Synchronicity

So, synchronicity — it’s not just a 1983 album released by rock band The Police (although it is that, too)…

Like several other intriguing concepts, this one comes to us from the fertile mind of Carl Gustav Jung.

C. G. Jung himself...
C. G. Jung himself…

Synchronicity involves a perceived connection among two or more events, despite those events sharing no discernible cause/effect kind of relationship.

Here’s an example…

Say you’re a kid in high school.  Your English teacher assigns the book “Lord of the Flies” to several classes, including yours.  Later that day, in three different conversations that you stumble across, people are talking about “Lord of the Flies.”  Is this synchronicity?  Not especially, no, as there’s a clear cause for the sudden preponderance of references to the book: namely, a bunch of people just got obligated to read it for class.  No big mystery or surprise, then, that it would feature in various chats in your vicinity.  However…

Let’s now say that you’re that same kid in high school…only no teacher in your school has ever assigned “Lord of the Flies.”  In fact, let’s say you barely know what that title refers to, aside from it being some book or other that’s considered a “classic,” whatever that might mean.  But then say that one day, you’re on your way to school, and someone is talking about it on the bus behind you…  Then while you’re at school, you hear one English teacher recommending it to another as a book that should be required reading.  Later on, after you’ve arrived home, you catch a rerun of an old “Simpsons” episode that your mom, wandering by the TV set, points out is making clear and obvious references to “Lord of the Flies.”  That’s three distinct references to this book all in one day, and in this scenario, there’s no causal event to explain them all appearing in such close proximity to each other (that is, no teacher assigned the book to the people talking about it, and those people aren’t really even connected to each other, aside from being in your orbit in general).  Now that’s synchronicity!

"Lord of the Flies" -- what might repeated, unexplained and seemingly unconnected references to this book mean...?  (artwork by Greg Capullo on deviantART)
“Lord of the Flies” — what might repeated, unexplained, and seemingly unconnected references to this book mean…? (artwork by Greg Capullo on deviantART)

So what could you, as this high school kid, take from all this?  If this is synchronicity, okay, great…but what does it mean?  Does it mean anything, or is it just a weird coincidence, barely worth noticing?

Well, that all depends on you.  Me?  I take this kind of thing very seriously.  In fact, I believe that synchronicities such as this are a very primary way through which the Universe speaks to us.  Synchronicity is a message delivery system for us…it’s like the red Bat-Phone that Commissioner Gordon uses to contact the Caped Crusader.  The trick is in spotting the synchronicities as they come, and then knowing how to interpret them.  Some people would just dismiss such occurrences out of hand as mere coincidence, sure…but others (like me…) don’t really believe very much in the concept of coincidence to begin with.  I kind of feel that what we call “coincidence” really refers to examples of us simply not being able to recognize the greater overarching patterns in things (think of it this way: being in this world is like being a spider sitting on a vast tapestry — you’re usually too close to even understand that the tapestry is telling a story with its images in general, much less grasp what that specific story and what those specific images are…).

But this is all down to the individual.  Do you have room in your philosophy for things like this “Lord of the Flies” hypothetical representing synchronicities rife with meaning for you?  Or is it all “just coincidence,” ultimately dismissible…?

If you find yourself falling into the former camp — the synchronicity camp — what, then, do synchronicities mean?  What does the “Lord of the Flies” one mean?

Through synchronistic appearances, this book and what it represents could be attempting to supply answers to a question you didn't even know you were asking (sadly, I've been unable to determine who created this intriguing image...)...
Through synchronistic appearances, this book and what it represents could be attempting to supply answers to a question you didn’t even know you were asking (sadly, I’ve been unable to determine who created this intriguing image…)…

I approach these kinds of synchronistic phenomena the way I approach more intentional bouts of divination: that is, I look at what’s been going on for me lately in my life, and then I view the synchronicity itself as if it’s a sort of Tarot card or Rune or other occult symbol that I’d drawn in response to asking about my situation.  So if I was in the shoes of that suddenly “Lord of the Flies”-peppered student at Hypothetical High, I’d first look into the notion that it could be that this is all a case of the Universe telling me that I’ve reached a point in my life at which I simply need to read this book…that maybe it holds a lot of meaning and wisdom that will be very important for me at this particular juncture in my development.  That’s just in general…

Next, I’d dig into some of the primary themes and symbols in the book.  Do I have a need to contemplate some possible predisposition toward savagery inherent in humankind?  Or would I benefit from pondering whether our Earth and our “civilization” are really no more than a bunch of scared and precariously balanced children lost on a small island with no rescue in sight?

And then the specific symbols: the conch shell that the kids use to signify order in their meetings…the eyeglasses worn by the youngster nicknamed “Piggy,” which could be taken to represent civility, or some measure of a more refined intelligence, and which serve as the only reliable means the children have for starting fires on the island…the “Lord of the Flies” itself, the pig’s head placed upon a stake by the dark-souled boy, Jack, as a despoiled perversion of life used as an offering to “the beast” (evil itself, “the Devil”)…  It could be that synchronistic references to this book are flagging one or more of these symbols for me, and that in studying them or meditating upon them, I can glean wisdom that will be very relevant for me within the context of my present circumstances.

Is there coincidence in this world?  Or does "coincidence" actually signify some greater design...?
Is there coincidence in this world? Or does “coincidence” actually signify some greater design…?

So if you do feel open to the idea that the Universe sometimes essentially pulls Tarot cards or Runes or other divinatory symbols for you just out of the goodness of its ethereal heart, then you can try to keep your eyes and ears open, and your antennae extended, so that you can pick up on those synchronistic messages.  It can take some practice, and it’s always possible to get a bit overenthusiastic, and start seeing messages in everything for a while, but with that aforementioned practice, you can become pretty adept at spotting instances of synchronicity, and even deciphering their meanings.  It can actually become a real source of joy and fun in your days, too!

Oh, and by the way, that Police album isn’t a bad set of tunes, either…

4 comments

  1. I agree with you! Excellent post and very well-written. I’ve also encountered this phenomena in song lyrics, magazine articles, words spoken by characters in television shows, on a display in the supermarket or even a bumper sticker on a car that suddenly catches my eye. I believe in synchronicity. It’s been proven far too often for me to ever consider it simple coincidence. When we ‘open our inner eyes’, we see the real truth in our lives.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Rosewyn…and I’m totally with you on all those different conduits for synchronicity that you mention! These cool little messages can show up anywhere and everywhere once we — as you say — open those inner eyes…

  2. Thank you for this lovely post, which I am discovering 2 years late. Do you happen to know if the image of the two hands clasped with the painted-on globe is in the public domain?

    • Hi, Mary — thanks so much for the kind words! You know, you probably found this post — about synchronicity, no less! — exactly when you needed to find it. 😉 And to be honest, I wasn’t as conscientious about image-grabbing when I was a new blogger back then, and I don’t remember where I found the one you’re asking about. These days, I either take my own photos, or I use one of the sites that sticks exclusively to public domain goods, but I honestly don’t recall where I dug this one up, and my search after you asked about it didn’t yield any helpful info, I’m afraid…

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