Almost all of his major theoretical
formulations were influenced by, and in some cases may even have
taken their origin from, his attempts to come to terms with his
experiences, observations, and studies of paranormal phenomena (see
It has been found relevant by
psychotherapists, parapsychologists, researchers of spiritual
experience, and a growing number of non-specialists. Indeed, Jung's
writings in this area form an excellent general introduction to the
whole field of the paranormal.
The remainder of this introduction follows the same pattern as the selections. First discussed are Jung's experiences and interpretations of the paranormal. Then the various other influences that contributed to his formulation of the theory of synchronicity are considered. Next the central ideas of the theory of synchronicity itself are examined in detail.
Finally, there is a review of some of
the areas of paranormal experience which Jung addressed once he was
equipped with the theory of synchronicity.
The reality of these events, he says, was 'taken for granted in the world of my childhood' (Jung 1963: 104). More specifically, paranormal experiences were virtually commonplace in Jung's family. His maternal grandfather, Samuel Preiswerk, had believed himself to be continually surrounded by ghosts and would devote one day every week to conversing with the spirit of his deceased first wife, for whom he kept a special chair in his study (Jaffé 1984: 40).
Jung's grandmother Augusta,
Preiswerk's second wife, was believed to be clairvoyant (Jaffé 1984:
40). And the couple's daughter, Jung's mother, experienced 'strange
occurrences' with sufficient regularity to write a diary exclusively
dedicated to them (Jaffé 1971: 2).
When Jung was twenty-three and by that time a medical student, a couple of incidents happened which he says were 'destined to influence me profoundly' (Jung 1963: 108). On one occasion a round walnut table in his family home suddenly and inexplicably split with a loud bang.
Two weeks later another loud explosion
was heard, and it was discovered that a steel knife which was in
perfect condition and had been used to cut bread just an hour before
had miraculously shattered into four in a closed drawer (Jung 1963:
107--9). These experiences contributed to his decision to enter the
then widely despised field of psychiatry (Jung 1963: 107, 110--11;
also Baumann-Jung 1975: 46).
His observations at these séances formed the basis for his doctoral dissertation, later published as 'On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena' (1902). The desire to present his findings in an optimally objective light is undoubtedly why this as well as his various subsequent accounts (Jung 1925: 3--6, 9--10; Jung 1973: 181--2; Jung 1963: 109--10) all conceal to various degrees the full extent of his personal involvement.
As F. X. Charet summarizes what is now known:
This degree of engagement is consistent
with other information about Jung's interests at the time. In
particular, one of the lectures he delivered to his student
fraternity, the Zofingia Society, consists largely of an
impassioned and informed appeal for the serious scientific study of
spiritualistic phenomena (Jung 1897; see also Oeri 1970: 187--8).
The primarily descriptive account given in his dissertation prefigures several of the themes of his mature psychology. The medium's ability when in the trance state to manifest a variety of seemingly autonomous personalities provided evidence for the dissociability and unconscious functioning of the psyche - observations which would eventually lead to the formulation first of complexes and later of archetypes.
While analyzing his cousin's trances
psychiatrically, Jung did not dismiss the psychic dissociation as
simply pathological; the secondary personalities she was manifesting
could also be therapeutic, representing 'attempts of the future
character to break through' (Jung 1902: 79). The emphasis here on
the positive, prospective tendency of apparently pathological
symptoms foreshadows Jung's later ideas of compensation,
individuation, and active imagination.
His publicly expressed view at this time was that the results were,
Even after the beginning of his association with Freud in 1907, Jung's preoccupation with the paranormal continued. Initially, Freud was highly sceptical and dismissive about the entire field - an attitude expressed most vividly in his exhortation to Jung to make the sexual theory 'a dogma, an unshakeable bulwark' against 'the black tide of mud ... of occultism' (Jung 1963: 147--8).
It is true that this resistance eventually mellowed to the point where he was actually encouraging Jung's experiments and even attending séances himself (Charet 1993: 196--7).
However, he was still not willing to
expose the full extent of his interest publicly, nor would he accede
to Jung's demand that the theoretical basis of psychoanalysis be
broadened to take account of spiritualistic phenomena that were
inadequately explained in terms of sexuality.
Later in the evening, however, in the course of an argument about paranormal phenomena, a seemingly unaccountable detonation went off in Freud's bookcase. When Freud dismissed Jung's parapsychological interpretation of this event, Jung predicted that the same thing would happen again, and so, to Freud's consternation, it did (Jung 1963: 152).
