Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Synchronicity and Mark Twain

I'm reading a couple of interesting books (actually I have about 11 that I am currently reading): one about Synchronicity (Synchronicity: Science, Myth, and the Trickster by Allan Combs and Mark Holland) and one is a biography of Mark Twain. This is in itself a case of synchronicity since Mark Twain wrote about incredible coincidences in his own life. The idea of synchronicity is not simply the idea of unlikely coincidences according to Jung, but it should be logically meaningful to the person experiencing it and should express some underlying pattern that is not apparent.
"Synchronicity explains "meaningful coincidences," such as a beetle flying into his room while a patient was describing a dream about a scarab. The scarab is an Egyptian symbol of rebirth, he noted [Jung]. Therefore, the propitious moment of the flying beetle indicated that the transcendental meaning of both the scarab in the dream and the insect in the room was that the patient needed to be liberated from her excessive rationalism. His notion of synchronicity is that there is an acausal principle that links events having a similar meaning by their coincidence in time rather than sequentially. He claimed that there is a synchrony between the mind and the phenomenal world of perception. "
"Let us recall that according to Jung, synchronicity is a coincidence charged with a sense (meaning) between the interior psychic state of a person and an event of the objective exterior universe." (Moisset)
Of course the occurrence of unlikely coincidences is usually attributed to the laws of probability, and since it is not testable then it certainly is not scientific. Personally I have experienced such events, and although I have had training in various sciences, I still find it hard to attribute all of these happenings to mere chance. For now however, these phemenona don't appear to be readily amenable to the scientific method although the quantum physicists Bohm and Pauli provided a theoretical framework upon which one might base these occurrences. This is a huge area of interest which I intend to pursue further.
Mark Twain has been one of my favorite authors since I was the age of six when my mother read Tom Sawyer to me. I was to set the pattern for the rest of my life with books that I l ike by reading and rereading this book until I could quote passages from it by the age of ten. In addition to his having had various synchronistic events in his life, he also once had a vivid dream about his brother's death which came true in all its particulars. His mother always said he was psychic from an early age. I used to be totally skeptical about such things until I and some members of my family experienced a few of these unusual happenings. The trouble with this field is that there have been so many credulous and superstituous people making some preposterous claims. There should be more scientific inquiry into the matter.

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