“If only God would give me a clear sign! Like making a large
deposit in my name at a Swiss bank…”
The discussion about synchronicity on this page continues on from that on my ‘God, Consciousness & The Universe’ page, so you might want to read that first; however it isn’t absolutely necessary.
The simple, rational arguments for and against the existence of God are are all very well, but a truly rational mind must, I think, consider some other aspects of our perceived reality. It is no good just ignoring things that really do seem to happen, simply because they don’t seem rationally explicable. These are the areas of intuition and synchronicity.
Definition of Synchronicity
Synchronicity was, I think, a term coined by the pioneering psychologist, Carl
Gustav Jung. His psychology is a little too mystical for most scientific types to swallow,
but my feeling is that he was prepared to look at difficult questions that other, more
orthodox types are inclined to shy away from because it is impossible to experiment with
them properly. Hence, his work is relevant to the discussion here.
Synchronicity is an acausal connecting principle. That is, we are normally used to events connecting in
a causal fashion: I drop a plate, so it falls to the floor and breaks. We have a cause,
and an effect. With synchronicity, the links are different. Instead we have what look like
coincidences, with meanings attached: I may be working on ‘growing up’ and becoming an
independent adult, free of the influence of my parents. As I walk along the street, I see
some litter: a card, with a picture of a tiger on it. Later, I find a little spider
walking up my shirt sleeve. I see a TV programme in which they play a few moments of
Abba’s “Mama Mia,” and so on. Tiger, spider and Mama Mia are all Mother symbols.
Coincidence? Of course. Synchronicity? Yes too.
We have all experienced this in small ways. Suppose you decide to buy a
four-wheel-drive car. Suddenly, you will start seeing them everywhere, whereas you barely
noticed them before. Your subconscious radar is seeking them out for you. Or, you think of
a friend who you haven’t spoken to for ages, and shortly thereafter, they phone you.
Statistically, it can be shown that this has to happen sometimes, indeed, more often than
most people might expect. But it is synchronicity too, because it is meaningful for you.
To me, it is as if the Universe (or whatever) is attempting to help supply
information that is relevant to you: is this it? Or this? How about this? Sometimes the
synchronicities can be quite stunning. Keep watching and listening for them and you will
be amazed before long.
What Does Synchronicity Imply?
I think it is fair to say that most people have strange experiences from time-to-time, and that some of these experiences are rather hard to explain from a purely rational, reductionistic point of view, especially as such things are impossible to repeat at will in the laboratory. I am thinking of intuitive knowledge, baffling ‘coincidences’, prophetic dreams, and so on. What are we to make of these things?
Obviously, some such things can be explained quite satisfactorily by conventional means. For example, intuitive knowledge may mostly be the result of unconscious, instinct-based observation and calculation. Indeed, introspection tells me that this is clearly an adequate explanation nearly all of the time. Similarly, weird coincidences could be just that: coincidences. Of course. But can we really be so sure that the Universe operates in that way? On reflection, it seems to me to act more like a random-access database, throwing up ‘coincidences’, that is, ‘information’, at just the right time – as long as we are listening. And if so, then we have an obvious loophole in reality through which the hand of God (or just whatever the Great Mystery of existence actually is) may operate.
Now, to provide a firmer basis for discussion, I am going to describe some experiences that I have had: then we will have some context within which what I am trying to talk about may become a little clearer.
Some Prophetic Dreams
Many years ago, when I was about 13, I woke up in the middle of the night laughing at a peculiar dream I had just had. I had dreamed that I was walking down the road where I lived. The road led past a grassy bank upon which some children were playing. I overheard one of them telling the others about “Tyrannosaurus Eagles.”
Well, I woke up at this point, and as it struck me as funny, I had a good laugh about it. Furthermore, I had some intuitive knowledge or feeling that it was a dream about the future, so I said to myself that I would be sure to remember this dream if those events were to happen and I made a point of fixing the dream in my mind so there would be no doubt that I had indeed dreamed it and that I would not consider it to be just a false memory (I was a proper little scientist, even at that age).
Some time later, a few weeks or perhaps a few months, I was in town, and saw in a shop window display a kite made of transparent polythene with a design of an eagle on it. Well, I left it there, but the bug had bitten and later I went back and bought myself one. Then, when the weather was windy enough, I took it up to a hill that was not far from where I lived, at the high point of a wooded area. I knew that there was a large and secluded field there, hidden by the trees that surrounded it, and that I would be able to fly the kite without being bothered by other people.
Well, it flew fine for a while, but – perhaps you’ve guessed it – the string broke, and it sailed away over the trees in the general direction of my house. Not expecting to be able to find it, I went home and sat in the living room for a while. Then the thought occurred to me that I might be able to find it if I took a stroll down the road. It had been flying that way after all, and couldn’t have gone too far without falling to the ground.
I went outside and walked down the road. The road led past a grassy bank, and there were some children playing on it. I overheard one of them telling the others about “Tyrannosaurus Eagles.” I remembered the dream (the events were identical) and realized that they must have seen my kite. I asked about it and indeed they had seen it, but were surprised to discover that it was a kite and not a flying monster. Anyway, they led me to it, and retrieved it from someone’s back garden for me.