Freud's letter to Jung continues by
remarking of this phenomenon, by which he admitted to having been
impressed, that it 'then and there [i.e., immediately after his
'anointing' of Jung] ... divested me of my paternal dignity' (in
Jung 1963: 333). Whether or not consciously realized at the time,
this incident symbolized the inevitable divergence between the two
psychologists. One of the main causes of this divergence was the
significance each attached to paranormal phenomena.
While James's influence on Jung was mainly through his writings (Jung 1976: 452), Flournoy's was more personal. In an appendix contained in the Swiss but omitted in the English edition of Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung recounts that during the period of his disaffection with Freud he would regularly see Flournoy, who both helped him formulate his understanding of Freud's limitations and encouraged him in his own researches on somnambulism, parapsychology, and the psychology of religion (summarized in Charet 1993: 235).
It was also through Flournoy that Jung
became interested in the creative imagination and specifically in
the 'Miller Fantasies', which were to form the basis for his
Symbols of Transformation (1911--12/1952) - the work in which
Jung first expressed openly his divergence from Freud (Jung 1963:
158; Charet 1993: 235).
One of the earliest experiences Jung
mentions specifically of a meaningful coincidence concerns this
figure: Philemon had appeared in his dreams with kingfisher's wings,
and Jung, in order to understand the image better, did a painting of
it. While engaged on this, he happened to find in his garden, for
the first and only time, a dead kingfisher (Jung 1963: 175--6).
As several writers have noted, the
Septem Sermones - whose relation to spiritualistic
communications is obvious, if also rather eccentric (see Segal 1992:
37--8) - express in germinal form almost all of Jung's developed
ideas: the nature of the unconscious, individuation, the problem of
opposites, the archetypes, and the self (see, e.g., Charet 1993:
Towards the end of the lecture he admitted to having 'repeatedly observed the telepathic effects of unconscious complexes, and also a number of parapsychic phenomena' (Jung 1920/1948: 318). But on the question of the objective existence of spirits he took a cautious position, in spite of his own experience of three years earlier.
While acknowledging that, from the point
of view of feeling, it might well be legitimate to believe in
spirits, he considered that, from the point of view of thinking,
there are no grounds for holding that they can be known to exist
other than as 'the exteriorized effects of unconscious complexes':
'I see no proof whatever', he remarked, 'of the existence of real
spirits, and until such proof is forthcoming I must regard this
whole territory as an appendix of psychology' (Jung 1920/1948: 318).
In the year following his SPR lecture he was again in England and had some very disturbing experiences while staying over a series of weekends in a house which he learned afterwards was reputed to be haunted: he heard loud thumping and dripping noises, smelled foul odors, and on one occasion saw a figure with part of its face missing lying in the bed beside him - all of which phenomena simply disappeared at the first light of dawn (Jung 1950b: 320--4).
For at least one of these phenomena, the
loud dripping noise, he could find no adequate physical or
psychological explanation (Jung 1950b: 325).
At a séance with Oscar Schlag in 1931 'a sample of ectoplasm was secured', and on another occasion Jung 'embraced Schlag when suddenly Schlag's Jacket dematerialized' (Charet 1993: 283, nn. 230--1).
On the 'question of materialization' Jung wrote in 1945: 'I have seen enough of this phenomenon to convince me entirely of its existence' (Jung 1973: 390). Regarding the objective existence of spirits, he recalled in 1946 his discussions many years earlier with the American psychologist and psychical researcher James Hyslop:
Of Jung's experiences in this period after 1919 one more deserves mention for the significant bearing it had on the development of his concept of the self as the centre of psychic totality (Jung 1963: 188). He relates that after he had worked this concept out in isolation, he experienced a powerful confirmatory coincidence in which a painting he had done, based on a dream, was paralleled by the core idea of a Taoist-alchemical treatise, The Secret of the Golden Flower, sent to him by Richard Wilhelm (Jung 1963: 188--9).
The timely receipt of this treatise was,
he says, 'the first event which broke through my isolation. I became
aware of an affinity; I could establish ties with something and
someone' (Jung 1963: 189).
Thus, Jung's own experiences seemed to occur at critical junctures in his life:
Other sources of insight were Jung's practical engagement with the mantic procedures of astrology and the I Ching, and his cultural researches into alchemy and other esoteric traditions. No less important again was his awareness of recent developments in science, above all in the new discipline of parapsychology and the then radically transformed field of physics.
