I was in the market for a new car in late 1982. After winnowing out the great many choices I could afford, I’d narrowed my options down to a small Ford, VW, and Datsun. For a period of a couple of weeks, I kept seeing Datsun cars driving around town and on the highways. It was uncanny, no matter where I went, a Datsun would soon appear on the street. I eventually did purchase a Datsun 310 sedan.
A few months later, I purchased an LP record by the rock group “Police”. The title was “Synchronicity”. Around the same time, I read an article about the record in a broadcast trade magazine. The album title and much of the material in it was inspired by Arthur Koestler’s The Roots of Coincidence. “Police” vocalist, Sting, said that Carl Jung’s hypothesis of Synchronicity is mentioned in that book. Naturally, I was intrigued. I had been noticing a lot of coincidences during the past several months. It was time for me to take a trip to the library to investigate Carl Jung.
The term, synchronicity, was coined by Jung to label his concept of “meaningful coincidences”. His hypothesis was inspired by an incident during the interview of one of his patients. The woman was describing her dream, in which, a golden scarab beetle was an important character. Moments later, an actual golden scarab insect flew into his office. The good doctor was amazed because golden scarabs are apparently quite rare in Switzerland.
Jung was also an afficianado of parapsychology. He was said to believe in astrology, clairvoyance, ESP, spiritualism, telekinesis, and telepathy. So, through those paranormal filters, Jung assembled his thoughts around the interesting appearance of the insect at the same time of his patient’s psychotherapy session.
The doctor didn’t believe the incident was a simple coincidence. Instead, he projected the appearance of the bug by the use of his “amplification method”. That is, dream elements are symbols. They derive from cultural ideas that can best be interpreted by folklore, mythology, and religion. Jung stated that only exceptional cases ought to be interpreted by this “amplification method”. Apparently, the insect incident qualified.
Jung associated the golden scarab with the death and rebirth ideas of ancient Egypt. He said the patient was experiencing a “block” in the renewal of her personality. He believed this block was the cause of the patient’s neurosis. Because the psychological phenomenon and the physical incident involved symbology from ancient Egyptian mythology, Jung went on to tag the event as a “significant coincidence”.
Later, Carl Jung studied reports of other cases of significant coincidence and came up with his idea of “synchronicity”. He went on to co-author a book by the same name with Nobel laureate Wolfgang Pauli. Which is the book I ended up taking home from the public library in the Spring of 1983.
Whether or not you place much stock in the writings of Carl Jung or paranormal topics, coincidence and synchronicity remain as exciting, invigorating aspects of our mental environment. Coincidences happen. Just how much meaning you place on them is entirely up to you. Personally, I think they are times when I awaken from the day to day routine. Whenever I have had synchronicity moments, I’ve thought of them as winks from the universe. I make note of them in my diary and look for patterns that I need to pay attention to.
The Blue Jay of Happiness has this Carl Jung quotation for your consideration: “We often dream about people from whom we receive a letter by the next post. I have ascertained on several occasions that at the moment when the dream occurred the letter was already lying in the post-office of the addressee.”