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Between Coincidences and Synchronicity

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Hi. Apologies if this is in the wrong section.

I'm interested in people's views on the perceived differences and/or similarities between 'coincidences' and 'synchronicity' (simultaneous occurrences that are meaningfully related), and people's experiences they may have had. I thought it would be a good idea to bring these 'topic areas' together under one roof as I have already come across various posts that briefly flirt with one or the other, but never (to a significant degree) within the same thread.

Other concepts you will no doubt find feature prominently within this topic area include that of 'causality', 'insight', extra-sensory perception, Déjà vu, telepathy and the argument of whether the mind is separate from the brain and merely operates through it (or the 'Nonlocality Theory').

There are a great many authors who have come up with different names for similar concepts which include Arthur Koestler's 'Roots of Coincidence', J.W Dunne's 'An Experiment with Time', the work and essays of Carl Gustav Jung (who originally coined the term 'synchronicity'), Horace Walpole's concept of 'serendipity' or "the faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by chance", Paul Kammerer's Law of Series (which suggests that random events happen in clusters), Camille Flammarion's book L'inconnu: The Unknown, a collection of psychic experiences where he mentions the now famous story of the author Émile Deschamps and the plum pudding incident.

Many of these authors had differing explanations for the concepts however. For example before he committed suicide, Kammerer in his Law of Series suggested that there was an as-of-yet unknown mathematical law or "law of seriality" where seemingly ridiculous coincidences were nevertheless a law of nature that science hadn't yet been able to explain. He then went on to project the notion that while these kind of events did happen in clusters, they were however natural and not "causal" in nature.

Now while Flammarion's theories generally 'agree' with Kammerer's law of seriality (the serial clustering of coincidences) which in hindsight was an example of a kind of 'mechanical synchronicity' - remembering that Flammarion and Kammerer's ideas predate those of Jung who didn't coin the term synchronicity until his essay entitled Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle in 1952, Flammarion does suggest an alternative type of 'synchronicity': that where the mind itself is able to influence the laws of nature. He gives an example of the latter in the following story he recalls in his book The Unknown:

The story goes that while he was writing a book one day, a strong gust of wind carried the pages of the chapter he was working on out of a nearby window and all over the place. It just so happened at the same time that it began to rain, and because of this he decided not to bother going to pick them up as he felt it would be in vain. To his surprise a few days later, a chapter from a book arrived from the local printers. As it transpired, the porter from the local printing office had just so happened to be walking past at the very moment the pages hit the floor and assumed he had dropped the papers himself. Because of this he hastily picked them all up before the rain did any damage to them (remember this was before 1900). He then placed them in order and took them to the printers to be printed off. What the subject of the chapter? 'The Wind...'

Other authors too have flirted with these notions .

According to the author Martin Plimmer in the book Beyond Coincidence, the author and playwright Pearl Binder together with two other collaborators, once planned to create a satirical novel . They went about this by inventing a situation in which camps for the homeless had been set up in Hyde Park, and had decided on having a refugee Viennese professor called Horvath-Nadoly; a broken old man with a Hungarian-sounding name. A few days later they read in a newspaper that a homeless foreign old man had been found wandering alone at night in Hyde Park (I also want to add that as I was writing this very section for the forum post, my girlfriend and I got a knock on the door. Though she answered it, she said it was a young homeless man with some papers asking if we could give him some food. Now I live in rural Northumberland (basically in the middle of nowhere because it's the least populated county in the whole of England) and we have never in the over 10 years of having lived here, ever had a homeless person knock on our door - I actually had to rethink about what had transpired to make sure I wasn't imagining it).

Going back to this Horvath-Nadoly fellow, we can see that the three protagonists contributed to an "impossible coincidence" or maybe perhaps participated in an unconscious recital of a name they had earlier encountered.

There are literally tons of other authors, examples within the public sphere and other concepts related to these that I will happily let others contribute if they so wish, though have you had any personal experiences and what's your view on these? :D


Other forum posts relating to the topic:






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It seems to me I have had many of these kinds of coincidental occurrences in the past. Not big important events, just in small ways. I've noticed them when they've occurred, but most I have forgotten now.

Another thing I noticed, and which I now practice is, when I need something and it is difficult or impossible to procure it, I just sit back and wait. What I want sometimes comes to me out of nowhere, so to speak.

