Synchronicity refers to the sensation that coincidences are more than just chance.
Carl Jung defined synchronicity as the “acausal connecting principle” – a meaningful coincidence of two or more events that appear to be unrelated but are experienced together.
It means that the events do not have a cause-and-effect relationship, but their occurrence together is seen as having a greater significance or more profound meaning.
Suppose you keep thinking about an old friend you haven’t seen or spoken to in years. Then suddenly, they call you out of the blue.
The abovementioned situations could be an example of synchronicity, as there was no direct cause for your paths to cross again. Still, it could be seen as significant and meaningful regardless.
So, synchronicity is the belief that meaningful coincidences are more than just chance.
Definition of Synchronicity
Synchronicity can be defined scientifically as the meaningful coincidence of two or more events that appear to be unrelated but are experienced together.
Costello (2022) states that synchronicity is a
“…simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection” (p. 108).
The concept is based on the idea that everything in the universe is interconnected and that certain events or occurrences could have deeper meanings.
The goal of synchronicity is to recognize these meaningful coincidences and use them as a way to learn more about ourselves and our environment.
Walbornm (2014) provides a vivid example of synchronicity:
“Uncle had flashbacks of his Vietnam experiences just as he turned on the radio to hear that the United States had declared war on Iraq” (p. 43).
As if somehow being forewarned of the Iraq war stirred up memories from his time in service, the uncle was suddenly blasted with visions of wartime.
In real life, if you suddenly have a vivid dream about an old friend and then they call you out of the blue shortly afterward, this could be an example of synchronicity.
It may signal an opportunity for growth in your relationship or highlight something important about yourself or your life.
In simple words, synchronicity is when some meaningful coincidences occur in our lives, often seeming to be more than just chance.
- Having a feeling that something will happen: Have you ever experienced a feeling or gut instinct that something will happen, and it does? For example, you may be dreaming about a loved one passing away and then receiving news that it is true. Or, you may be considering moving to a certain city and finding yourself in the same place with an old friend from that city.
- Thinking about someone you haven’t seen in years: Maybe you suddenly start thinking about an old friend, and then, out of the blue, they call or send you a message. It is also an example of synchronicity. It might indicate that reconnecting with your old friend is important for your growth and development.
- Seeing repeating numbers: Seeing the same numbers over and over again could also be a sign of synchronicity. For example, it can range from seeing the same number on a clock, license plates, bills, or in your environment.
- Experiencing an intuitive hunch: Do you ever get a strong hunch that you should do something? Or, you may even feel like you can sense when something is going to happen, or someone is thinking of you. It could be a sign of synchronicity that something important is happening in your life, and you should pay attention to it.
- Coming across useful information in unexpected places: If you find information in an unexpected place, like a book or website, it could indicate that something meaningful is happening in your life. It is an example of synchronicity, as you may need the information at that particular moment. So, it appears as if, by chance.
- Seeing a vivid image or daydreaming about something that comes true shortly afterward: You may daydream about a particular place or object. Shortly after that, you find yourself in that exact location. It could also be an example of synchronicity as you might be meant to experience something special there.
- Interpreting messages from nature that offer guidance on your life journey (such as an animal sighting): Wondering what a certain animal may be telling you? It could be an example of synchronicity. For example, if you spot a deer while out in nature, it could be a sign of gentleness and gracefulness.
- Reading someone else’s thoughts as if they were your own: Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and then suddenly finished their sentence for them? This situation could be a vivid sign of synchronicity as it may indicate that you are on the same wavelength as that person.
- Feeling like someone is watching you, and then realizing it to be true in some way: For example, if you sense someone looking at you from behind, and then turn around to see that there is indeed someone there. This case is also an example of synchronicity, as your intuition was right, and something else was happening simultaneously.
- Hearing the same song over and over again: Did you ever hear the same song multiple times in a day? It could be an example of synchronicity, pointing you in a specific direction in life. On the other hand, this song could be a sign that the song is trying to tell you something important, and you should take notice.