It is worth looking at each of these
influences in turn, since their contributions to his developing
theory are varied and at times complex.
In his analytic practice, Jung was impressed both by the frequency with which coincidence phenomena occurred and by their meaningfulness to those who experienced them:
For example, a patient, whose problem lay in her excessive and seemingly intractable rationalism, was telling Jung an impressive dream in which she had been given a costly jewel in the form of a scarab beetle. Just at that moment an insect began tapping against the consulting room window. Jung let it in, caught it in his hands, and, realizing it was a form of scarabaeid beetle, presented it to his patient with the words, 'Here is your scarab'.
The irrationality yet obvious
meaningfulness of this paralleling between real life and her dream
was so striking that it broke through the patient's resistances and
enabled her treatment to proceed (Jung 1951b: 525--6; 1952: 438--9).
As Robert Aziz has shown (Aziz 1990: 66--90), implicit in Jung's analysis of this and other cases is his understanding of synchronicity as an expression of the process of individuation furthered through compensation. Thus only after the excessive rationalism of the patient's conscious attitude had been compensated from the unconscious by the powerful irrational event of the synchronicity, could her 'process of transformation [i.e., her individuation] ... at last begin to move' (Jung 1952: 439).
Cases such as this also enabled Jung to
observe that coincidences can be symbolic in their meaning. His
reason for supposing the archetype of rebirth to have been active in
the woman's experience was his knowledge that 'The scarab is a
classic example of a rebirth symbol' (Jung 1952: 439).
on the idea that this game could be viewed as a form of symbolic
ceremonial, Jung associated the game with the sport of
bull-fighting, which in turn he connected with the ancient cult
of Mithras, the bull god (Jung 1928--30: 24--5). This turned out
to be the first coincidence, for it happened that, unknown to Jung,
one of the participants at the seminar had dreamed the night before
that she had been present at a bull-fight in Spain (Jung 1928--30:
Then, at the meeting following this, on 28 November, Jung began by announcing that the discussion of the bull dream and the meaning of the bull-fight had 'brought interesting coincidences to light' (Jung 1928--30: 43).
For he had just received another letter from the woman in Mexico in which she commented on the bull-fight she had been to in terms very similar to those used by Jung when he had initially spoken about the bull-fight symbol. Allowing time for postage, Jung calculated that the letter must have been written 'just about the day when we first spoke of the bull in the seminar' (Jung 1928--30: 44).
Equally strikingly, Jung reported that the person whose dreams were being analyzed in the seminar (a patient not a participant at the seminar) had spent from the 20th to the 24th November 'making a picture which he could not understand' (Jung 1928--30: 43). It was of a bull's head holding the disc of the sun between its horns, as in representations of sacred bull gods.
Thus he drew just what was being discussed by the seminar group and over the very period when they were discussing it.
Coincidences such as these, Jung told
the seminar group, have a sort of 'irrational regularity' (Jung
1928--30: 43), which is why we notice them. 'The East bases much of
its science on this irregularity', he continued, 'and considers
coincidences as the reliable basis of the world rather than
causality. Synchronism is the prejudice of the East; causality is
the modern prejudice of the West' (Jung 1928--30: 44--5; emphasis
Thus, the whole nexus of bull coincidences manifested via four different people:
The last two of these people were not
even present at the seminars, and one of them was many thousands of
miles away in Mexico. Again, of the bull-fight dream Jung remarked
that 'any one of us might have dreamt it' (Jung 1928--30: 36).
This idea also played a central role in
the way Jung generally articulated his understanding of astrology
and the I Ching.
This interest continued to the end of Jung's life. For example, in a letter to B. V. Raman dated 6 September 1947, he reaffirmed the practical importance of astrology for the psychologist:
This practical involvement provided Jung with data which seemed to support the idea of moments of time having particular qualities. Thus, in a letter to B. Baur (29 January 1934), after discussing the precession of the equinoxes, he remarks:
Initially, Jung seems to have hoped that astrology might be able to demonstrate objectively a relationship of synchronicity between temporal determinants and individual character (Jung 1976: 476; Jung 1952: 454--5).
Later, however, his attitude became more complex and ambivalent. This change stemmed partly from his own astrological experiment, which revealed the extent of the astrologer's psychic participation in the handling of astrological material (Jung 1952: 459--84; see also Hyde 1992: 121--39), and partly from recent discoveries concerning the possible influence of planetary positions on solar proton radiation.
