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Part 1 is engaging but a little dull. Part 2, which is the socalled simple astrological experiment Jung conducted to test his theory, is all statistical math and thus incomprehensible to me. But the Parts 3 and 4 addressing similarities between Synchronicity and certain aspects of the world as explained in Laotzu’s Tao Teh Ching, not to mention parallels with Virgil, Agrippa, Synesius, Kepler, Hippocrates and Schopenhauer, is alone worth the price of the book. I have always been fascinated by Carl Jung and the concept of synchronicity, or meaningful coincidence. This was the first book I had ever read by him though I had read several books about him. I must say that thought the famous psychiatrist and writer of the soul and this topic are truly compelling, reading Jung himself is difficult in that his language is awkward and not written for a general lay audience. It is a difficult and cumbersome read and I do not recommend it unless you are someone in the field of psychology or a scientist. For those interested in Carl Jung and this topic I have heard from several people that it is best to read books about him than by him to truly understand his work.

In this book Jung was attempting to show how synchronicity works with the psyche, to prove its existence. I could not understand it as the language was too awkward and hard to follow. I am on a mission to find a book about this author and this subject that can explain it well for a general audience. I will share it when I find it!

Jung had noted in his life a tendency for certain meaningful coincidences to cluster together. He gives an account of an experience regarding fish (meaningful as an archetypal symbol), where he either saw an actual fish, is told about a fish, sees a drawing of a fish, etc, all within a short space of time. The likelihood of such a clustering happening is incredibly improbable; and because these incidences couldn't have been attributable to a specific cause, he saw them as acausal, but still pointing to some meaningful connection between them. Jung termed this kind of occurrence synchronicity.

This book recounts some experiments regarding synchronicity and his rationale behind the theory. Jung discusses astrology, the I Ching, and various other subjects that are seemingly relevant. In my own life, I have experienced similar meaningful coincidences regularly. I concur that synchronicity is a genuine occurrence. My conviction is that these are usually indicative of a spiritual substrate to reality. I feel the same way about archetypes.

One thing I wanted to comment on here is a story that Jung relates on page 2728. Jung notes that interesting details may become slightly confused in occurrences of synchronicity. What's interesting is that people have a tendency to confuse the exact same detail. The term Jung uses is paramnesia. Upon investigation, I found that this term goes back to the psychologist Emil Kraepelin, and was used to describe a condition where a subject may confuse, or misremember, some detail when fantasy or delusion is influencing the memory. Jung relates a story here about how a name, Ericepaeus, that showed up in an Orphic text he was studying, he repeatedly misread as Ericapeaus. A woman he was treating had a dream where someone handed her a piece of paper and it had the name Ericipaeus written on it. Obviously, it is interesting that this woman patient had a dream relating directly to Jung's studies, but equally interesting is that she also made an error regarding the fifth letter of the name, just as he had. In the actual text, the letter was an E. Jung misread that letter as an A, and the woman misread it as an I. Jung found it interesting that the mistake was regarding the same letter. I think Jung stumbled on to something profound here. I think the current hype regarding the Mandela Effect is an example of a mass delusion, but it does point to some tendency of the human mind to mistake the same details across swaths of the population. One of the socalled examples of the Mandela Effect is that many people remember the series of children's books titled The Berenstain Bears as the Bernstein Bears. I too remember it as the Bernstein Bears. One should probably keep in mind that both variants are related Jewish surnames. Bernstein is the far more common variant, and that could easily explain the mass confusion. Whatever the case, it does point to the human mind having memory issues when it has recourse to variants; often choosing a simpler variant when given the choice. This does seem to happen unconsciously. Almost all Mandela Effect examples seem to relate to this issue of paramnesia. What is incredibly strange is that when this tendency is finally noticed by the population at large, instead of attributing the issue to an error in the human mind, people would rather explain it as an error of reality and the universe. I think we can Occam's razor any such explanation right off the table. As I said, I think the hype regarding the Mandela Effect is an example of mass delusion, but Jung pointed to its roots in synchronicity and paramnesia. I think the solution is to be found there.

I think this book is incredibly interesting. Jung was not opposed to investigating subjects like the paranormal and the occult. Certainly, synchronicity would fall into such a category. Nevertheless, I attest to the occurrences that it addresses personally. I think this is an essential work of Jung and recommend it as such. Firstly, I have never written such a long review before, so brace yourself.

Secondly, this book is nothing short of a fascinating read, despite its flaws.