I had numerous minor dreams of the future after the one above, most of which manifested as little more than ‘deja vu’ experiences; that is, the feeling of having seen the event before. Some of these I could relate to dreams, but most I couldn’t with any degree of certainty. Interestingly, many of them centred around maths lessons at school. My maths was a bit dodgy at that time, so perhaps it benefited me to sit through some of the lessons twice! There was, I think, one more major dream of the future that I can’t remember at present – maybe I’ll add it if it comes back to me. Then, at the age of 19, when I was in my first year at college, I had what was to prove to be the last one for many years. I had been wanting to do some sort of experiment with these dreams, to discover if the future was fixed, or whether it could be altered if you knew of it in advance. This dream was my opportunity.
In this dream, I was working on a lathe (a machine that spins a lump of metal or wood allowing you to grind or carve it into a cylindrically symmetrical shape). Having finished what I was doing, I pushed the tool-chuck back, away from the object I was carving, expecting there to be a stop at the end of the rail it rode on to prevent it falling off. However, the chuck slid along its rail, and fell off the end of the machine. I woke up. I don’t actually remember waking up now, but I remember remembering that I did… I did for each of what I call the ‘major’ dreams of the future – I woke up, in each case knowing that the dream was of the future. The ‘minor’ dreams, however, didn’t have this characteristic.
Two years later, in my final year at college, we had to do a project as part of the degree course. Because we might have to make some of our own equipment, we each had to learn how to use the machine tools in the physics workshop. I had never been in this workshop before, although it was next door to one of the labs we had used for our physics experiments, and indeed there were small windows in the adjoining wall. However, I had never consciously known what was in that room. Unconsciously, it may have been noted of course.
Anyway, there I was, working on making a pulley, using the workshop’s lathe. Having finished what I was doing, I pushed the chuck back, expecting that there would be a stop at the end of the rail to prevent it falling off. At that moment, the dream came back to me and I stopped the chuck. I tested it. It would indeed have fallen off the end of the machine if I hadn’t had that dream.
The future had been changed, if future it was.
The price for that knowledge was that I had no more dreams of the future for the best part of two decades (they are showing signs of coming back to me, slowly), although there was no such restriction on other synchronicities.
A Recent Dream
This dream is evidence to me that the facility of prophetic dreaming is not completely dormant in me. In this case, I didn’t wake up immediately following the dream, and didn’t know at the time that it contained elements from my future. I just felt that it was important in some way, partly because the colours were so vivid (I always dream in colour, but in this dream the colours were enhanced – more real than real). It could be just coincidence, but somehow, I don’t think so.
I dreamed this in about November 1999, plus or minus a month. I dreamed that I was going home from work. It was evening, and the setting Sun’s light was gleaming off the beautiful glass-covered modern buildings in a landscaped industrial park. Airliners were parked alongside the buildings.
There is more to this dream, but that is the salient part for the moment. In mid-February 2000, after some time spent job-hunting, I started a new, three-month contract. It was based in a landscaped industrial park on the outskirts of West London. The buildings were modern, and many had glass cladding and were very similar, but not identical, to the buildings in the dream. Aircraft were not parked outside the buildings (except one, which is served daily by helicopter), but I was working at supporting flight engineering operations for an airline company whose operations were based mainly at Heathrow and Gatwick airports. I had not supported any airline prior to this job.
Pretty close, it seems to me. The rest of the dream is more metaphorical than this. I wind up as some sort of slave living in a dreadful slum. Without going into the details, I interpreted that to mean that I could expect serious money problems soon. This didn’t surprise me: I often have minor money problems, i.e., bills to pay, and was at the time seriously overstretched. Furthermore, five years or so ago, someone did an Egyptian knuckle-bone reading for me, in return for a Tarot reading I had done for her. She foresaw a serious accident in my early forties (I’m a 1959 person), unless I took great care travelling. Early in 2000 a Christian ‘prophet’ told me something similar, but this time the get-out was clearer: I could avoid it if I avoided being out after midnight until the end of June 2000, except for work or religious purposes.
Well, my intuition flagged both of these as correct and worth paying attention to, and tied it in with that dream as well, so what would you have done? Me, I stayed in! Trouble is, that meant that if they were correct and I did manage to stay in for three months, then nothing would happen. On the other hand, if I forgot, Greek myth style, then I’ll know whether the forecasts are correct or not. Hmm… At least I knew, from my dream about the lathe, that the future foreseen is not the future that has to happen.
