Causal agents, their stand-ins, and the impression of meaningfulness

In the literature on synchronicities, that phenomenon is usually defined as a coincidence of two or more events which invokes a “sense of meaningfulness”, and where the events in question — crucially for the point I want to focus on — are not causally linked. In one respect, that last clause is a sensible requirement. For if there were a causal link between those events, that would suffice as...

Subjectivity and the inability to find causal connections

In Jung’s examples of synchronicities, at least three ingredients seem necessary - all of them rather subjective in nature: first, there is a perceived connection between two events; secondly, a subjectively felt need for an explanation of that connection; and thirdly, an inability to construe the connection as a causal relationship.

Two faces of the synchronicities essay

When we try to understand the synchronicities essay, and related writings from Jung’s late period, we face a deep-seated complication: Jung himself thought of his project along the lines of a misleading analogy...

The unconscious is not (entirely) in the head

There is an air of mysticism about claims, often found in Jungian psychology, that the unconscious ‘arranges’ things in the external world. How can something psychological, something that is — so to speak — merely ‘in my head’, have real influence over physical objects and other people? Is that just a figure of speech, or should it be taken seriously? And if the latter — how? Let’s clear this up!

Leif Frenzel is a writer and independent researcher. He has a background in philosophy, literature, music, and information technology. His recent interest is Jungian psychology, especially synchronicities and the relationship between consciousness and the unconscious.