Six Questions about Synchronicity
Asked by Jesse Ducharme to Antero Alli (12/5/2011)
Question 1 : What is the limit between a synchronicity and
an illusory correlation bias?
What limits perception of authentic synchronicity? The automatic assignment of meaning. We often unconsciously assign meaning to events whether they are inherently meaningful or not. When this automatic mental action happens around our daily coincidences, it can create a deep and meaningless trance of faux synchronicity -- a form of self-hypnosis where we con (convince) ourselves into believing something carries far more significance than it actually deserves. Discerning between assumed, or projected, meaning and an authentic open perception of innate meaning demands a consistent practice of reality checking our perceptions. If no reality checks occur, we court self-delusion. When we are writing our own reality checks, we are more likely to liberate a second attention or, an awareness not linked to the thinking machine but to Presence. And authentic synchronicity expresses a Presence beyond the thinking machine.
Question 2 : Is there a link between the creative process of an individual
and the apparition of synchronicity unto his life ?
That depends on how “creativity” is defined, approached, and expressed. Creativity fueled by ego, with its relentless demand for credit and attention, can arouse narcissistic fantasies of excessive self-importance which can exaggerate the significance of whatever is being created, ie., “my ideas will change the world.” This type of limited creativity expresses the infantile stages of ego development that may be necessary to further evolution and maturity, ie., you first need an ego to get beyond ego. If you can get beyond ego, you can open up to sources of creativity beyond your wildest imagination. This process has been dramatized in my group paratheatre work with the Muse archetype. Wherever interaction and dialogue with autonomous archetypes can guide the ego to serve creation, rather than identify as a “creator”, the playing fields of creation seriously expand. Any process where the personal ego serves transpersonal forces nurtures a mature relationship with creation while opening the doors of perception to more synchronicity.
artwork by James Koehnline
Question 3 : Can synchronicity be a personal development tool?
If so, what are the benefits and can these benefits be gained
by active use of synchronicity?
As I understand synchronicity we are talking about awareness of, and participation in, a transpersonal event beyond our control and comprehension. Though we can experience it, I doubt it can be willed or figured out like some puzzle. The phrase “active use of synchronicity” has the ring of self-delusion to me. It is more likely that synchronicity actively uses us. To benefit from being “used” by synchronicity requires nonchalance. Don’t make synchronicity a big deal. Synchronicity may simply be the standard time zone of the cosmos - behind the common misconception of time as defined by the clock face.
Another way of getting closer to the experience of synchronicity is to fully believe in yourself. If synchronicity expresses the hidden timing behind all existing events, then it stands to reason that our experience of good timing may depend on synchronization with existence, of a personal alignment with the existing conditions of our lives. When we align our minds with existence, we self-synchronize. I think Goethe's word for synchronicity was Providence:
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
from "Hungry Ghosts of Albion"
a 2-act play by Antero Alli
Question 4 : How can synchronicity give insight into someone's unconscious ?
What is possible to discover this way?
If synchronicity expresses the innate timing of the universe, then it runs deeper than what the conscious mind can usually detect. Until the phenomena of synchronicity shocks our ego into awareness of itself, this hidden timing continues playing out while we’re not watching, whether that be in our nocturnal dream life or our daytime waking life. What we perceive as synchronicity may only be the tip of the iceberg. The universe may not only be stranger than we think; it may be stranger than we CAN think. As for containing insights into the unconscious, that depends on how much new information and shock a person can allow or endure. Insight is not always wonderful. If we cannot find new ways to live with more truth about ourselves, insight can become a source of annoyance, anxiety and dread. Living with more truth may also amount to how much compassion you can show yourself and others. Truth without compassion feels like cruelty to me.
artwork by James Koehnline
Question 5 : What’s the relationship between synchronicity and
individual and collective archetypes?
Before this question can be addressed, we must first understand what is meant by the oft misunderstood and over-used term,“archetype”. Since psychologist Carl Jung first made this term popular over fifty years ago, as he did with “synchronicity”, I refer to his notion of the origins of archetypes:
“It seems to me their origin [i.e. archetypes] can only be explained
by assuming them to be deposits of the constantly repeated
experiences of humanity.” - Carl Jung
Going on Jung’s assumption, the relationship between synchronicity and individual & collective archetypes may exist as a deeply complex network of communication lines shared between autonomous psychic events. They are autonomous when they have lives and agendas of their own. The constantly repeated experiences of humanity over centuries and aeons creates its own massive multi-layering weave in the collective psyche that webs our psyches together on deep unconscious levels.Repeating the same experiences deepen neurological grooves in the brain that act out in predictable behavior and habit patterns. We are fated to redundancy until we make some choices to go against the grain of old habits and engage new experiences to break the redundancy trance of habitual response.
With that said, I see the relationship between synchronicity and individual and collective archetypes opening up as a never-ending mystery to be lived, rather than any problem to be solved or any event to be merely comprehended. Psychic events linking us with synchronicity and the archetypes link us to the transpersonal. As such, these events are not likely to be subject to our beck and call or our control or immediate comprehension. Though all these psychic events can be experienced directly and offer unspoken insights and revelations, it may be a misguided effort to try and define or categorize them for any sake of intellectual convenience. Those ambitions may be best served by intuition and more sensory processes via more artistic mediums like poetry, music, cinema, and any other creative mediums giving expression to the ineffable but without provision of explanation, thesis, or formula.
Question 6 : What type of belief can increase the manifestation
of synchronicity and its significance ?
Total belief in oneself tempered by deep receptivity and empathy to others and the living planet. The world we know and live in may be more mental than we realize. That's the way of culture and cultural trance. If we are to open up to the innate timing of existence, it may not be enough to break cultural trance and open the doors of perception. We may have to walk out through those doors to a place beyond the constructs of the mind itself -- where labels, explanations, and theories fail and where our hearts ignite in a blaze of feral creation.
Other Interviews with Antero Alli
Articles by Antero and others (paratheatre-related)