What Makes Coincidence Meaningful?

Carl Jung coined synchronicity as a meaningful coincidence. Some may say coincidence has no meaning; that odds will eventually churn out some strange things, but those have no signifficance. So how do we defend the position that some coincidences are meaningful or more significant than others? I will attempt to address why a purely statistical analysis of coincidence is inadequate, and why the experience of meaning is central to coincidence.

The Scenario
Imagine you place a dime on your driveway. Now imagine you take a second dime and hurl it straight into the air. The dime you throw lands near you, bounces several times, and lands dirletly on top of the first dime.

What are the odds that this would happen? What are the odds that the winds and humidity would be just right? What are the odds that each of the millions of muscle myocites in your arm would fire in just the right way to send the coin hurtling through the air in its precise trajectory so that it falls in the precise place, at the exact angle against the rough concrete surface to bounce several fortuitous times, topple over, and rest on its twin?  There are two ways of looking at this.

The Incomplete Statistics
One way to look explain the odds is to say that the odds of the tossed dime landing safely with other in the same precise location is not interesting; it is statistically equal to the dime landing in any other location. In other words, the odds of the first dime landing on the other is just as unlikely as it having landed a millimeter away, a centimeter away, or a meter away. The dimes on top of each other have no special statistical significance.

There is a problem with this view, though it is mathematically sound. This view is entirely objective and discards the experience.

The Experience
Consider the second way of looking at this scenario. The first dime placed on the ground actually is experientially significant because it a focal point for attention. Thought is focused on that one spot because it differs from all the other trillions of locations on the pavement around it. So mind endows the dime with signifficance. Now, when the focal point of the dime on the ground and the focal point of the dime falling from above harmonize, we have a cosmic alignment, a celestial event, an eclipse of staggering signifficance.

The Final Test
So this is the test of where truth resides… Some could argue all day that there is no more significance to this event than any other occurrence happening. But I ask, which person, if this actually happened to them, would not remember this coincidence for the rest of their life?

Conclusion
What makes coincidence meaningful is our God-given perogative to focus our attention. We deem focal points worthy of attention. When disperate focal points align, there is synchronicity.

In the face of synchronicity, statistics take a back seat to the baffling experience of impossible significance occurring.

Advertisements