The wide alley of dreams and the narrow, winding trail of synchronicities

Dreams may be the via regia to the unconscious: Freud said so, and Jung, too, insisted that the analysis of dreams would allow both analyst and analysand to observe what went on with the unconscious psyche (cf. e.g. GW VII §§209-210). Writing forth the metaphor, we might say that, if dreams are the via regia, then synchronicities are a small, winding mountain path which may or may not lead...

Something breaking into something else

Jung discusses from time to time how unconscious processes can “break in” (einbrechen) and disrupt consciousness. The term captures the experience from the point of consciousness: the workings of the ego complex are interrupted from something “outside”, and that means: something outside consciousness. In other words, what “breaks in” is simply something else, something not under conscious...

The Mana Personality vs. the Self

I have criticized Hillman for saying that Jung’s archetypes of the Self and the Wise Old Man are the same — mostly for the reason that Jung in many passages clearly speaks as if these are not just not the same, but even widely separated notions. There is, however, one very central passage in Jung’s work where he explicitly discusses the difference between the Wise Old Man and the Self archetypes.

Paths to hidden meaning

The archetypal idea of a “hidden meaning behind chaotic events in life” appears when subjects find themselves in certain types of situation: when it seems that “there is no way out”. Jung says this both in the synchronicities essay and in the spirit essay. Yet there is a third line of thought in his work which arrives at the same point, but via an entirely different route.

On the guises of the archetype

Jung’s two essays on synchronicities and on spirit in the fairy tale have a striking claim in common: that there is a “hidden meaning [Sinn] behind the chaotic events in life”. It will be interesting to compare how the two essays introduce the core finding: there is an interesting commonality, and one important difference.

Missing meaning-links

I have explored, in some depth now, a particular archetypal idea: that “there is a hidden meaning behind chaotic life”. The way I have explored it was through Jung’s essay on spirit, which deals explicitly with it. But there is a connection between this idea and synchronicities, which Jung, it seems, didn’t make.

Patterns of life situations

Synchronicities are something that "appears” in an individual person’s life, usually at some particular stage or around some event. Therefore, we can assume that there are certain patterns in people’s lives when archetypes are triggered, resulting in greater likelyhood of experiencing synchronicities.

What is Jung’s notion of causality?

Jung’s essay on synchronicities is centered around the notion of causality: he points out certain phenomena that (according to him) cannot be causally explained, and in general he claims that the law of causality is insufficient as a principle for scientific explanation. What does he actually mean by terms such as ‘causal’ and 'causality'?

Two styles of projection

The notion of projection is a broad umbrella which covers a variety of different ways in which unconscious contents might appear, to a subject, as something they notice in the external world. Presumably, some archetypal structures are best expressed in personified form, whereas others lend themselves to a different, more abstract representation: as relationships, as connections.

The mirror theory of eros: synchronicities

Jung says that synchronistic phenomena appear when an archetype of the collective unconscious is triggered (or ‘constellated’). He also points out that this usually goes along with projections. Interestingly, the mirror theory of eros arrives at a similar result.

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.

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