Synchronicity -- Carl Jung Synchronicity Is a Book Report

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Synchronicity -- Carl Jung

Synchronicity is a term that C.G. Jung (Carl Jung) used to describe the simultaneous occurrence of two events that become connected because they bring about a "meaningful coincidence" (Jung, 1951, p. 90). Examples of synchronicity will be presented in this paper. Jung is the internationally respected Swiss psychiatrist who founded the school of analytical psychiatry and authored a number of books, including: Dreams; Red Book; Psychological Types; The Undiscovered Self; Psychology and Alchemy; Answer to Job; Mysterium Coniunctionis; and Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle. The book Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle will be the primary source for this paper; also, this paper will also use Chapter 5 from the book Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal as well.

What is Synchronicity?

In the book Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, Jung takes time to explain what "acausal" means. One dictionary simply explains that "acausal" means something has no cause; in another, acausal refers to something that is not governed or operating according to the laws of cause and effect. For Jung, he writes that people will "…look around in vain in the macro-physical world for acausal events," and the reason they will be so hard to find is that humans can't imagine events that are "…connected non-causally" and that are capable of a "non-casual explanation" (Jung, 2013, p. 8).

However, Jung continues, just because acausal events are not visible doesn't mean they do not exist; the existence of acausal events follows "…logically from the premise of statistical truth," he explains. And because inquiring into acausal events is not possible (albeit "regular events" which are repeated can be investigated) -- because dealing with "ephemeral events which leave no demonstrable traces…except fragmentary memories" are usually witnessed by a single person, and even if several people witnessed an ephemeral event it would likely not be believed (Jung, 8). In other words, empirical science will likely never be able to deny or prove rare, ephemeral events, but in his research Jung sought a "general field" where "acausal events are not only possible but are found to be actual facts" (Jung, 10).

The field he is referring to is a "…immeasurably wide field" which he calls the world of "chance," and in that world a "chance event" appears to be "casually unconnected with the coinciding fact" (Jung, 10). What he is getting at here is that there are certainly any number of incidents that could be defined as "chance," but what about incidents whose "chancefulness seems open to doubt"? From this point Jung offers a "chance" event that has more to it than what would be considered pure chance.
It was the first of April, 1949, a Friday, and fish were served for lunch. A series of events ("chance" for sure, but ironic events) followed that one could call acausal or synchronicity. That afternoon a former patient of Jung's showed up (he hadn't seen him in many months) with some paintings he had done of fish. That evening someone brought embroidery with "fish-like monsters" in the design, and the next morning (April 2) another patient that he had not seen for "many years" showed up and explained a vivid dream she had. This former patient dreamed she was standing on the shore of a lake and there was "…a large fish that swam straight towards her and landed at her feet" (Jung, 14). Before these events began happening, Jung had been conducting research on how the fish symbol emerged in history (the symbol that is often used to represent Christianity).'

His suspicion (following this series of "chance" events) was that these represented an "acausal connection" and so he decided these could be identified as a "meaningful coincidence" (Jung, 14). The events "…made a considerable impression on me," he writes (14). They could not have happened "by mere chance," he explained, however he adds that the normal explanation most people would come up with is that those fish-themed incidents were "lucky hits and do not require acausal interpretation" (15).

Jung notes that the astronomer Flammarion -- who, on the one hand, wrote that the odds of a person having a telepathic experience was 1 in 804 million, but….....

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