David King, MSc, PhD
Writer, Teacher, and Health Psychologist


"We need not to be let alone. We need to be
really bothered once in a while. How long
is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something
real?" (Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451)
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by David King on November 10, 2009

I’m a person who believes in signs.

Back in the 1920′s (and later first published in 1952), Carl Jung proposed the idea of synchronicity – the experience that two events are related when no underlying causal connection exists or is likely to exist. Within this framework, logic, reason, and science are not the only possible means of linking events. Jung added to this list the concept of meaning – the interpretation of causality due to the individual perception of a meaningful relationship.

My own experience with synchronicity has been this: If you keep your mind open, the signs are everywhere. Now, being of a research and science background, this notion can be very problematic, as it essentially creates an experimenter bias within this massive study that is THE WORLD. However, I am not convinced that these signs – these acausal connections from which we can potentially extract buckets of meaning – would not be provided had we not “looked” in the first place. It is not a matter then of biasing the experiment by expecting particular outcomes. Rather, it is a matter of opening one’s mind in a way that allows one to perceive all possible results – to experience connections of all kinds. It seems to me that it would be a shame to only perceive those connections that can be reasoned, studied, and thought away.

From a scientific perspective, everything is connected anyway: electrons which interact stay connected always, over vast distances; we all evolved from the same primordial soup; everything in the universe originated from the same ‘big bang’; we all live in and affect the same complex ecosystem that is the Earth; and when I stop at a red light, others accelerate – while spinning their tires on rain water that is the same recycled water in which life first evolved billions of years ago. The list of course goes on, but when my mind reasons with the thought of synchronicity, I see only possibilities, no matter the edge of my sword. Perhaps believing in signs is really about believing in possibilities. No one can dictate what is meaningful in our lives, and by extension, no one can dictate what is connected – nor can they tell us whether a particular combination of numbers is a sign that we are on the right path or simply random noise in a random and otherwise meaningless universe. I will continue believing in signs. Why? Because I see them, and because in spite of living in a rational world, they have proven consistent. They have proven reliable.

No matter the origin of these signs, they should be embraced, interpreted at will, and preserved for hindsight. There may indeed be a fine line between faith (in anything) and insanity, but I for one am relieved to have found a little guidance – be it from acausal coincidence or the meaning gained therein.

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