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.

The wide and narrow senses of ‘synchronicity’

Two different senses of ‘synchronistic phenomena’ are operative in Jung’s work. In a narrow sense, there are what I call ‘synchronicities’ on this blog: occasions where two or more events coincide although there is a low probability for them to do so, and where at the same time there is a pronounced sense of a ‘meaningful connection’ between them. That sense of meaning is often perceived only by...

Reflective clarity for the phenomenological pool

When we become aware of a new phenomenon, it usually happens this way: you notice an occurrence, and then another one, and so on; soon you realize that it is a pattern; you give it a name; finally you collect instances and begin to investigate them: formulating explanations, making predictions, putting it all together in a theory of that phenomenon. Something like this presumably happened with...

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!

Why must synchronicities be meaningful?

By synchronicities we do not mean any old instance of an unlikely event, i.e. one that has a very small probability of occurring. That is necessary, but not sufficient. An event (or circumstance) qualifies as a synchronicity only if it is ‘meaningful’, if it invokes in a subject a sense and feeling of some deeper significance.

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.