Those discoveries suggested that there might be some causal basis for the apparent efficacy of astrology (Jung 1951b: 527--8; Jung 1976: 23--4) - or even that astrology might be partly causal and partly synchronistic (Jung 1976: 177, 421, 428--30).
Finally, for all his early enthusiasm
for the idea of qualitative time, which was articulated even more
fulsomely in relation to the I Ching, Jung did eventually (in
a letter of 1954) express dissatisfaction with this notion,
rejecting it as tautological and, rather than using it as the basis
for an explanation of synchronicity, claiming to have 'replaced it
with the idea of synchronicity' (Jung 1976: 176).
He relates how, one summer, he,
Jung's appreciation of the I Ching deepened considerably a couple of years later when he met and befriended the German Sinologist Richard Wilhelm, who had just produced a new German translation of the book. Jung refers to his friendship with Wilhelm as 'one of the most significant events of my life' (Jung 1930: 53).
He appears to have been particularly impressed by Wilhelm's own mastery of the I Ching:
It was with reference to the I Ching, at a memorial address for Wilhelm in 1930, that Jung made his second recorded use of his new concept:
He referred to 'psychic parallelisms which simply cannot be related to each other causally, but must be connected by another kind of principle altogether' (Jung 1930: 56).
The essence of this other principle he considered to consist 'in the relative simultaneity of the events', for time, as he still understood it,
Referring also to the data and claims of
astrology, he asserted that 'whatever is born or done at this
particular moment of time has the quality of this moment of time',
adding confidently that 'Here we have the basic formula for the use
of the I Ching' (Jung 1930: 56--7).
Here, as late as 1949, Jung was still emphasizing the factor of the quality of moments of time. He writes that 'synchronicity takes the coincidence of events in space and time as meaning something more than mere chance, namely, a peculiar interdependence of objective events among themselves as well as with the subjective (psychic) states of the observer or observers' (Jung 1950a: 592).
The specific style of thinking implied in this is then explicated as follows:
Apart from consolidating his understanding of qualitative time, the I Ching provided Jung with a means of generating experiences of meaningful coincidence with some measure of regularity. At times he practically recommended it to others for such experimental purposes (Jung 1976: 491).
Again, largely because of this amenability to experimental investigation, the system offered a context for looking at some of the dynamics of synchronicity. The I Ching hexagrams, for example, seemed to Jung to be a kind of readable representation of archetypes (Jung 1963: 294; Jung 1976: 584).
This connection between hexagrams and archetypes, combined with the fact that the method of consulting the oracle is essentially based on number, led Jung to speculate on the archetypes of natural numbers and on the possibility of their having a special relationship to synchronicity (Jung 1952: 456--8).
Finally, the simple fact that the I
Ching was such a prominent cultural force throughout Chinese
history encouraged Jung's efforts to present his ideas on
synchronicity by providing him with a major precedent for the
recognition of an acausal principle of connection between events.
At times Jung presents his theory of synchronicity as simply an up-dating of these esoteric views: 'Synchronicity', he writes at the end of his 1951 Eranos lecture, 'is a modern differentiation of the obsolete concept of correspondence, sympathy, and harmony' (Jung 1951b: 531).
At other times he recognizes that his theory differs from these earlier views - for example, in his rejection of the notion of 'magical causality', the view that coincidences and paranormal phenomena, rather than being acausal, are 'somehow due to magical influence' (Jung 1952: 501).
What the early theories suggest to him
instead is that there may be a dimension of meaning that does not
depend on human subjectivity or projection but is 'transcendental'
or 'self-subsistent' - 'a meaning which is a priori in relation to
human consciousness and apparently exists outside man' (Jung 1952:
The reference here is to the coincidence, mapped out in detail in Aion (Jung 1951a),
More importantly the positive results of Rhine's experiments did not diminish if the subjects attempting the ESP or PK tasks were separated from the target objects by even great distances in space or time (Jung 1952: 435). Jung concluded that 'in relation to the psyche space and time are, so to speak, "elastic" and can apparently be reduced almost to vanishing point' (Jung 1952: 435).
Another of the ways in which Jung came to characterize synchronicity was therefore as 'a psychically conditioned relativity of time and space' (Jung 1952: 435). In fact, Jung suggests that spatio-temporal relativity of this kind is the basic condition within the unconscious psyche, as though space and time 'did not exist in themselves but were only "postulated" by the conscious mind' (Jung 1952: 435).
