Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle

Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle

Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle

Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle

Synopsis

Jung was intrigued from early in his career with coincidences, especially those surprising juxtapositions that scientific rationality could not adequately explain. He discussed these ideas with Albert Einstein before World War I, but first used the term "synchronicity" in a 1930 lecture, in reference to the unusual psychological insights generated from consulting the I Ching. A long correspondence and friendship with the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli stimulated a final, mature statement of Jung's thinking on synchronicity, originally published in 1952 and reproduced here. Together with a wealth of historical and contemporary material, this essay describes an astrological experiment Jung conducted to test his theory. Synchronicity reveals the full extent of Jung's research into a wide range of psychic phenomena.


This paperback edition of Jung's classic work includes a new foreword by Sonu Shamdasani, Philemon Professor of Jung History at University College London.

Excerpt

With the publication of Liber Novus—Jung’s Red Book —a new chapter opens in the reading of Jung’s works. For the first time, one is in a position to grasp the constitution of Jung’s work from 1914 onward, and to trace the intimate connections between his self-experimentation and his attempts to determine the typical features of this process through his work with his patients and translate his insights into a language acceptable to a medical and scientific public. Thus, reading Liber Novus brings with it the task of rereading Jung’s Collected Works—much of which appears in a wholly new light.

In the winter of 1913, Jung embarked on a process of selfexperimentation. He deliberately gave free rein to his fantasy thinking and carefully noted what ensued. He later called this process “active imagination.” He wrote down these fantasies in the Black Books. These are not personal diaries, but rather the records of a selfexperimentation. The dialogues that form these active imaginations can be regarded as a type of thinking in a dramatic form.

When World War I broke out, Jung considered that a number of his fantasies were precognitions of this event. This led him to compose the first draft of Liber Novus, which consisted of a transcription of the main fantasies from the Black Books, together with a layer of interpretive commentaries and lyrical elaboration. Here Jung attempted to derive general psychological principles from the fantasies, as well as to understand to what extent the events portrayed in the fantasies presented, in a symbolic form, developments that were to occur in the world.

Jung recopied the manuscript in an ornate Gothic script into a large red leather folio volume, which he illustrated with his own paint-

C. G.Jung, The Red Book, edited and introduced by Sonu Shamdasani and translated by
Mark Kyburz, John Peck, and Sonu Shamdasani, Philemon Series (New York: W. W. Nor
ton, 2009

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