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Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Tale of the Unexpected – Synchronicity

We don’t know the truth of the hypothesis, but Carl Jung’s notion of synchronicity is a gripping one. Jung suggests that extraordinary coincidences and inexplicable events may be the result of connection and communication which exist below the surface of consciousness. Telepathy, empathy, intuition, foreknowledge and so on are forms of mental transmission made possible because the unconscious of each of us belongs to a universal human pool, and we offer up our individual droplet to the vast unconscious whole and, in this way we are connected to every other droplet.

Here is a story, a case study, supporting Jung’s contention.

A woman friend in England, was feeling homesick and so decided to read a book, written a hundred years before and set in the city of her birth, Bordeaux. She had read several chapters of this story, concerning the love of a young man for an older woman, a tale of languishment and the hidden springs and poetry of love.

In the middle of reading it, she went off to work as usual, through the city that she could never call home. She called in, in that haphazard way we often do, at a charity shop. Her eyes scanned the lines of books. What was this? There, on the shelves of the good, the bad and the ugly of English literature, were two books in French. One was a translation of the Qu’ran and the other a slim volume of poetry by a minor French poet. Both were leather bound with gold edging to their leaves. They were both published in the middle of the 19th century. She bought them. When she got home she put them on her shelves for later reading.

Returning to her Bordeaux roman, she read a chapter or two over the next few days. Then she came across a passage in the story which described how the young man had found a poem by a contemporary author which summed up his desperate love. There, in the novel, was a complete quotation of the poem, the name of the author, the title of the limited edition and the page on which the poem sat. My friend looked up and above her head was the self-same collection! She opened to the page aforementioned in the story and found the poem, exactly as quoted.

This is as perfect an example as one might find of synchronicity.. The only reason I am not an atheist is not because of some weak longing for a God but because of the unexplained in daily life. These events seem to occur often enough to my friend. She will, I hope, write and publish them one day – in a more vivid and arresting detail than I have summoned up, here.


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