Knowledge of events at a distance or in the future is possible because, within the unconscious psyche, all events co-exist timelessly and spacelessly:
This space-time relativity is different
from the notion of qualitative time. In qualitative time the idea of
a 'moment', and hence of relative simultaneity, is of paramount
importance. In space-time relativity any natural understanding of
'moments', and certainly of simultaneity, becomes irrelevant, as the
experience of foreknowledge clearly indicates.
Though somewhat reluctant, because
fearing incomprehension on the part of the public (Jung 1973: 190),
Jung did comply to a certain extent and in a letter of November 1945
gave in response to a series of direct questions submitted by Rhine
a tentative preliminary formulation of the theory of synchronicity
as he would eventually present it in terms of the psychic
relativization of space and time (Jung 1973: 493--5).
Perhaps an even more significant influence on Jung were certain developments within the other great physics theory that arose in the early part of the twentieth century: quantum mechanics. Jung was impressed by both the principle of complementarity formulated by Niels Bohr and the ability to predict subatomic events only probabilistically. It was to the legitimacy of mere probabilistic prediction that Jung most often appealed in support of his concept of acausality.
With reference to one such subatomic event, radioactive decay, he quotes Sir James Jeans:
The principle of complementarity was utilized by Jung in his presentation of the status of synchronicity. Bohr considered that one of the central paradoxes of quantum physics - the fact that subatomic entities behave in contradictory ways, either as particle or as wave, depending on the method by which they are observed - cannot be resolved by considering one of the forms of manifestation more essential than the other.
Both, in his view, are fundamental: the two forms of manifestation complement each other and together give as complete a picture of the actual subatomic entity as is possible given the intrinsic limitations of human cognition (see, e.g., Honner 1987).
Jung saw causality and acausality as standing in a similar relationship. As the title of his principal essay indicates, synchronicity is for him 'an acausal connecting principle'. As such, it is 'a hypothetical factor equal in rank to causality as a principle of explanation' (Jung 1952: 435).
It is 'equal in rank' precisely in the sense of being complementary to the principle of causality: causality accounts for one kind of connection between events - 'constant connection through effect', as Jung epitomizes it (Jung 1952: 514) - and synchronicity accounts for the complementary kind of connection - 'inconstant connection through contingency, equivalence, or "meaning"' (Jung 1952: 514).
Together, the two principles give, in
Jung's view, a complete account of the kinds of connections that can
exist between events. Jung also draws attention to the
complementarities between consciousness and the unconscious and
between physics and psychology (Jung 1947/1954: 231--2).
One can note in particular that Jung's principal essay on synchronicity was originally published in the same volume as a companion essay by Pauli on 'The Influence of Archetypal Ideas on the Scientific Theories of Kepler' (Jung and Pauli 1955).
In his own essay Jung credits Pauli with having helped him formulate the quaternion diagram in which the complementary relationships between causality and synchronicity and between indestructible energy and the space-time continuum were set out (Jung 1952: 514). Indeed, Pauli himself appears to have been particularly prone to experiencing synchronicities, especially of the psychokinetic variety, and discussed them in detail in his letters to Jung (Hinshaw 1995: 129--30).
Furthermore, in a letter to the
physicist M. Fierz (22 June 1949) Jung actually refers to a
draft of one of his essays on synchronicity as a 'manuscript which
Pauli has prompted me to write' (Jung 1973: 530).
The 1951 essay, contained in the present volume, is probably Jung's clearest piece of writing on this subject, but because of its brevity it inevitably skips over many difficulties and implications. The 1952 essay, by contrast, is replete with so many difficulties and nuances that it ends up seeming rather confused and so risks doing poor justice to the important ideas it contains.
Although this essay is not included in
the present volume, almost all of its central ideas do figure in one
form or another in the ensuing selections. It may therefore be
useful, before addressing the key issues of the theory, to give a
summary of the core argument of this essay.
He then addresses the question of whether acausal events can also be demonstrated at the macrophysical level of everyday experience. The most decisive evidence in support of this possibility he considers to have been provided by Rhine's experiments. These experiments have revealed statistically significant correlations between events in spite of the fact that the possibility of any known kind of energy transmission and hence of causal relationship between the events was completely ruled out.
Jung thereby concludes that under certain psychic conditions time and space can both become relative and can even appear to be transcended altogether. The fact that Rhine's positive results fell off once his subjects began to lose interest suggests to Jung that the necessary psychic condition has to do with affectivity.