It is important to mention that Jung was apparently fascinated by Einstein's theory of relativity and the idea that time and space are relative and only become factual when observed consciously, Schopenhauer's attempt at illustrating two modes of events, the first being causal chains and the second, and more relevant to Jung's idea of synchronicity, being the meaningful crossconnection (“...a subjective connection which exists only in relation to the individual who experiences it, and which is thus as subjective as his own dreams.”) and Lebniz's idea of preestablished harmony.

Having that in mind, It is also important to say that Jung's term “synchronicity” is different from “synchronism” and means “the simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychic state with one or more external events which appear as meaningful parallels to the momentary subjective state.”

From several experiments (the one conducted by Rhine, for example) Jung arrives at the idea that “chance” ideas “reveal the structure of that which produces them, namely the unconscious”, thus implying that meaningful coincidences rests on an archetypal foundation and are made meaningful by the activation of the collective unconscious.

Based on his personal observations and with the help of experiments, Jung theorizes that the collective unconscious has in itself a sort of determinizm of events, a priori knowledge of them (which he likeness to Leibniz's preestablished harmony, meaning, an absolute synchronism of psychic and physical events) and in certain objective situations the unconscious (when it is strengthened) “sends” to the conscious (which is weakened, and with it, so are the common concepts of time and space) a sorf of “omen” in the form of a dream, premonition or else. Thus leading to the assumption that “Synchronistic phenomena (...) prove that a content perceived by an observer can, at the same time, be represented by an outside event, without any causal connection. From this it follows either that the psyche cannot be localized in space, or that space is relative to psyche. The same applies to the temporal determination of the psyche and the psychic relativity of time.”

Jung also dedicates a whole chapter on the forerunners of the idea of synchronicity, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It includes musings on the nature of the Tao, its “nothingness” and analysis of ideas expressed by Hippocrates, Plotinus, Pico della Mirandola, Agrippa von Nettesheim, Leibniz, Kepler and above all, Plato.

And now, for the elephant in the room. Yes, Rhine's experiments are heavily doubted, there is no denying that and there is a lot of literature on the subject, if one is interested. As for Jung's own experiment, even he says that it is “too arbitrary” and “too clumsy”. But it is important to keep in mind that the subject considered is hard, if not impossible, to empirically prove because of the need of abaissement mental, which “tips the scales in favour of the unconscious” and is hard to produce in a strictly conducted experiment. I mostly read Jung as a philosopher, so I am not really that bothered by his notsoclearlyobservedexperiments. In spite of all objections, what Jung brings to the table, is a very novel idea and it is definitely worth considering.

In the end, this book gave me a lot of food for thought and made me understand myself, how I view and understand the world, and what I believe in, a little bit more (isn't this what we all strive for, after all?) and I greatly appreciate that.


[ Free Epub ] ☿ Synchronizität als ein Prinzip akausaler Zusammenhänge ☼
Extracted From VolumeA Parapsychological Study Of The Meaningful Coincidence Of Events, Extrasensory Perception, And Similar Phenomena
Jung's concept of synchronicity (i.e. acausal nonlocal meaningful coincidence) is presented with a beautiful calm and eloquence.

My reading of the book was motivated by a recent strikingly synchronistic experience of my own. And it seems to me that my actual reading of the book is somehow, in turn, entangled with both this earlier synchronistic experience and also with subsequent events and experiences...

I purposefully use the word "entangled" because I'm quite open to the possibility that a connection may one day be revealed between Jung's synchronicity and the acausal & nonlocal features of quantum mechanics. The sympathy with which Jung's ideas were apparently received by Wolfgang Pauli suggests to me that he too may have felt this way. MINDBLOWN!

In the course of the last 9 months I've become very familiar with the concept of Synchronicity from my own experience. Slowly I began noticing it, then there was a phase when I thought it was all just a false impression, then it became too obvious to deny it and after the first quirky phases of acceptance I've made friends with it. Sure, each of those events could easily be attributed to chance or some psychological bias, but when the peculiarity and unlikeliness grows and the frequency often goes beyond reasonable count (sometimes even 34 per day), it is simply inexplicable in the more conventional materialistic causality terms. At one hand I am quite reluctant to speak about these experiences, mostly because of all the stigma it is associated with, but on the other hand I would just like to go on the highest roof and scream about every time it happened.

In that regard I am very happy that Jung gave it a very loud and clear scientific voice that should silence down anyone still dwelling on the "Dawkins delusion". The book is far from being easy to read, some preexisting knowledge on brain anatomy, Jungian psyche concepts (unconsciousness, anima, animus, the Self, the Ego, etc...) and eastern philosophy (Tao and I Ching) would come handy.