Well, what did happen? Nothing. I stayed in for a few months – no big deal for me, as I’m one of life’s indoorsy types anyway. I’ve read enough Greek myths to be aware of the pitfalls of tempting fate! Of course, it means that the ‘experiment’, if I can call it that, is void as the result is entirely obscure, but then again, I live to experiment another day. As for money problems, well, they came and went as they always have done with me, and as usual I managed to keep my head above water. Of course, if I had had a serious accident, that situation could have been far different…
Right… time has moved on since I wrote the above and there is more to add! Firstly, that dream, about which I said that there was more to it. It is about time I said what that was, I think. In the dream, at around sunset, I left the glass-clad buildings/cultivated young tree-lined area on an open-top tube-style or goods-style train, heading for home. The train soon arrived at a bridge where I got off. A man was waiting there. I knew he was the Devil, but to cross the bridge I would have to let him do what he was planning to do. He took my left arm (I think) and injected me in the region of the wrist with something to make me into a slave. I then crossed the bridge and entered a slum house on the ground floor. It was undecorated, filthy, with metal-reinforced doors, straw on the floor for bedding, graffiti everywhere, and little else. I saw that the back door was broken from its hinges and I could leave that way, but I was concerned about leaving because I was not sure what that injection might do to me if I left. I looked out. Some boys were playing on bikes. One of them spoke to me briefly, surprised that I was living there (he may have been planning to stay there himself). The Sun was shining over some houses. It certainly looked like a way out. I hesitated, and saw some food, a bowl of chilli-con-carne on a tray in the doorway, for me. I sat down to eat while I considered what to do. I woke up before eating.
So. What happened? Well, after leaving the job at the fancy industrial park when my contract ended, I couldn’t find any more contract work. In the end, I decided that I had better do something, anything, just to avoid getting into too much debt (I always seem to be in debt, but there are limits to what is sustainable in the long term). I advertised in a jobs newsgroup and to my surprise I got a reply from a company based near King’s Cross, central London. I was looking for something that I could use to improve my Cisco router skills and they couldn’t really offer that, but they were offering some work with servers and a little router work, possibly, so, even though the pay was around my break-even point, I decided that marginal pay was better than zero pay and unreliable welfare benefits, and took the job. The ‘office’ was an absolute tip: ‘slum’ is the right word for it, really. It was the boss’s flat and it was not looked after at all: threadbare carpets, smelly kitchen, computers on rickety kitchen tables… you get the picture. If the office was the ‘slum’ then it is fair to say that the boss was the ‘Devil’. They didn’t manage to keep up with the pay they promised me (although they did give raises, they got behind) and so my debts did not improve: they got worse. After a year, I finally could work no more (no pay = no motivation for me), so I left (to cut a long story short!). They owed me about £9500 when I left. Some of that has been paid, but not all of it.
I quit with no work to go to, pretty much burned out, and with increased debts. What to do? There was a recession in the property market at that time and the resale price of my house was currently less than I had paid for it. I refinanced my house so I could live on the proceeds, and use some of the money to do it up for resale (the Sun shining over the houses in the dream? The way out? My future as a Property Tycoon?) I converted the house into two flats because it was worth more that way, and put it up for sale.
While doing the house up (or while a friend, my Project Manager, was doing it up), my debts continued to mount at a tremendous rate since before long I was using my credit cards both to live on and to finance the work on the house. Eventually the cards ran out at around minus £60,000 and I took a bank loan to tide me over… In those days they’d lend money to anybody, job or no job. Anyway, the idea was that once the house was sold, it would wipe out all debts (or, failing that, some) and I could live on the proceeds of my work. Except, of course, that I still had no work. A slight problem with the plan right there, I think. This was when the next set of synchronicities turned up.
The Pizza Guys Synchronicity
I moved out of the house and rented the two flats out, pending what I hoped would be an eventual sale. I began renting a tiny studio flat for myself. Meanwhile, I considered taking up minicabbing, since all it needs is a car and some time, and it seems like the kind of work that can be picked up and dropped pretty much at will. I was pondering this in a general sort of way, when a pizza delivery man called. I had ordered no pizza. A few days later, another called. And another. I was on the phone to a friend, telling her about this, and one called at her door while I was on the phone! She had ordered no pizza! I got the message. OK, I would do it. The pizza guys stopped calling. A couple of weeks later, I began to have doubts about this course of action. A pizza delivery guy called. Sigh. So, I began minicabbing. It was not profitable in fact, as I did not own my own vehicle so had to rent one, so I quit it after a few months. Still, I had done as the angels (or pizza guys) told me, so I guess there must have been a reason (superstitiously thinking). Maybe the reason doesn’t involve me directly (the butterfly effect in the sense that my doing this may cause consequential changes elsewhere that I might know nothing about). Or, of course, it could all be coincidence and I could indeed just be being superstitious. Who knows? Not I. Maybe time will tell. At a minimum, it allowed me to get by for a few months. That was in 2004. The house sold after a year, paying off some, but not all of the debts. C’est la vie! In a very powerful way, the dream was right and I became, for a time, a slave to debt. That’s really the main reason I am so strongly against wasting money and taking on debt these days. Avoid it like the plague folks!
These days, things seem to be going better, as I have been able to get regular work and gradually increasing income most of the time despite the so-called Great Recession (Great Depression, really). The Universe seems to reward hard work, over time – at least in my case.
I may add more on these subjects, but for now, that’s all I can think of. It doesn’t really say much about the existence of a God or Gods, but it does say something about the nature of the Universe. To me, these events suggest that something is going on; but as with other arguments, they don’t make it clear what, exactly.