Synchronicity of Chance

Westerville Afternoon / John Fraim (HDR Photo)
Chick Corea & Return to Forever / No Mystery


John Fraim

Defined by life cycles and chance in life. We are all born into cycles and understand their length. The cycle of the day is 24 hours. A month at 30 days. Four seasons. One year. The cycle of an individual life. We move forward through the cycle of our life. We see familiar signs along the way. Culture is good at marking the various milestones of the human cycle. Internet advertising and political marketing understand these cycles better than even individual persons do. After all, advertising and politics play a big part in creating the cycles in the first place.

But many times, this familiar linear movement forward through the cycles of an individual life, comes upon chance events like natural disasters or health issues. Births and deaths. Accidents. All the things that come at people not as part of the familiar cycle of a life (in this culture) but unexpectedly.

When this unexpected chance incident happens to a person, they obtain a different perspective on the world than all the others moving along in life, not bothered by chance events. In effect, their perspective often rises far above others in culture because they have been pulled out of their placement in the long conveyor belt that moves all ahead into the cycles of our lives, the cycles of the cultural and historical life of America. 

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Carl Jung was fascinated by these chance events and used a different word for chance with his idea of synchronicity or meaningful coincidence. He questioned whether there ever was really any totally “chance” event in life without any connection to anything else. All is connected in some way Jung felt. Much of his ideas on synchronicity came from his intense studies of the ancient Chinese iChing, a system of divination. Synchronicity was one of the last things that fascinated Jung right before his death. 

I’ve studied and read Jung for years and his ideas on synchronicity. I’ve written a number of articles on this published online to various Jung sites. What is the most important thing to know about synchronicity is that it is really a focus on the present tense of time excluding the other two: the past and the future. It is interested whether events in time are defined by their movement forward in a linear movement of time. Within the cycle they move in. Are events in this cycle defined by position in the cycle? The movement from the past into the future. Or, might events be defined not all by a movement from the past to the future. But also, by forces of the present that simply converge on a moment of time. 

In symbolism, these forces that converge are called symbolic correspondences or the belief of unity between various forms of life. For example, there is a symbolic correspondence between red and the emotion of passion. In the same way, there is correspondence between blue and the emotion of coolness. There are many symbol dictionaries and reference work that list symbol correspondences. 

The Westervile State Theater / John Fraim (HDR Photo)

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One wonders about the relationship of the ancient Chinese ideas and Jung’s ideas on chance in life. Jung felt they might have a structure with his ideas on synchronicity. Might synchronicity be related to a correspondence of symbols at moments in time? For years, Jung had struggled to breathe life into his symbols by showing that they had a life and grand movement in civilization and human consciousness. 

One of the great ideas of Jung confirmed by his most gifted disciple Erich Neumann in The Origins and History of Consciousness. One of the most brilliant books ever written and understood or even attempted to be understood by maybe a few people in the world. It was to be Neumann that would be able to breathe life into Jung’s symbols and his ideas on synchronicity.

The linear western world of cause and effect is challenged by this non-linear aspect of the eastern world of relationships in the present. Western culture is caught in a trance of viewing movement from the past to the future. Viewing life like this. But Eastern culture lets the present come through in all its glory and power. It is this present that Western culture is less aware of than Eastern culture. 

Carl Jung

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Those ripped out of the linear step forward with all the others in society, taken out of the steady march into the future for a little time. Taken out by the desire to simply escape to a new way of thinking. Or, perhaps brought to this state by their “chance” circumstances in life. For the moment, they are outside those on the conveyor belt through their life. And they see life in a new way that others don’t see it. 

One of the great weaknesses of modern technology is its lack of a focus on the present. The “construction” of the present one might offer. It could offer huge rewards if modern technology might direct its talent towards a focus on the present. Twenty years ago, I suggested that Google could serve for the greatest collector of information and top words (and top ascending and descending words) could serve a great service to studying mass culture. Sociology. The article – Electric Symbols – was published in a top peer-reviewed journal of the time, First Monday and is still up on their site.

Today, twenty years after my article appeared in First Monday, I still think the same thing I once did. Words are really symbols and Google is the greatest word processor on a 24/7 basis. It is currently receiving millions of inputs from searches related to particular words at points in time. This relationship is the important thing. Words searched at points in time. It is something available from Google on their site. I look at the information they provide. 

