A Walk through the Manifold World of Coincidences

By Mayer, Gerhard | The Journal of Parapsychology, Fall 2018 | Go to article overview

A Walk through the Manifold World of Coincidences


Mayer, Gerhard, The Journal of Parapsychology


A Review of The Many Faces of Coincidence, by Laurence Browne

Exeter, UK: Imprint Academics, 2017. Pp. 202. $29.90., ISBN 13: 978-1-84540-915-9

Synchronicity has become a vogue expression used in many ways to denote "occurrences." In a similar way, the term coincidence is often used in a reductionist context to eliminate meaning from seemingly related occurrences. Both terms have a contextual relation and are often used in a barely reflected way. Thus, it is a meritorious undertaking to examine the use of these terms more closely and summarize the findings to an interested readership. The Many Faces of Coincidence is the published version of the dissertation of philosopher and historian of science Laurence Browne on coincidences and synchronicity. It is a well-written work that provides a theoretical framework for the classification of different forms of coincidences. The book is divided into six chapters and they contained several surprises and interesting new insights.

In the first chapter, Browne deals with the introduction of the concept of synchronicity by Carl Custav Jung, its genesis, and Jung's predecessors and main influences. These include Arthur Schopenhauer with his transcendent will, Gottfried Leibniz and his Monadology, and Paul Kammerer (1919) and his law ofseriality, as well as theologian and sinologist Richard Wilhelm (Wilhelm &. Baynes, 1967) who introduced Jung familiar to the I Ching. Jung's idea of a synchronistic principle arose within the context of this relationship with Wilhelm. However, Jung elaborated the concept of synchronicity further in the context of the fruitful exchange with physicist and Nobel physics laureate Wolfgang Pauli at the end of the 1940s and during the 1950s (Lindorff, 2004). Nevertheless, the two scholars did not always share the same opinion. For example, Pauli criticized parts of Jung's conception of this kind of coincidences as logically inconsistent.

Jung was fascinated by specific characteristics of quantum physics that deviated from classical physics, and by the findings of experimental parapsychology, which he regarded as substantiating his model of acausal connections. Pauli recognized its potential as a possible explanation of synchronistic events, but he held the opinion that Jung did not differentiate in an appropriate manner between quantum-physical characteristics of nature and the findings of experimental parapsychology. He also considered the term synchronicity inapt because the relevant events would not necessarily have to happen exactly at the same point in time (i. e., be synchronous). However, although Jung was open to Pauli's suggestions and criticism, he kept the term, arguing that in synchronistic events the timeless sphere of archetypes would be connected to occurrences in the timely sphere, and therefore two synchronistic occurrences would not need to be synchronized in conventional time. The inclusion of the archetypical sphere into the characterization of synchronistic events makes Pauli's criticism of Jung's attempt to include the parapsychological experiments by Rhine understandable insofar as Pauli could not detect any meaningful occurrences based on archetypes in boring laboratory experiments consisting of countless trials of card guessing or die rolls. This is only one example of several conceptual ambiguities in Jung's thinking presented in Browne's book.

The important elements of the "composition of synchronicity," the title of the first chapter, include the idea that there are two types of synchronicity, namely a general principle of synchronicity as acausal connecting principle, and a narrower category of synchronistic events as specific manifestations of a general acausal order. Furthermore, there are spontaneously occurring and also induced synchronistic events--the latter occur in divinatory practices such as the I Ching, or in some magical practices. In general, synchronistic events are rather rare, and they are accompanied by an affective involvement of the people concerned. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Walk through the Manifold World of Coincidences
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.