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Chance traveler-coincidence or synchronicity?

Updated on February 25, 2015

C.G.Jung

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In excellent short story “Chance traveler” by Haruki Murakami, the writer describes strange events that happened to him and his friend. For example, once, he went to a concert of his favorite jazz band Tommy Flanagan and the trio, but he was not quite satisfied with the performance, as he writes, he missed that “magical glow”. He imagined what two songs he would request if someone would ask him and, in his mind, he chose two very untypical pieces which were not so popular. And guess what? The band played both of them one after another and the chances for that to happen was very, very small to impossible. Is it coincidence or synchronicity?

Cambridge dictionary defines coincidence as “an occasion when two or more similar things happen at the same time, especially in a way that is unlikely and surprising.” David Spiegelhalter, professor at Cambridge University, collects coincidences on understandinguncertainty.org webpage on which everyone can submit their coincidence stories. There is a list of coincidence types: surprising repetition, simultaneous events, parallel lives, uncanny patterns and unlikely chains of events.

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung coined a term “synchronicity” which represents “a meaningful coincidence”- acausal connection between physical and psychological phenomena which challenges the meaning of the coincidence. According to Jung, psyche and nature come together, “falling together in time”. Jung was interested in coincidence from his early ages and synchronicity was inspired by his patient’s dream of a golden scarab which appeared in a psychiatrist cabinet the very next day during the session.

There are two definition of synchronicity. In the narrow sense the synchronicity is “the simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychic state with one or more external events which appear as meaningful parallels to the momentary subjective state. By simultaneous he means within hours or days, but not necessarily at exactly the same moment.” (c4cp.org) And In a broader sense it is “acausal orderedness in the world without special reference to the human psyche. The universe can best be described using four principles: indestructible energy, the space time continuum, causality, and synchronicity.” (c4cp.org)

Some people believe synchronicity is for those people connected with spirituality and astrology, for those who believe in paranormal or for those who are on life turning point so they are searching for hidden connections. On the other hand, those who are rational believe it is just a coincidence!

Everything happens for a reason or is it just a coincidence? Is coincidence just an illusion? In which theory do you believe?

Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see

— C.G. Jung

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    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 

      3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Good post.

      Coincidence or Synchronicity?

      By the way, people who use too much LSD, cocaine, or methamphetamines see synchronicity events all day long. That is because they project their unconscious mind onto the environment and then read what they are seeing as being real. That makes the many environment actions feel like they are made just for you.

      This means you experience yourself at the center of the world, as if the world's actions all somehow relate to you.

      Others make a sort of religion out of this sort of mind game. This is why it's best to stick with "meaningful coincidence."

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