Old Westerille / John Fraim (HDR Photo)

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One needs to propose to Google a project related to the study of the ancient Chinese iChing and Jung’s ideas on synchronicity and the law of correspondence in the workings of symbolism. Through algorithms unique groups of people who are living in a world off the grid from the regular world. Taken off the normal grid by chance circumstances but taken off this perspective of life for a period. In these moments, able to see in new ways.

An interesting group to hang out with if you’re one of those – defined by a search index composed of words – who have left the normal group through unusual, chance events that have totally disrupted their lives. At this point in time. The time of the story. I knew a lot of them when I lived out in the California desert from 2012 to 2015. Many lived in little trailers in the high desert. Set off from the little two-lane highway I traveled on by some rolls of barbed wire fence and a few vehicles propped up and being worked on or just dead to the world. Sometimes, there was some type of bus on the premises. The bus came with many stories from my friend who had it next to his place near Yucca National Forest. 

The possibility of pulling together thousands and millions of people with similar word search patterns at times. Might this be one of the first steps in the creation of new political parties?

There is the grand possibilities within Google of uniting words from customers who are going through the chance circumstances of life. Who see life in a new way from their experience. Simply out of the societal trance others are in. 

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But not a possibility likely to happen. 

Google an overriding philosophy of division rather than unity. So much information about connections via searches in that nation. But an unwillingness to release this information. The fact is that Google shares just enough information over the Internet but not enough to really understand much. Understandable as most likely company secrets. Yet Google has never been willing to share information for any grand social ideas based around the ideas of freedom. For example, what are the hundred top search words associated with the word freedom?

A challenge to Google that information like above could greatly benefit culture. Why not open your database for study? My concern is in studying present events and the forces coming together through Chinese ideas like the iChing and synchronicity and correspondence. 

So, how does life progress for readers out there?

Through the stuff they have been teaching us forever. Or, through various chance events in life? Brought together by the gravity of the present moment. That present moment, like a whirlpool of water or a new gravity that pulls all things together. I wonder if this type of gravity was ever of interest to Einstein. That force that pulls things together to create present moments. Cars in a crash. New lovers. The serendipity of life. The chance, events. 

Yet not really chance events. 

Rather, the ability to see patterns in chance. Consider chance made up from concepts of Jungian synchronicity and correspondence in the laws of symbolism.  This is such a better way to consider that idea western culture has held about the idea of chance. 

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Story Concept

The hero/heroine is perhaps an architect/engineer who has worked for the world’s great search engine company. Rose to the top and then left and started a company that sells marketing data. The hero/heroine works with a new client that shows them a new vision. He/She is the great engineer from the great Internet search company who has just left the company. He/She has a business plan to set up a new offshoot of the great Internet company they came from. Much of the story is about the hero/heroine that left the Internet company. But also the story of a new type of hero/heroine that comes to life in our key character. The ability to socially engineer a new society is possessed by the great search engine company. Our hero/heroine tries to gain access to this information. So much that can be done with this information. Both knew how important the information that their former employee held. They had been part of the great Internet giant. Had risen in its management ranks. They both know that the above information from the great Internet company could do things like create new political parties. Or, new communities. New cities. States. 

The holder of the power in the Internet company was a person they both knew very well. One of them had dated the founder for a year. They learned how ruthless the founder could be. The employees were terrified of the founder. Speaking out meant immediate being fired. And, speaking out after you’ve been fired can cause severe repercussions. The big Internet company and its founder continued to go after the two after they left. The two plan to have the data from the Internet company streamed to them. From, an insider friend and ally still working in the company. A lead programmer. They have potential access to the great database of the Internet company. 

But the founder is onto them. They are toughened businesspeople who have risen high in the corporate ranks. All from top colleges and top in their class. Who attacked the old structure of corporations. The founder’s picks for his successors. He feels betrayed as the two he groomed for great things have left and want access the vast data base of the company. The founder knows how important it is to guard the database of his company. But there is a lawsuit from one of the two who is the former chief council of the Internet company. The claim is that the great Internet company is a public utility and therefore subject to opening its records for anyone to see. 

Besides, the founder thinks, there is the deal he has worked out with the government. The government would like to know they are sharing information. The contract was just between the founder’s company and the government. 

(Notes: Don’t over-define the above regarding the Internet company or any of the characters acting in the above. Leave much to the reader’s imagination and participation in story.)

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