“Synchronicity designated the parallelism of time and meaning between psychic and psychophysical events, which scientific knowledge has thus far been unable to reduce to a common principal. The term explains nothing, it simply formulates the occurrence of meaningful coincidences which, in themselves, are chance happenings, but are so improbable that we must assume them to be based on some kind of principal, or on some property of the empirical world. …from this it follows either that the psyche cannot be localized in space, or that space is relative to the psyche.”
In the Jungian model synchronistic events are not influenced by the personal self, only the archetypes operating at the psychoid level of consciousness have this capacity (Mindell,1975.) This system views the concept of personally created synchronistic events as a pathological belief, based on poor psychological individuation, and the resulting compensatory defense mechanisms. This view has several inconsistencies, which start with the Jungian concept of acausality, and run through to the role of personal involvement in the experience of synchronicity. The concept of acausality states that synchronistic events are beyond the realm of cause and effect, totally independent of time and space causation of any kind. Because our thought processes are bound by the laws of time and space, we cannot even think about possible causes of synchronicity. In Jung’s words, such causes are “unthinkable.” This is clearly contradictory to Jung’s own model of the archetypes, which cause by their presence events to “cluster” around them, thus producing synchronistic events (Jung, 1960.) A cause and effect relationship is apparent which does indeed put the causes of synchronistic events into the realm of the thinkable. The observer, without who’s mind these meaning based events could not be experienced at all, causes them.
The issue covered by the cloud of unthinkability, is how it is possible for an a causal force to be perceived at all, even as a synchronistic event. If the causes of these events were unthinkable, then we would be incapable of perceiving the events and thinking about their meaning. It is possible to think about synchronistic events and their causes, but not within the confines of the Jungian model. His concept of unthinkability applies only within the limitations of his theory. As we shall see there are other ways to conceptualize synchronicity that does leave it well within the range of what can be thought about and conceptualized.
On the personal side, the denial of personal influence over synchronistic events is also problematic. This can be seen in the process of consulting the I-Ching, from which Jung formulated both his ideas of archetype and synchronicity. In Jung’s model the internal processes of the person are moved about by the clustering effect of the archetypes, until they parallel external events also being influenced by the archetype, the result is the experience of a synchronistic event. The key here is that the individual has no choice in the matter, is swept along without will or choice over the synchronistic events they experience. This is inconsistent with the operation on the I-Ching. The individual chooses when and where to consult the oracle, thus determining the time and place of the synchronistic events which the reading is composed of. The inquirer also chooses the context of the response by requesting information about specific issues, the frame of reference of the events and their contextual meaning is therefore also determined by the operator. The resulting synchronicities of the reading center around personal problems and symbologies, not archetypal patterns. This shifts the probable causes of synchronicity from the unknowable, to the personal.
The next counter indication of strictly archetypal causation is evidence that the attention of the individual can affect the frequency of the person’s encounters with synchronistic events. Research has found focusing attention on the possibility of experiencing synchronistic events with an attitude of expectancy, expecting them to occur, greatly increases the number of events experienced. Jung struggled with this counter indication to his theory of archetypal influence for many years. He eventually postulated that there may be an archetype of “hopeful expectancy” or “occult influence”, which when contacted, possibly by personal choice, caused synchronistic events to respond as the person willed or expected. This was as close to personal causation as he was willing to come. This position would put the archetype and its unthinkable power at the command of the individual, which would require a redefinition of what Jung considered an archetype to be.
There are no archetypes, people made the concept up like any other mythology to try to explain the actions of the world around them. No one has ever seen one, nor is there any proof synchronistic events are connected to them, it’s a baseless model that far from clarifying anything, hides a simple truth, we produce these events and their meanings. They reflect both conscious and unconscious mental processes, and can therefore seem to be from outside our awareness, but they are not. It’s mirror of our psychological energies, for lack of a better term. We experience what we think. This is both wonderful, and potentially a cause of delusion and confusion. Once Jung started thinking about archetypes, that’s what the mirror of synchronicity showed him. He mistook this for a confirmation of his beliefs. In future posts I will show how science, based on empirical and reproducible evidence, supports the seemingly outlandish notion that we are the source of these events, and that people should not believe everything they think.
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Dr. Kirby Surprise
“Synchronicity is teeming with delightful and often compelling surprises about the nature of meaningful coincidences in contemporary life. The author’s prose is playful, provocative, and profound. Though you may not agree with all of Professor Surprise’s conclusions, this book should be required reading for anyone wanting to understand the magnificence and mystery of synchronicity.”
—Gary E. Schwartz, PhD, professor of psychology and medicine, The University of Arizona, and author of The Sacred Promise
“An interesting mix of mythology, neuroscience, and common sense, this book takes a serious, but light-hearted look at the way synchronicity works and the degree to which it can be controlled. Going well beyond the ideas of Jung, synchronicity’s discoverer, psychotherapist Surprise draws on anthropology, String Theory, and Walt Disney to make the case that our internal states do effect external events....”
—Anna Jedrziewski, New Age Retailer
A true thriller from cover to cover—Kirby Surprise proves that there really is nothing more fascinating and mysterious than the human mind.
—Linda Watanabe McFerrin, Author of The Hand of Buddha and Dead Love (Stone Bridge Press, 2010)