10th June 2021. Reading Time: 6 minutes General, Paranormal Theories. 1588 page views. 3 comments.

What is synchronicity? Is there some sort of significant meaning or is it just how we perceive information? Do you believe in Synchronicity or is it just coincidence? 

The concept of Synchronicity was first brought to the limelight by an analytical psychologist by the name of Carl Jung. It was first coined in the 1920s, but it wasn't until the 1950's that Jung produced a paper "Synchronizität als ein Prinzip akausaler Zusammenhänge" (Synchronicity – An Acausal Connecting Principle) explaining this revelation. The concept is fairly simple and is best described in his own words.

Synchronicity: A meaningful coincidence of two or more events where something other than the probability of chance is involved.

Also described as a 'meaningful coincidence', Jung was a big believer in the paranormal. He felt that if there were two randomly connected events that had no causal relationship but this connection held some sort of significant meaning, he felt something else was at work and called this synchronicity.

Image Source AZ Quotes

A simple explanation can be something like whenever you look at your watch in the morning you see the time 11:11. Maybe it is a different number that is specific or special to you.  Maybe you are sitting at a restaurant and hearing a conversation that gives you the answer to the inner question that has been on your mind?  Most commonly people report thinking of a song in their head and then hearing it on the radio. Maybe you were just thinking of someone you haven't spoken to in some time and you run into them at the shops or they randomly call you on the phone?  'What are the odds?' you say? If you were to actually calculate the odds of this kind of events happening, you would think they would only occur once or twice in a lifetime. In reality, they happen quite a lot more than that. More than what odds could define. This is why many believe it to be a message from the universe that you are on the right path or open to spiritual guidance. I can't tell you what the message or significance is, as it is personalized to you.

While this very concept is widely believed, there is also another possibility.

The Baader-Meinhof phenonmenon

Our brain is always looking for different ways to interpret information. When it does this, it usually looks for patterns. In doing so, it can make something completely insignificant suddenly seem relevant. Say you have a conversation with your friend about the new car they have just bought. In my case, this happened to me with my husband when get purchased a new car. He bought a Renault Clio RS.  This is a sports car I honestly had never heard of and thought I had never seen before. All of a sudden everywhere I looked, I saw the same car. The kids would suddenly point them out on the road every single day.  It was like they suddenly came out of hiding and they were everywhere. In reality, I don't think there was a sudden surge of everyone in my neighbourhood purchasing this car.  It is more likely that they already did have these cars but I never noticed it.  It wasn't relevant to me.  Now that it was, I noticed it everywhere! This is referred to as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

It is a term that is more easily pronounced as frequency illusion or recency illusion. After your brain learns a new piece of information, you start to notice it everywhere you go. The name Baader-Meinhof phenomenon was first coined back in 1994 when a commenter dubbed what was then referred to as the frequency illusion as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Baader-Meinhof was a militant West German terrorist group in the 1970s. In 1994, a commenter for the St Paul Minnesota Pioneer Press randomly heard references to this group within a period of 24 hours. It seemed to catch on and the term is now more widely referred to as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

Synchronicity or cognitive bias?

While here you have two explanations, I cannot tell you if what you experienced was synchronicity or just your cognitive bias.  This is because it all comes down to how you view the World.  I have used this quote many times to drill down this point, and here I am posting it again.  

People break down into two groups. When they experience something lucky, group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck. Just a happy turn of chance. I'm sure the people in group number two are looking at those fourteen lights in a very suspicious way. For them, the situation is a fifty-fifty. Could be bad, could be good. But deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they're on their own. And that fills them with fear. Yeah, there are those people. But there's a whole lot of people in group number one. When they see those fourteen lights, they're looking at a miracle. And deep down, they feel that whatever's going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope. See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?

This is a quote spoken by Mel Gibson's character in the movie Signs.  He is a former Priest who has lost his faith in God after his wife died tragically in a car accident. In a lot of ways, I feel like this really sums up the way a lot of people view the paranormal and I guess the universe in general. Some people see things as a sign or a message from beyond. Others just see it as a coincidence. How do you view the world? Do you believe we have spirit guides or even guardian angels looking out for us guiding our way or do we just get lucky? Do you believe everything happens for a reason or things just happen because you make them happen? Our belief in these sort of things alter our perception of situations and ultimately the world. It doesn't make either person right or wrong because there is no right or wrong answer here. It all comes down to how we view the world.

It also shows us how much our belief interferes with the way we investigate and research the paranormal.  While one person may connect events of an evening to something on a spiritual level, another may put it down to coincidence.  It is why we will never all agree on certain things.  Again it doesn't necessarily make one person right or one person wrong because we really don't know.  All we know is what we believe ... or as Carl Jung puts it, what he knows.

The word 'belief' is a difficult thing for me. I don't believe. I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing, and then I know it - I don't need to believe it.

Carl Jung

Do you believe in Synchronicity or is it just coincidence? 

For myself, I try to apply a bit of both.  A big part of me does believe that things happen when they are supposed to and that maybe everything happens for a reason, the rational side of me also tells me that not every little thing is connected.  Much like Jung, I guess there are some things I just know deep inside and those are just for me!

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  • Tracy 2 years ago

    I do believe that things happen for a reason but I try to apply a bit of a sceptical lens to that point of view. Like you, I tend to disregard more phenomenon than I accept. There are certain things that have happened though that I cannot deny. For example, I was conducting an ITC session at a reputedly haunted location. I finished up taking photographs and running my session and then headed off to my campsite 20 minutes north. Come the morning I realized that my credit card was missing. The last place I used it was right near the location I had been investigating and so I returned that morning to see if I could find it. When I got back to the location I was fortunate enough to have found it and I went inside for another quick session before I moved on that day. While conducting an ITC session with a little RadioShack that I have, I asked the question “did you bring me back here on purpose?“ A voice clearly replied within seconds one word. “Gotcha”. The answer that came over the radio I found quite shocking indeed and I have trouble putting this aside as meaningless. If this wasn’t paranormal then it was one hell of a coincidence. So do I believe in synchronicity? More now than I did before that’s for certain. A great article thank you very much.

    • LLIFS 2 years ago

      Thankyou so much for sharing your experience

      • Tracy Simpson 2 years ago

        My pleasure. It is a very intriguing topic and I find my opinion has become less sceptical as time and experience comes and goes. As is my method, I have a video of the "gotcha" session and I re-watch it often. Its one that I've been unable to just simply brush off. Thanks again for the great article.