Synchronicity

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Synchronicity

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Synchronicity (from the Greek syn, meaning “together,” plus chronos, meaning “time”) is a term popularized by the great Swiss psychologist Carl Jung to explain what might be called “meaningful” coincidences. He defined synchronicity as an “acausal (i.e., noncausal) connecting principle.” Jung used synchronicity to refer to connections between events that had no discernible connection. Under normal circumstances, a correlation between two events often indicates that some sort of causal link exists between them. For example, at the time of the first cold snap every year certain birds migrate south. If the same pattern recurs year after year, it can be concluded that event A (cold snap) causes event B (bird migration).

There are correlations, however, with no obvious “causes,” which are normally referred to as coincidences. For example, a person is humming a particular song that suddenly begins to play on the radio.

Where Jung departed most radically from mainstream psychology was to assert that quite often these coincidences are not coincidences; rather, the universe is structured so that such correlations occur all the time, and, further, that while there is no causal connection, these correlations are meaningful. A useful example for understanding “noncausal connections” is the correlation between the time on two clocks: just because they both show the same time, should it be concluded that one exerts some kind of force on the other, causing it to read the same? Obviously not. Similarly, Jung postulated that the universe, for reasons and by processes not yet understood, is set up like clocks that have been set in motion so as to infinitely reflect the same “time.”

Although not always explicitly stated, synchronicity is assumed in certain forms of astrological research. For example, an accepted astrological practice is to assign newly discovered celestial bodies a tentative meaning that can be derived from associations with their name. This initial step is based on the well-established observation that the designations astronomers assign to newly discovered celestial bodies are not coincidental—that by virtue of some sort of non-apparent, synchronistic process, non-astrologically inclined astronomers give astrologically significant names to things.

Some astrologers also adopt synchronicity to explain astrological influence more generally. Rather than limit the scope of synchronicity to the exploration of the meaning of new celestial bodies, they view the relationship between the stars and human life as two clocks that read the same time. This contrasts with the view that astrological influence is a “force” exerted by the planets and other celestial bodies that is radiated to Earth like the forces of gravity or electromagnetism.

Sources:

Brau, Jean-Louis, Helen Weaver, and Allan Edmands. Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: New American Library, 1980.

Synchronicity

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Synchronicity is a term coined by Carl Jung to mean the simultaneous occurrence of two separate and dissimilar events which are then found to be related. The two events cannot be attributed to the cause and effect theory but are rather a simultaneous blending together in an inexplicable yet highly meaningful way. Jung explored the theory in his book (written with W. Pauli) The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche (London, 1955). Synchronicity seems to be far more than just coincidence.

Sources:

Bletzer, June G.: The Encyclopedia Psychic Dictionary. Lithia Springs: New Leaf, 1998
Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933