his
mind to follow such non-mechanistic and intuitive paths.
One kind of synchronicity that Pauli particularly enjoyed was the way that
experimental equipment was widely known to fail in his presence. Pauli
delighted in this phenomenon, which became known as the "Pauli Effect."
All kinds of breakdowns occurred in technical equipment, experimental
apparatus, and machines. Otto Stern is said to have forbidden Wolfgang
Pauli to enter his institute, in order to prevent such malfunctions. As one
friend of Pauli noted about him shortly after one such incident:
"... he senses the mischief already before as a
disagreable tension, and when the anticipated misfortune then actually hits
- another one! - he feels strangely liberated and lightened." [Enz,
Charles, P., No Time to be Brief, A scientific biography of Wolfgang Pauli,
Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002]
Learning from Synchronicity
When you experience synchronicity in your life, you can
sometimes gain deeper insight into what you intuitively know to be true by
taking a closer look at the synchronicity in question. Could it be true
that the universe is trying to tell you something? To find out if there
may be deeper meaning to a given synchronicity, ask yourself:
o What symbols does this synchronicity contain?
o What do these symbols mean for me, personally, at this time?
o How do I feel about this?
Since your consciousness is constantly interacting with all
levels of yourself, some synchronicities will have more personal
significance than others in your life. You can generally gauge how
important a given synchronicity is for you by feeling how you respond
emotionally and physically to it. For example, if you were just thinking of
an old saying such as, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," that your
mother used to tell you when you were growing up, and then you open the
newspaper and see that exact same phrase printed on the page -- notice how
you feel both emotionally and physically as this synchronicity occurs.