On Synchronicity, Carl Jung, and the power of your mind.
My friend Cynthia came over last Saturday, January 6th ‘07. I was extremely tired, but needed good company as I was feeling rather low that day. I knew seeing her would cheer me up!
As it turns out, not only did it cheer me up, it restored my faith as concerns my health. Let me explain…
We were discussing Carl Jung. A book he wrote in 1962 - Memories, Dreams, Reflections - had been sitting facing her on her bedroom shelf unnoticed for over a year. She woke up and was startled she hadn’t seemed to ‘notice’ it before. I had finished reading his work “The Undiscovered Self”, written in 1957 - the book might as well have been written yesterday. I’ve vowed to re-read that book every year for the rest of my days.
I digress. Cindy and I ate lunch, and started discussing photography - she rec’d a camera from her husband for Xmas - and we discovered we both were doing the same thing, creating wild ‘light shows’ with a longer exposure at night. I showed her some of my best ones, right when Keith Ullrich, the artist who recommended me to Chouinard’s Dialogue group, called.
I explained to Keith all these intriguing coincidences…
1. The group rec’d an email from Vivian Flynn saying her and her husband acquired two new members of their family (cats), named Man Ray and Penumbra. I had, just the day before, submitted a poem titled "Penumbra" to the website “Right Hand Pointing”. I discovered this site because I googled my name and “art”; it turns out “Melissa Lambert” is featured on their main page. Note: Cindy also has a cat named Man Ray.
2. After discussing the photography, I went to my ‘art-bookshelf’ to retrieve the book I learned the exposure technique from. I know that shelf like the back of my hand, all the titles and where. “What the heck is this?” I exclaimed, while pulling out a skinny book I completely forgotten I owned - an exhibition book on Man Ray from LACMA, 1966.
3. During the phone call w/ Keith he stopped talking. I was very concerned for his health, as his voice sounded distorted and weak. He finally explained that a loud ‘report’ had happened, an ‘unbelievably loud’ noise when a green onion split in half in his kitchen! I had just finished telling Cindy about Carl’s infamous “loud report” in his argument with Freud. I have taken the liberty to copy the following text from dhushara's website:
“It is interesting to note that Jung had experience of certain ‘phenomena’ even in the presence of the arch-sceptic Freud, and that they presaged the break in his relation with Freud. He describes how, in 1909, he and Freud argued about psychical phenomena, and Freud’s shallow positivism annoyed Jung. He writes: “While Freud was going on this way, I had a curious sensation. It was as if my diaphragm were made of iron and were becoming red-hot, a glowing vault. And at that moment there was such a loud report in the bookcase, which stood right next to us, that we both started up in alarm, fearing that the thing was going to topple over on us. I said to Freud: ‘There, that is an example of a so-called catalytic exteriorisation phenomenon.’ ‘Oh come, he exclaimed, ‘that is sheer bosh.’ ‘It is not , I replied. ‘You are mistaken, Herr Professor. And to prove my point, I now predict that in a moment there will be another loud report!’ Sure enough, no sooner had I said the words than the same detonation went off in the bookcase. To this day I do not know what gave me this certainty. But I knew beyond all doubt that the report would come again . . .” (Wilson C 478).
“Consider synchronistic phenomena, premonitions, and dreams that come true. I recall one time during the Second World War when I was returning home from Bollingen. I had a book with me, but could not read, for the moment the train started to move I was overpowered by the image of someone drowning. This was a memory of an accident that had happened while I was on military service. During the entire journey I could not rid myself of it. It struck me as uncanny, and I thought, What has happened? Can there have been an accident?” I got out at- Erlenbach and walked home, still troubled by this memory. My second daughter’s children were in the garden. The family was living with us, having returned to Switzerland from Paris because of the war. The children stood looking rather upset, and when I asked, ” Why, what is the matter?” they told me that Adrian, then the youngest of the boys, had fallen into the water in the boathouse. It is quite deep there, and since he could not really swim he had almost drowned. His older brother had fished him out. This had taken place at exactly the time I had been assailed by that memory in the train. The unconscious had given me a hint.” (Jung C 1963 333)”
4. Cindy just emailed and reminded me the following: She had two dreams the previous night that involved stone walls. Later, reading the Jung book, she came across the passage about his experience of building a small city of stone after his wife died. Then later, Cindy noticed the stone wall in my “public works” photo (unfortunately it’s a pic not shown on my website, though I may post it later).
This topic absolutely fascinates me. Lately I’ve been concerned about a health problem. After all these coincidences happened, I had a sudden strong intuition that the universe was telling me “not to worry”. When I told Cindy this, she hugged me and said “of course! You'll be around a long time, you have too much to give!"
The idea of synchronicity is that the conceptual relationship of minds, defined by the relationship between ideas, is intricately structured in its own logical way and gives rise to relationships which have nothing to do with causal relationships in which a cause precedes an effect. Instead, causal relationships are understood as simultaneous--that is, the cause and effect occur at the same time. Synchronous events reveal an underlying pattern, a conceptual framework which encompasses, but is larger than, any of the systems which display the synchronicity.
On Synchronicity, Carl Jung, and the power of your mind.