C. G. Jung and the Composition of Synchronicity

A presentation by Laurence Browne

Thursday September 3 2015 7.30

The Quaker House, 10 Hampson Street, Kelvin Grove Park on Prospect Terrace
Members and Concession: $10, Non-members: $15

Jung’s hypothesis of synchronicity is essentially an attempt to discover what in actual fact constitutes the meaning in meaningful coincidences. Jung felt that something more was going on than simply the subjective interpretations of the individual involved, and that perhaps such experiences were in fact fleeting glimpses of an underlying timeless realm in which mind and matter are as yet undifferentiated. He first introduced publicly the idea of a ‘synchronistic principle’ during his memorial address at the funeral of the sinologist Richard Wilhelm in 1930.

Image by Cate McCarthy

Image by Cate McCarthy

“I am open to the guidance of synchronicity and do not let expectations hinder my path”
  His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Jung’s collaboration some twenty years later with the physicist Wolfgang Pauli is now well known and the subject of a number of scholarly and popular studies.  However, it may be that this association was not as important to Jung’s conceptualisation of synchronicity as was his friendship with Wilhelm during the 1920s.  For what Wilhelm bequeathed to Jung was an intuitive understanding of the idea of the tao, without which it is quite possible he would never have conceived of his principle of synchronicity.

It is only rarely that new words introduced into the public arena by a particular author are readily accepted as part of general discourse, and it is doubtful that Jung himself could have predicted how popular his invented term would become.  Unfortunately, this has meant that the intended meaning of the term has become watered down and synonymous with every sort of amazing or not-so-amazing coincidence.  Hopefully this talk will be able to bring some clarity to the area, especially in terms of how Jung came to develop his ideas on this most fascinating topic.

Laurence Browne has a PhD from the University of Queensland, the upshot of his attempt to develop an integrated understanding of coincidences. He has been fascinated in this area since the age of twenty, when one evening a plea or prayer welled up from within, a depth of feeling that he had never before encountered. After that experience, what appeared to be significant coincidences started to occur, though it was not until several years later until he came across Jung’s Introduction to the I Ching that he began to have some appreciation of what might be going on. Laurence lives in Brisbane with his family and enjoys both writing and travelling.