I’m a big fan of the concept of synchronicity, first proposed by Carl Jung, one of the father’s of modern Psychology, and a giant of 20th century science.
Jung proposed that in addition to cause-and-effect there was a second universal principle which he called Synchronicity, or the “meaningful coincidence”. This notion, ironically, goes back to the ancient Chinese, and lies at the root of divination practices such as the I Ching. In using the I Ching, one throws a number of yarrow-sticks, matches, coins or whatever else is handy, and then uses the pattern in which they land to refer to specific passages in the I Ching book that interpret the individual’s current situation in relation to the question he/she wishes to answer, e.g., “Should I take this new job?”, “Should I marry this person?”, etc. While the idea sounds rather arcane to “sophisticated” Westerners, it is not without some merit (at least Jung thought so, and he was no dummy!). Quantum physics teaches us about the ultimate interconnectivity of all matter and energy; Synchronicity basically posits that whatever forces are acting on those yarrow-sticks at the moment you throw them, are the same ones acting on your own life within the context of the Universe.
Jung described the experience with one patient:
“A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me this dream I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window-pane from outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab that one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt an urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment”.
Jung posited that meaningful coincidences should not be dismissed off-hand. They might well provide significant insight into challenges the individual may be facing in their lives, as in the expression: “What is the Universe trying to tell you with this event?.
I had a funny synchronicity event last night. I have become quite the middle-of-the night owl these last few years, getting up at all manner of odd hours to deal with issues rumbling around my mind in my sleep, usually work related ideas or insights that my mind must be working on while I sleep.
Getting up in the middle of the night gives one a unique appreciation of the fact that life goes on all the time; while some sleep, others hunt. One creature’s night is the others day. On any given late night, if you turn off your indoor lights and look outside, you’ll see the denizens of the night skulking through the yard: Skunks digging up the lawn for grubs, raccoons taking their young on a garbage-can hunt, etc. Of course, the occasional car still glides by at 3 AM, and the freight rains rumble through in the distance; evidence that even human beings can also be creatures of the night.
It comforts me to know that there is life all about us, even as we sleep. That thought was pleasantly in my mind as I began to dose off in my bed. I remember thinking how cool it was that as I slept there were so many creatures about just starting their day. Just as I was dosing off, I heard the characteristic high-pitched sound of a mosquito as he plunged his proboscis into the skin of my forehead!
So much for the denizens of the night. I knew that if I left him alone he would feast on my Greek buffet all night. I got up, turned on the light, tracked the little bastard down and crushed him on a wall. Not sure what the Universe was trying to tell me.