Affectivity in turn suggests the presence of an activated archetype, and in fact this archetypal background is especially evident in the kind of spontaneous acausal events Jung encountered in his therapeutic work. In these spontaneous cases, however, a certain amount of symbolic interpretation is often needed in order to detect the operation of the archetype.
Jung is now in a position to define synchronicity, which he does in a variety of ways (see below, subsection on 'Time'). He also suggests a possible psychological dynamic to explain how an activated archetype might result in synchronicities: the presence of the active archetype is accompanied by numinous effects, and this numinosity or affectivity results in a lowering of the mental level, a relaxing of the focus of consciousness.
As the energy of consciousness is lowered, the energy of the unconscious is correspondingly heightened, so that a gradient from the unconscious to the conscious is established and unconscious contents flow into consciousness more readily than usual. Included among these unconscious contents are items of what Jung calls 'absolute knowledge', knowledge that transcends the space-time limitations of consciousness in the manner demonstrated by Rhine's experiments.
If there is then the recognition of a
parallel between any of this 'absolute knowledge' and co-occurring
outer physical events, the result will be the experience of
synchronicity. Finally in this chapter, Jung discusses a number of
mantic procedures and concludes that astrology is the one most
suitable for his purposes, which are to yield measurable results
demonstrating the existence of synchronicity and to provide insight
into the psychic background of synchronicity.
He found that the maximal figure for each of the three batches was one of the traditional aspects for marriage (moon conjunct sun, moon conjunct moon, or moon conjunct ascendant). Although the figures do not exceed the kind of dispersions that might be expected due to chance, Jung considers it psychologically interesting that they appear to confirm astrological expectation; moreover, if the probabilities of the three individual sets of results are combined, the overall result does become statistically significant.
In Jung's view, his results fortuitously
imitate astrological expectation and therefore constitute a
synchronistic phenomenon. The archetypal background to this
synchronicity he finds indicated by the lively interest taken in the
experiment by himself and his co-worker. Rejecting as primitive and
regressive the hypothesis of magical causality, he concludes that if
the connecting principle between astrological expectation and the
results obtained is not causal, it must consist in meaning.
Jung surveys a range of traditional views - Oriental and Western; primitive, classical, medieval and Renaissance - which express the possibility of there being a realm of transcendental, objective, or 'self-subsistent' meaning. In particular, he looks at the notions of Tao, microcosm and macrocosm, sympathy, correspondence, and pre-established harmony.
He also notes that the idea of
self-subsistent meaning is sometimes suggested in dreams.
According to Jung, synchronicity 'makes possible a whole judgment' (Jung 1952: 512) by introducing the 'psychoid factor' (Jung 1952: 513) of meaning into one's description of nature. It thereby also helps bring about a rapprochement between psychology and physics. More specifically, the psychoid factor at the basis of synchronicity is the archetype - a factor which Jung proceeds to characterize.
Archetypes provide the shared meaning by virtue of which two events are considered to be in a relationship of synchronicity. They cannot be determined with precision and are capable of expressing themselves in physical as well as psychic processes. They manifest their meaning through whatever psychic and physical content is available, but might equally well have manifested the same meaning through other content.
They represent psychic probability, making it likely that certain types of events will occur but not enabling one actually to predict the occurrence of any particular event. At this point Jung introduces the broader category of general acausal orderedness, of which meaningful coincidence experiences are considered to be one particular instance.
He states in conclusion that general
acausal orderedness (which includes such phenomena as the
properties of natural numbers and the discontinuities of modern
physics) is a universal factor existing from all eternity, whereas
meaningful coincidences are individual acts of creation in time.
Both, however, are synchronistic phenomena occurring within the
field of the contingent.
Clarification of Jung's thinking on each
of these key topics should make it possible to move through his
various writings on synchronicity much more confidently and
Almost invariably, they highlight the factor of
simultaneity, and yet one important category of events which Jung
wants to call synchronistic - namely, precognitive experiences - by
definition cannot be simultaneous. Jung himself was certainly aware
of this apparent contradiction and made an interesting, if
ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to resolve it.
Here there is indeed simultaneity
between the psychic and physical events (Jung 1951b: 526).