But the real beauty of this book is not only that it challenges the orthodox reductive way of thinking in Western science, but it also provides a very potent alternative in a form of a modernized Tao philosophy. The principle of causality and materialism by implications carries in the idea of linearity. But if one is willing to let go of that and embrace the idea of Tao, which posits that the whole is included into each part, and that each part carries the whole within it, much like a multi dimensional fractal, where not just properties of space and matter are distributed in such way, but also time itself (try to imagine a multi dimensional spacetimematter Mandelbrot set), then the Synchronicity phenomenon becomes much more trivial and actually inevitable. The reason we find these events "unthinkable" is hence not so much in the nature of the event itself, but in the nature of our concept of "thinkability". It is an epistemological problem. :)

That is my understanding, in a nutshell... There is much more to be found in the book, with many more details and even empirical data. Jung just can't disappoint a curious person. This work by Jung is a fascinating look at the subjective experience of being a human mind in a physical universe. He begins the book with the following statements:

1) Natural laws are statistical truths, which means that they are completely valid only when we are dealing with macrophysical quantities.

2) The philosophical principle that underlies our conception of natural law is causality.

3) Their [Acausal events] existenceor at least their possibilityfollows logically from the premise of statistical truth.

4) But if the causal principle is only relatively valid, then it follows that even though in the vast majority of cases an apparently chance series can be causally explained, there must still remain a number of cases which do not show any causal connection.

5) Chance groupings or series seem, at least to our present way of thinking, to be meaningless, and to fall as a general rule within the limits of probability.

6) Should this proof (of acausal events exceeding the limits of probability) be forthcoming, however, it would prove at the same time that there are genuinely noncausal combinations of events for whose explanation we should have to postulate a factor incommensurable with causality.

7) Because of this quality of simultaneity, I have picked the term "synchronicity" to designate a hypothetical factor equal in rank to causality as a principle of explanation.

8) Meaningful coincidenceswhich are to be distinguished from meaningless chance groupingstherefore seem to rest on an archetypal foundation.

From this basis Jung explores paraphychology, astrology from an archetypal basis, the I Ching and other forms of divination, neardeath experiences, and radioactive decay. From this and in discussion with Wolfgang Pauli he formulated the tetradic schema of our quantum based physical existence: Indestructible EnergyCausalitySynchronicitySpace Time Continuum.

We are all aware of both meaningless and meaningful coincidences in our daily lives. They are the basis for surprises and superstition, and decision making. For instance, in business we deal with staffing issues in the retail environment. Managers determine by experience and analysis the number of employees needed to serve the average number of customers that will enter the store. However, we also know that they come in random clusters or retail statistical fluctuations that necessitate additional personnel to maintain customer service levels and avoid losses in sales during these surges. These represent meaningless coincidences but ones which we must prepare for.

As a reader I often experience what seem like meaningful coincidences like a new vocabulary word suddenly occurring in each new text I read. Or picking up books in my library that I have owned for years that I only now feel are relevant for the zeitgeist. Perhaps these are instances of awareness but I often wonder at their significance.

However, I decided to write this review today because I feel I am in the midst of a synchronous experience. At three in the morning of November 10th of this year, the town of Marlinton (the countyseat of a neighboring county) began to burn and lost a block of its business district due to constant winds that made it impossible for the firefighters to contain the blaze. That morning I awoke to learn of this ongoing event and to also learn it was the anniversary of the wreak of the Edmund Fitzgerald which as the song reminds us occurred "...when the gales of November come early". Unable to sleep in the early morning hours of the 11th of November I picked up "The Skrayling Tree" by Michael Moorcock, a writer who incorporates the archetypes of Dr. Jung as the basis for his fantasy multiverse. As I turned to Chapter Two of the book I was stunned by its title: "On the Shores of Gitche Gumee"the Chippewa name for Lake Superior where the men of the Edmund Fitzgerald lost their lives. Are these meaningful coincidences, a synchronicity?

If you are interested in science of synchronicity or the role of archetypes in the mystic arts you should read this insightful work by one of the great thinkers of psychology and the nature of the human experience.