Origins of Synchronicity
Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung first described synchronicity in the 1920s. He believed that meaningful coincidences were clues to understanding certain life situations or events (Jung & Francis, 2011).
Jung proposed that events and experiences that seem unrelated but happen simultaneously could be connected by a more significant meaning or purpose.
Jung believed that these events occur not just randomly but are connected through a meaningful pattern or energy force (Jung & Francis, 2011).
This energy force is what he termed “synchronicity,” and he saw it as evidence of the interconnectedness of all things in the universe.
Jung’s theory was formed from his clinical observations, research into mythology, and personal spiritual journey.
He argued that while our rational minds may not be able to comprehend it, something beyond our perceptions binds us all together in an unseen but natural way – “the collective unconscious” (Jung & Francis, 2011).
So, Jung’s theory of synchronicity explains why certain situations, events, or experiences happen simultaneously. It is a powerful reminder that we are all connected and brings a deeper understanding of the world.
Pauli–Jung Conjecture: Unseen Connections between Events
The Pauli–Jung conjecture is a theory formulated by physicist Wolfgang Pauli and psychologist Carl Jung that suggests related events may have common underlying factors of a spiritual nature outside of observable physical laws.
This theory posits that certain events or occurrences that appear to be random, such as coincidences or synchronicities, are actually connected in an unseen but real way (Atmanspacher, 2020).
This connection is known as the “acausal connecting principle,” which binds the individual to the collective unconscious.
According to the conjecture, this collective unconscious is where knowledge and memories of past events can be stored and retrieved without any physical evidence suggesting its existence.
Jung believed this principle could explain paranormal experiences such as telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, and psychokinesis (Atmanspacher, 2020).
So, by understanding the origins of synchronicity and the Pauli–Jung conjecture, we can better understand how our lives are interconnected in ways that go beyond what is seen or experienced in the material world.
Critique of Synchronicity
The theory of synchronicity proposed by Carl Jung was highly controversial. Critics have argued that synchronicity is nothing more than a coincidence.
Jung’s belief that events are connected through an unseen yet real energy force flies in the face of physical laws, making it difficult to prove or disprove.
Some critics have expressed concern that Jung’s theory might be interpreted as evidence for paranormal or supernatural forces, which further fuels debate and confusion amongst scientific communities (Mishlove et al., 2007).
Furthermore, placing too much emphasis on synchronistic events could lead to a deterministic view of the world where all actions are predetermined rather than volitional (Duane, 2015).
This notion has been strongly opposed by those who prefer a less rigid worldview. So, this debate over synchronicity continues to this day, making it an intriguing topic for further research and exploration.
Synchronicity is an intriguing concept that has captivated many people since Carl Jung first proposed it in the 1920s. It suggests that seemingly random events or experiences are connected in an unseen but natural way.
This connection is known as the “acausal connecting principle.” It is believed to be a form of energy that binds us all together in an unseen way.
The concept of synchronicity has been debated and criticized due to its controversial nature and lack of scientific evidence.
Still, it is essential to our understanding of the universe and how we are interconnected. By exploring this concept further, we can gain greater insight into our lives and world.
Atmanspacher, H. (2020). The Pauli–Jung conjecture and its relatives: A formally augmented outline. Open Philosophy, 3(1), 527–549. https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2020-0138
Costello, S. J. (2022). Dynamics of discernment. Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Duane, G. S. (2015). Synchronicity from synchronized chaos. Entropy, 17(4), 1701–1733. https://doi.org/10.3390/e17041701
Jung, C. G., & Francis, R. (2011). Synchronicity: An acausal connecting principle. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Mishlove, J., & Engen, B. C. (2007). Archetypal synchronistic resonance. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 47(2), 223–242. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022167806293006
Walborn, F. (2014). Carl Jung. Religion in Personality Theory, 41–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-407864-2.00003-5