Synchronicity

I’ve always appreciated Carl Jung’s theory of synchronicity, which suggests that there is such thing as “meaningful coincidences.” According to Jung, meaningful coincidences are events that have no causal relationship, yet appear to be meaningfully related. Essentially, he believed that it was possible for events to be connected by meaning rather than causality.

As one website further explains:

“Jung believed that many experiences perceived as coincidence were due not merely to chance, but instead potentially reflected the manifestation of coincidental events or circumstances consequent to the governing dynamic of the collective unconscious.”

Bearing this in mind, it’s not surprising to learn that Jung believed in many paranormal notions, including telepathy, telekinesis and ESP. And it’s not surprising that his theory of synchronicity has more or less been rejected as unscientific, dismissed as an example of apophenia.

Now, I’m not 100% on board with Jung’s concept of synchronicity. I don’t, for example, believe that acausal events are connected materially in any way. In other words, I believe that when we experience events and identify them as synchronistic, it’s entirely subjective. These events are not connected outside of ourselves, which is to say that they’re only connected because we decide they are internally.

And I think that’s okay. I think there’s still value in that.

As someone who doesn’t believe in a higher power or fate or reincarnation or life after death or universal meaning, and yet who still desires to live a meaningful life, I value experiences like synchronicity that compel me to pay attention and further analyze the world that I inhabit.

It’s the same reason I like knowing my MBTI type (INFJ) and my astrological sign (Leo). I’m well aware of the arguments against both, and I take them with a grain of salt; but I still find value in them because they encourage me to self-reflect in new ways. I understand the potential danger in this: There’s the chance that some people, among examining their MBTI type or astrological sign, may feel less secure in their identities or even begin to subconsciously take on certain personality traits that have been assigned to them. In my case, I believe that I’m aware enough of these dangers to avoid them.

My personal philosophy is derived most extensively from existentialist thinkers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Friedrich Nietzsche. I believe that the universe is indifferent, and that it is up to each of us as individuals to seek and create meaning for ourselves while we’re here. If an experience is only meaningful if I choose to assign meaning to it, then I don’t see the harm in acknowledging moments that feel like what Jung called synchronicity. Those moments are meaningless on a material level, yes, but if they make me think and feel and analyze in ways that I wouldn’t have otherwise, then I welcome them.

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Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre

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3.5/5 Stars.

Re-read this bad boy for the first time in about 10 years. There’s no question about it: Camus is the better philosophical novelist. Though there’s still a lot of value in being exposed to some of Sartre’s core beliefs in digestible novel form as opposed to the significant undertaking that is Being and Nothingness.