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October 2021

Synchronicity, causality, and acausality

Journal/Book: J Parapsychol. 1999; 63: 402 N Buchanan Blvd, Durham, NC 27701-1728, USA. Inst Parapsychology. 247-269.

Abstract: Much criticism has been leveled at C. G. Jung's theory of synchronicity usually as a result of misunderstanding certain key, but often obscure, concepts used by Jung in his major essay Synchronicity (1960). The issues of meaningfulness, causality, and acausality are discussed, because synchronicity is by definition ''a coincidence in time of two or more causally unrelated events which have the same or a similar meaning'' (Jung, 1960, para. 849). Synchronicity is contrasted with coincidence as a ''meaningless chance grouping,'' and the Law of Large Numbers is shown not to give account of all cases of ostensible synchronicity. Braude's (1979) philosophical criticism against synchronicity stems partly from an incomplete consideration of Jung's understanding of the word ''meaning,'' and the semantic quandary of what constitutes a cause and what constitutes contingence. Quantum mechanics has forced the marginalization of historical (efficient) causality as the only cause-and-effect explanation of all phenomena, while scientific (sufficient) causality explains on pragmatic grounds both quantum effects and paranormal phenomena (psi) because they have ''consistency and repeatability'' (Mansfield, Rhine-Feather, ge Hall, 1998, p. 20). Mansfield et al. Argue that psi is historically acausal but scientifically causal, whereas synchronistic phenomena (also historically acausal) are too ''sporadic and unpredictable'' (p. 20) to be considered scientifically causal. Jung's (1960) and Braud's (1983) experiments challenge this latter assumption. Both synchronicity and psi are chance-like in manifestation, but their effects can be determined statistically, while many forms of psi phenomena are shown to be meaningful, as is sl;synchronicity. It is suggested that generally psi and synchronicity are more alike than Mansfield et al. Claim, and that synchronicity and psi are scientifically causal for another reason: synchronistic archetypal contingence is no different in effect than psi-permissive and psi-conducive conditions, which may all be described as metacausal.

Note: Article Storm L, Univ Adelaide, Dept Psychol, Adelaide, SA 5005, AUSTRALIA

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