Recently I needed rubber roofing for my house ejovj was way too expensive for me to buy at the moment. Two days later an neighbor bought two rolls of this roofing from a friend of his and sold what I needed of it cheap. This kind of event has happened to me often enough for me to notice it.

Of course, this doesn't always happen, but it seems to me it happens more often than it would if coincidence was just random. I could be misinterpreting all this, of course, but it does make me think about the OP's subject.

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As posted previously to skeptics site:

In the early years of the last century, CG Jung, (psychiatrist)

had Einstein as

a dinner guest on several occasions. There was something in the conversations

that led Jung to think about "psychic relativity" - i.e.,

the ability of "mind" to

transcend space and time. So Jung credits Einstein for that

implanted thought.

Many years later, (1932) Jung met the physicist Professor W. Pauli,

an associate

of Einstein, ( It was Einstein who nominated Pauli

for the Nobel Prize, which Pauli

received in 1945, for discovering the neutrino particle).

The letters between Jung

and Pauli, were published under title,

"atom and archetype" - 1932 to 1958....

The main thrust to Jung's idea of a pre-existent psyche,

is the nature of 'number'

as the most primal archetype of order in the human mind.

And as Pauli said:

"our primary mathematical intuitions can be arranged before

we become conscious

of them."

to be continued....

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"our primary mathematical intuitions can be arranged before

we become conscious

of them."

This made me think about what Kurt Godel considered intuition was. That all ideas, all mathematics pere-exist in some realm and our minds can contact this pre-existence.

If true, this may have something to do with coincidence and synchronicity. If all thoughts already exists perhaps there are laws that govern our relationships with this pre-existence.

There also may be laws that govern fonts changing here at random.

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Posted (edited)

Jung offers an explanation of his number theory: Pauli agreed....

Since the remotest times men have used number to establish meaningful coincidences,

that is, coincidences that can be interpreted.

There is something peculiar, one might even say mysterious about numbers. They have never

been entirely robbed of their numinous aura. If, so a textbook of mathematics tell us, a group

of objects is deprived of every single one of its properties or characteristics, there still remains,

at the end, its number, which seems to indicate that number is something irreducible.

The sequence of natural numbers turns out to be unexpectedly more than a mere

stringing together of identical units; it contains the whole of mathematics and everything

yet to be discovered in this field.

It is generally believed that numbers were invented, or thought out by man,

and are therefore nothing but concepts of quantities containing nothing that

was not previously put into them by the human intellect. But it is equally possible

that numbers were found or discovered.. In that case they are not only concepts

but something more-autonomous entities which somehow contain more than just


Unlike concepts, they are based not on any conditions - but on the quality of being

themselves, on a "so-ness" that cannot be expressed by an intellectual concept.

Under these conditions they might easily be endowed with qualities that have still

to be discovered. I must confess that I incline to the view that numbers were as

much found as invented, and that in consequence they possess a relative

autonomy analogous to that of the archetypes.


They would then have in common with the latter, the quality of being pre-existent

to consciousness, and hence, on occasion, of conditioning it, rather than being

conditioned by it.

Number, therefore, is in one sense an unpredictable entity.

"man has need of the word, but in essence number is sacred." Jung....

*to be continued....

Edited by bm_secone
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Posted (edited)

I have had many experiences of syncronicities events...great storms of them. I look at them like bread crumbs to lay attention to. Their cause? I don't know. Rcently in my experiences there has been a resurgence of events talking about Mandelbrot sets. if reality is built upon fractals, I can see how synchronization would weave Into great web.

Edited by Seeker79

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Finally, a few people that are talking about Jung's work and not being all pop-psych with it... THANK YOU!!

But really, the question that one has to ask with this, is thus...

"are these events connected, unconnected, or is it a bit of both? And if so, how much? And is that true of ALL events, or just a few, and how does one know which are so?"

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Sometimes I wonder if there isn't something that prevents coincidences. Or some regulatory law so that too many coincidences don't happen? Just a thought.

Do coincidences happen more frequently the more events we participate in? Is there an allotment of coincidences? For instance, if I stay at home for years, when I finally do go out in society will all my saved-up coincidences happen quickly?

If coincidences are connected somehow there might be a law of coincidence. If we could understand this perhaps we could tap into this understanding and build coincidence technology. A coincidence machine to enhance the probability of these things to happen.

There would be many uses for such a machine, I think.

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