Synchronicity (was: Re: Debunk All Religiosity Equally (D.A.R.E.) )

From: Amara Graps (
Date: Wed Jul 11 2001 - 12:05:53 MDT

From: Robin Hanson (, Tue Jul 10 2001

>Amara Graps wrote:
>>[My definition of synchronicity: Consciously or unconsciously you
>>*know* the things that you like/want/need/good-for-you, therefore your
>>senses are highly tuned and sensitive to that item in your
>>environment. So then, some event that might be considered a
>>coincidence to someone else, takes on a special meaning to you: a
>>"meaningful coincidence", i.e. synchronicity. Often it turns out
>>that that particular occurrence was exacly what you needed, whether
>>or not you were aware of its importance at the time. ...

>A thoughtful and unusually clear explanation. But to me the key
>question is: is it *true*?

For me, that is not as important as the answer to the question:
"Is it *good* for *me*?" For a number of things in my life I don't
yet understand the working details, however, I use those things,

(Here one can reduce the concepts "good" and "me" further into a
philosphical framework that: I am a living being with a consciousness
and an awareness and a brain on which I rely to survive and I have a
set of values that further my survival and so forth, but I prefer to
operate my life on simpler principles.)

>People have such a strong need to belief such things that one must
>worry that they see it even when it is not there. Is Amara's strong
>acceptance of the events around her best explained by her
>unconsciously arranging those events to give her what she needs, or
>by her unconsciously deciding after the fact that whatever happened
>must have been what she needed?

Please allow me to expand further about 'synchronicity', however,
and maybe I can illuminate the concept.

The premise in my (and other authors) definition of this
'synchronicity' is that an objective value exists irrespective of
whether it is acknowledged by the observer, but the meaning appears
only when the observer is open to it. One could become mystical
here, or not, but in my worldview, I often enjoy discovering
meanings to events in my environment, because it gives me feedback
or it makes my world richer. But is it my imagination or is it
really true, you ask?

If you view synchronicity as a meaningful coincidence between an
external event and an internal readiness for being aware of that
event, then synchronicity acts as a bridge to our unconscious mind
or, at least, to the very edge of our conscious mind. Why is that?

The unconscious holds a vast collection of events, hopes, memories,
prejudices, values, unknown to the conscious mind. It's hard work to
peel back the layers of the onion, and see what is underneath. But
if those unconscious elements are organizing themselves in various
ways, then you can reach in and 'touch' it, and bring it to
awareness. Synchronicity feels a little bit like a "jolt", because
you've touched that unconscious element via an occurrence in your
external world.

I think that, in order for synchronicity to work, it requires a deep
trust that the messages from your unconscious mind are strong,
authentic and move us in the direction of greater wisdom and
compassion and wholeness. And it absolutely requires one to be
extremely open and aware of our environment, so that we *know*
instantly (call it 'intuition') that that event/occurrence has
importance and we need to pay closer attention to it.

So then how do we *know* ? That comes from exploring our inner
mind/world- a place that I believe is just as vast as the outer
world, and any number of self-knowing tools can be used. You can
create your own self-knowing tools, or you can pick up and use
someone else's. I watch sometimes what the new agers are doing and
using because they are very interested in discovering what is in
their psyche, and they have some nifty methods, some of which I find
very useful, even if I don't buy into all of their premises. I like
their positive attitudes too. When you explore your inner mind, many
fuzzy elements travel to the edge of the awareness, and so then
synchronicity brings it all of the way out.

>>I believe that there is a deep wisdom in my environment, it only
>>requires me to be aware of it, to look, to probe, to see, to
>>understand. ... the environment present around me is also a
>>result of processes in the past, and there is a deep wisdom there,
>>as well. ... being in awe of all things *living*; ... often the
>>smallest, most inconsequential things in my environment seem to
>>me to be the most profound: footsteps in sand, the smell of garlic
>>and onion, hearing children laughing (or crying), and so on.
>>I believe that the answers (to any questions
>>that we have) are *in us* and *around us*. This is one place where
>>cultural history and mythology can play an important role. Humans
>>have experienced and worked out amazing things, and their intellectual
>>and emotional paths are in front of us, if we *only pay attention*.

>Although there is a purely emotive element here, there also seems to
>be a factual claim here as well. So again for me the key question
>is: how *true* is it?

Sometimes, Robin, you just *know*. :-)

(and sometimes the cause and effect is so deeply buried in
the unconscious mind, that one can never learn the answer, but
again.. is it really important?)

Consider this. Let's take the next step after synchronicity
(destiny?) and take a look at our larger environment. Let's assume
that your life is proceeding on a path that seems "right" to you,
the individual. Wouldn't it be really cool too, if your particular
path was also beneficial for the world? An alignment of personal and
universal purposes, in my opinion is the next level of integration
for someone. That is what being filled with the divine is about and
I hope that many people here accomplish that. In my small mortal
way, I'm trying and doing my best.

>To me one of the great tragedies of the human condition is that the
>young largely ignore advice from the old.

I agree.. and also from our *past*. I will have many things to say
in the future here, regarding old Greek culture and philosophy.

>Another tragedy is that
>people are overconfident in their own wisdom relative to that of
>other people. So I can share some of Amara's awe in the wisdom
>of people around us. But the smell of garlic? I fear that
seeing great wisdom in that is most likely wishful thinking.

Heh.. I happen to think that the smell of garlic and onion is
one of the most divine smells in the Universe...


Amara Graps email:
Computational Physics vita: finger
Multiplex Answers URL:
"Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the
future of the human race." -- H. G. Wells

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