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Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker and the founder of analytical psychology (also known as Jungian psychology). Jung's radical approach to psychology has been influential in the field of depth psychology and in counter-cultural movements across the globe. Jung is considered as the first modern psychologist to state that the human psyche is "by nature religious" and to explore it in depth. His many major works include "Analytic Psychology: Its Theory and Practice," "Man and His Symbols," "Memories, Dreams, Reflections," "The Collected Works of Carl G. Jung," and "The Red Book."
_Synchronicity_ is one of Jung's longer and better known essays. It contains fascinating accounts of paranormal phenomenon, such as ESP, and Jung provides numerous examples and well-organized scientific data to prove the existence of psychokinesis and telepathy. Such apparently miraculous phenomena are presumably the result of a purely subjective universe, in which seemingly concrete and objective happenings are created and altered within the confines of our individual subjective psyche. Jung provides compelling evidence to prove this phenomenon of subjective psychic control over the outside, physical world; in the ESP experiments he cited, subjects were placed hundreds of miles away from the site of the experiment (in which a sequence of five different images were randomly uncovered and recorded), and asked to guess the sequence of images days and even weeks later. Most subjects were able to guess what the images were at a rate that was statistically determined to be astronomically improbable. By conducting the experiments in this manner, researchers were able to prove that, not only does ESP exist, it is NOT an energetic, kinetic, or physical phenomenon in the traditional sense. The separation in time and space between the experimenter and the subject proves that ESP is not a phenomenon that can be attributed to wave motion or spacial transmission. It is a purely subjective and psychic phenomenon. The highlight of this book, however, is Jung's discussion of Tao. Jung compares his synchronistic theory to the ideas of MEANINGFULNESS and HARMONY in the philosophy of Tao. Ideas like ESP and psychokinesis help bolster Taoism's theory of the inherent harmony and intelligent, purposeful design underlying the universe.Read more ›
Frankly, I usually avoid reading scholarly monographs like the plague, let alone reviewing them. The only reason that I am making an exception in this case is that I suspect that this is one of the most profoundly meaningful papers written in the modern era. Jung must have thought so also, for he knew that he was most likely sacrificing his professional standing among "serious" scientists if he published.
To cut to the chase, this paper in proposing an "acausal connecting principle" actually: 1) shows that there is a legitimate alternative to the materialistic, mechanistic world view of modern science, and 2) shows that there is MEANING inherent in the universe. Think about it, in one paper he set in motion the dethrowning of the godless, meaningless, clockwork universe of modern science. He never rejects basic scientific principles, he just shows that there is demonstrably MORE to it. This is a paper that moves to correct a profound imbalance in the collective consciousness of modern man. This paper reconnects us with the mindset of Pythagoras and Plato- men perfectly capable of applying reason, experimental method, and mathematics, yet also knowing that there is meaning in omens, in dreams, in the direct mystical experience.
You are looking for a book that explains the inexplicable. You know, those little moments where your mind tells you that what just happened implies something more than what it seems to be, that there are forces at work beyond the boring mechanistic view whith which we are led to believe our lives exist. You are looking for a book that describes your life as more meaningful than you fear it might be. Carl Jung's "Synchronicity" may be just that book:~)
What Jung sets out to describe in "Synchronicity" is proof that there is a higher degree of meaningful coincidences in our Universe than probability allows for. His chief pieces of evidence are the Zenor Card experiments carried out by J.B. Rhine in the 1930s and 40s, and his own "Astrological Experiment." Following these two pieces of evidence, Jung touches on the history of intellectuals who have tried to explain the very same thing he sets out to explain, and here he draws heavily on the I Ching.
"Synchronicity" was a book that I was very interested in reading, but now that I've read it, I am wondering exactly what it is that I've just read (and whether I learned anything from it). Jung takes as proof the quantum idea that even at its most fundamental level, our Universe behaves in "non-linear" acausal ways. He draws on the scientific ideas of Einstein and Pauli in order to make psychic generalizations for the way the human mind and the imagination works.
The ideas are fascinating to consider, but may be all but impossible to prove. Some of the examples Jung uses to illustrate acausal "meaningful coincidence" behavior are startling. My only word of caution with this book is that it might be a little too dense for some readers.Read more ›
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Jung's "Synchronicity" is an essay about those moments when everything just seems to come together. Jung defined synchronicity as "the coincidence in time of two or more causally unrelated events which have the same meaning". Synchronicity is a cluster of meaningful patterns that normal cause and effect has not caused. Synchronicity is acausal. Beyond cause as we know it. A bridge between the known and the unknown, between the conscious and the unconscious. Though there have been others from the West that have expanded upon Jung's thoughts concerning synchronicity this is still a very good place to start. For further reading I would suggest looking to Jean Shinoda Bolen and F. David Peat, among others. For an Oriental perspective regarding acausality, synchronicity, may I suggest the "I Ching" and "Tao Te Ching". Lao Tzu, the author of "Tao Te Ching", is the father of Taoism. As Barbara Marx Hubbard has said, "The spiral of our evolutionary progress is turning back in time to reconnect with the great sage Lao Tzu". Taoism is a way of life that attempts to live in harmony with the unity of the universe by following the natural grain of things, of going with the flow. Wisdom is timeless and knows no bounds.
In "Synchronicity" Jung was trying to describe to the Western mind, his own included, the phenomenon of the alignment of universal forces with one's own life experiences. Much like Quantum Physics, Jungian Pyschology was beginning to leave behind the mechanistic universe of the 18th and 19th Centuries and starting to view reality as an organic whole. Our leading thinkers were becoming more than mere observers, they were becoming participants. Objectivity and subjectivity were merging. There are no lines of demarcation in nature, rather there are merely areas of confluence.Read more ›