Saturday, 14 July 2007

Jung's synchronicity

Today I had an experience which has finally resulted in me rejecting the Hindu's concept of karma. The idea of rejection had been looming within me for the past few months but i did not know of any other way to explain it. Today, I discovered another concept which i believe is more plausible but currently know very little about. I have to explain the full story to make my point. I was walking down a street in the city today when I noticed a homeless man coming my way. He had stopped all the people who had passed him, asking them for money, and he did the same to me. I have always thought to myself that if a homeless person ever asked me for money then I would tell them that I would be happy to buy them food rather than give them money directly. Anyway, this did not come to my mind at the time and I immediately refused this man's request and then felt a bit silly for not carrying out my premeditated idea. A short time later, I was waiting outside a shop and I had a view of this man in the rear-view mirror of my car. The idea of offering this man some food was heavily playing on my mind. After a bit of hesitation I walked up to him and told him that I would be happy to buy him some food but refused to give him money (he asked me for money for the second time and when i asked him what it was for, he said it was for food). Anyway, he accepted my offer and I bought him some food, for which he was very grateful. Later today I was walking through a hospital when I saw a $10 note on the floor. I looked around to see whether anyone had dropped it but there was no one in close proximity so I picked it up and decided to keep it. So that's my story. Some people may call this karma (i.e. you reap what you sow, where the effects may be immediate or delayed). Normally I would have put it down as karma as well, but for the past few months I have been questioning the concept of "karma created by God" because that is what I have believed for some time now. For a long time I had simply accepted that karma was managed by God without questioning it because it is a strong belief in Hinduism, which I am nominally and have been practising perfunctorily. I am also a believer of "signs" and "things happening for a reason" because some experiences I have had are too kooky to be coincidental, and in the past I have believed that these were also a result of God's intervention. However over the last few months I have questioned this belief which has eventuated to me renouncing my belief in karma and other concepts that are managed by God. I may later revoke what I am about to write but right now I feel this way. I had thought that if I were to renounce the concept of "karma", "coincidences" and "things happening for a reason" through God, I didn't know of any other way to explain these incidences because I don't believe in coincidences for everything. However just today, I happened to stumble across the works of Carl Jung. Before I go any further I will admit that all my readings on Carl Jung and his theory of synchronicity, which was done only tonight, have been from Wikipedia and other internet sources, so I am not fully informed on his works. Also, I don't know how credible some internet sources are so I may be misinformed and may well sound it. Jung was a psychologist who formulated the term "Synchronicity". The standard definition of snychronicity according to Wikipedia is "the experience of two or more events which occur in a meaningful manner, but which are causally inexplicable to the person or persons experiencing them". However in Jung's definition, "the events would also have to suggest some underlying pattern in order to satisfy the definition of synchronicity". Jung believed that "many experiences perceived as coincidences were not merely due to chance but, instead, suggested the manifestation of parallel events or circumstances reflecting this governing dynamic". (Wikipedia)

Another website had this explanation:
"Synchronicities are people, places or events that your soul attracts into your life to help you evolve to higher consciousness or to place emphasis on something going on in your life. The more 'consciously aware' you become of how your soul manifests, the higher your frequency becomes and the faster you manifest positively. Each day your life encounters meaningful coincidences, synchronicities, that you have attracted, on other words created in the grid of your experiences in the physical".

Now all of the above sounds synonymous to karma in a way but not the Hindu belief of karma, where karma is given out by God. I don't think Jung attributed synchronicity to the supernatural which is why I think it is a perfect reasoning for SOME incidences. This may also sound like I am renouncing my belief in God and truthfully I have lately been thinking about God's existence more seriously than I ever have before. However, right now, I am renouncing the "God managing karma and other coincidences" concept which I have described above; and will happily accept synchronicity over karma. The reason why I have used capital letters for the word "some" is because I don't think you can put everything down to synchronicity as some experiences occur just by plain coincidence. Also, Hindus strongly believe that the effects of karma are carried over from past lives and continued on when the soul is reincarnated. I believe that it is unhealthy to assume that suffering in your current life could be a result of your doings from your previous life, even though I am sitting on the fence for the notion of reincarnation. At this present time, i am happy to believe that everything that has occurred in this life is manifested ourselves from this current life. I will conclude this post with a quote from the Dalai Lama, which has resonated with me: "I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path".


J A G U A R I T O said...

Bravo! You continue to delight :-) I also rejected karma a long time ago, particularly after I realised how it was used to justify the caste system. I also eventually stopped believing in God. This is a discussion I would really like to have with you sometime. I still consider myself spiritual, albeit in a materialist sense. I will post something on my blog about this soon. Have you heard of the French Philosopher Henri Bergson? I'm really getting into him at the moment. He spoke of the "elan vital" or "life force"... I just started reading "Creative Evolution". Perhaps you might like to borrow it when I'm done? As for Jung, I still find he gives far too much credence to "design". Nothing is ever wholly dictated by external forces, nor is anything wholly achievable through sheer force of will alone. It is always a dance between the two. Furthermore, I do not believe that there is any intrinsic meaning in the universe. We ourselves create the meaning. That does not make serendipity or beautiful coincidences any less beautiful. Have you seen "I Heart Huckabees"? It is one of my favourite movies of all time. It discusses all of these big questions. You would love it!

The Afro Scientress said...

Hi, thank you for your comments :-) What do you mean by spiritual in the materialist sense? No, I haven’t heard of Henri Bergson and sure, I would love to borrow “Creative Evolution” sometime. I think I understand what you mean by the dance between the external forces and forces of will. I can’t remember whether I mentioned this to you the other day when we were talking about Karma, but for a long time I believed that we had little control over our lives. Ever since I started having second thoughts about religion, the existence of god, life, etc, which eventually lead to the renunciation of my religion, I sought for something to take its place. That’s when I came across synchronicity. It’s kind of a nice medium between my old self and where I am now. I’m kind of lingering at the moment. But yeah, I now believe that we have a level of control over what happens to us in addition to those moments of “chaos” (as you nicely put it) which intervene. I still do believe in the meaning of certain occurrences but at the same time I am aware of the danger in giving too much meaning to these occurrences.
At the time of writing the synchronicity post (and even now) I was in two minds about the existence of God. I believe that the existence of God is something personal. Have you heard of the French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal, and Pascal’s wager? He argued that people should live their lives as if God existed. Because, if God did not exist then you wouldn’t have lost anything but if he did exist then you would have gained everything ie. salvation, eternal life, etc. I like that sentiment so that is what I live by now. I guess it sounds like I am leaning towards agnosticism more than anything.

PS: I still use the term synchronicity and karma interchangeably, but when I say karma, I mean karma that is created by the self and not by supernatural forces.

J A G U A R I T O said...

Hey, nice to hear you expand on some of your thoughts :-) Personally, god or the supernatural play no part in my life whatsoever. I prefer to think of god like Santa Claus. Some people believe in him and some people don't, and it's cool... I just refuse to accord to humanity or to some imagined transcendental realm any laws which are separate from the laws of nature as a whole. As for my own sense of materialist spirituality, I will post something on my blog about it soon, and will send you the link :-) By the way, I think you would really like Henri Bergson :-) Can't wait to catch up soon, so we can discuss some of this further in person!

J A G U A R I T O said...

By the way, thank you for opening up and sharing all of these things with me... oh, and by the way, I hope you don't think I'm criticising your beliefs. I'm just stating my own beliefs, but not meaning to criticise yours in the process. I am really enjoying our exchange :-)