The best part: the explanation of why meaningful coincidences are, indeed, meaningfulbecause all our lines of connection come from the same source. Jung also explains why his theory goes beyond the "primitive" idea of assumed belief in the meaningfulness of events (e.g. believing disease occurred because one is being punished, etc.), as well as the Chinese idea in the Tao and the belief in the whole vs. the detail (which is generally what Jung's idea of synchronicity is): it's simply because he's framing it within the realm of western scientific thought. One of the effects of this is his argument that western thought is rooted too much in the idea of "causality," and so "synchronicity" is a kind of western challenge to the idea of causality.

I personally would add two thoughts to Jung's discussion:

1) Rather than a globe which has longitudinal lines which begin at the same source (which, it could be said, is God) and latitudinal lines which illustrate events which connect individuals as they go along their individual paths, I think the diagram should be more a bunch of lines starting at one source which all have erratic shapes and whose coincidental "collisions" are represented as specific intersections between the actual lines.
2) I think it's important to think about whether or not it is true that if a whole society thinks more in terms of synchronicity, that it actually becomes more true. For example, I feel that in Asian societies where people collectively believe more in their interconnectedness, one might actually experience more strange coincidences than they would experience in a society that did not think that way. Thus, even the existence of synchronicity is relative to the belief of a group. Similarly, in the US, our beliefs in pushing the individual will and thought over the top has literally proven to birth more innovation. Unbeknownst even to his biographers, C.G. Jung was an obsessive fan of The Police: the popular British rock band active in the 1970s and 80s and known for such hits as “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic”, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”, and “Message in a Bottle”.

Mesmerized by the hypnotic drumming of Stewart Copeland, the iconic, raspy vocals of Sting, and the captivating guitar riffs of Andy Summers, Jung would use the trio’s music as an aid for his active imagination sessions, whereby he would plumb the depths of the unconscious for selfknowledge. He studied the group’s music—as he did the work of Paracelsus, Hermes Trismegistus, Pico della Mirandola, and Jacob Boehme—to acquire insight into such matters as the connectivity of cosmos and psyche, the archetypes of the collective unconscious, and the relation of alchemical symbolism to the individuation process.

Though his studies of The Police were immensely fruitful, Jung was perplexed by two songs from the group’s celebrated corpus: “Synchronicity I” and “Synchronicity II”. Finding the meaning of the lyrics impenetrable, he spent the final years of his life rifling franticly through ancient manuscripts looking for clues. What he discovered astonished him: in the two “Synchronicity” songs, Sting was developing a new theory about the nature of reality to compliment Einstein’s relativity theory.

The “triad of classical physics”—space, time, and causality—was missing a fourth principle necessary for a wholistic understanding of nature. Sting identified this “missing” principle as that of synchronicity; defined as connections of meaning (rather than physical cause and effect) deriving from an original or preexisting unity of nature. Whereas Einstein unified space and time, commonly thought of as separate factors, into the composite of spacetime, Sting thought a similar metaconcept was needed to articulate the essential unity of causality and synchronicity, the two connective principles.

If the trinitarian logic of exclusion and distinction were replaced with a more wholistic, quaternal conception of reality, Jung thought, the mystical wisdom of the ancients and the empirical science of the moderns could be reconciled within a complete map of reality. Of course, this longing for the inclusion of a fourth into a preexisting three was a projection of Jung’s desire to become the fourth member of The Police, and his disappointment at being rejected by the band because they had no need of a marimbist.

The idea of synchronicity—the notion that our psychological conceptions of meaning have some correlate “out there” in the physical world because meaning is as “natural” as cause and effect—was the assumed worldview of virtually every premodern thinker, from Lao Tzu to Leibniz, and was only denied its legitimacy in the West in the eighteenth century, when empiricallyverifiable causality became the exclusive principle of European natural science.

Compare Sting’s “Synchronicity I” to Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching.

Sting defines synchronicity:

”With one breath, with one flow
You will know
Synchronicity[…]

A connecting principle,
Linked to the invisible
Almost imperceptible
Something inexpressible.
Science insusceptible
Logic so inflexible
Causally connectible
Yet nothing is invincible[…]

Effect without a cause
Subatomic laws, scientific pause
Synchronicity”

Lao Tzu defines the Tao:

”There is something formless yet complete
That existed before heaven and earth.
How still! how empty!
Dependent on nothing, unchanging,
All pervading, unfailing.
One may think of it as the mother of all things
under heaven.
I do not know its name,
But I call it “Meaning.”
If I had to give it a name, I should call it ‘The Great.’”

The similarities speak for themselves. Even if we do not accept The Police’s theory of synchronicity outright, we must take it at least as seriously as I took the writing of this review. My props to Dr. Jung for his remarkable work of pop music criticism.