He told his companions at six o'clock in
the evening that the fire had started, then described its course
over the next two hours, exclaiming in relief at eight o'clock that
it had at last been extinguished, just three doors from his own
house. All these details were confirmed when messengers arrived in
Gottenburg from Stockholm over the next few days (Jung 1952: 481,
The friend then had a dream of seeing
various things in a Spanish city: a particular square, a Gothic
Cathedral, and, around a certain corner, a carriage drawn by two
cream-colored horses. Shortly afterwards, having successfully passed
his examinations, he actually visited Spain for the first time and
encountered all the details from his dream in reality (Jung 1951b:
He explains that 'One of them is the normal, probable state (i.e., the one that is causally explicable), and the other, the critical experience, is the one that cannot be causally derived from the first' (Jung 1952: 444--5). If one wonders what has happened here to the physical event, it is understood as the 'objective existence' (Jung 1952: 445) of the 'critical' psychic event.
Jung is now claiming that the synchronicity actually consists of the coincidence not between the critical psychic event and its objective correlate but between the two psychic events:
For instance, in the apparently precognitive experience of Jung's student friend, the 'unexpected content' is the dream of the Spanish city with its square, its cathedral, and its carriage drawn by cream-colored horses, while the 'objective external event' with which the content is 'directly or indirectly connected' is the fact of seeing these things in reality.
The 'ordinary psychic state' - the new
presence in the definition - we must suppose to be the ongoing
state of mind of the student at the time of his dream. It is this
ordinary state which is simultaneous with the unexpected content of
the dream and which Jung, rather surprisingly, says 'coincides' with
With the specific aim of clearing up misunderstandings that had arisen, Jung writes:
This definition is clearly similar to
the three-pronged 1951 definition summarized earlier. Now, however,
instead of the coincidence in the second and third cases being
between a psychic state and an objective external event which has
been 'anticipated in time', it is between one psychic state and
another psychic state (a 'phantasm') which is 'a more or less
faithful reflection' of an objective external event.
Referring to the occurrence of the
unexpected contents which mark the actual synchronicities - of
whatever kind - Jung maintains that 'we are dealing with exactly
the same category of events whether their objectivity appears
separated from my consciousness in space or in time' (Jung 1952:
Though Jung says of the two critical
events - the second psychic event and the physical event - that
'The one is as puzzling as the other' (Jung 1952: 447), he nowhere
shows explicit awareness of the fact that he is claiming they are
both, in different respects, acausal.
At any rate, it is not acausality of
this kind, but of the kind between a psychic and a physical event,
that Jung considered to have been so impressively demonstrated by
The unexpected content which arises simultaneously with this conscious orientation would, according to Aziz, be an unconscious compensation serving the purposes of individuation (Aziz 1990: 66--7); the student's dream, for example, might have compensated his anxiety by impressing on him that he would indeed earn the trip to Spain by passing his examinations.
This compensatory relationship between the two psychic events is indeed acausal in that the conscious orientation does not cause the compensation but only provides the conditions in which it might occur. Again, inasmuch as the compensatory relationship is involved ultimately in the furthering of individuation, it is also meaningful.
However, even if this understanding
proves workable up to a point, it also involves at least one notable
discrepancy from Jung's explicit statements elsewhere: two psychic
states in a compensatory relationship may be meaningfully related in
terms of individuation, but they do not in any obvious sense have,
as Jung specifies, 'the same or a similar meaning' (Jung 1952: 441).
If they did, the one would hardly be compensated by the other.
Later, Jung came to question the notion
of qualitative time (Jung 1976: 176) and, under the influence of
parapsychology and physics, began to emphasize instead the idea of
the psychic relativization of space and time. That he nonetheless
went to such lengths to uphold the component of simultaneity in the
concept of synchronicity may have been because he wished to preserve
enough of the original meaning of the concept to justify its
He could in fact have done this and
still highlighted the defining factor of time by giving more
prominence to his characterization of synchronicities as 'acts of
creation in time' (Jung 1952: 517), emphasizing their nature as
spontaneous momentary states in contrast to constant or reproducible
ones (see below on 'general acausal orderedness').
The impression Jung gained from events such as these, that normal causality was insufficient as a comprehensive principle of explanation, was later reinforced by the results of Rhine's experiments:
Supporting these conclusions from
another angle was Jung's cultural research into such pre-modern
concepts as the 'sympathy of all things' and 'correspondences', and
especially into the workings of the I Ching. This research
made him aware of the fact that other kinds of connection than
causality not only exist but have in fact received wide traditional
recognition and been put to orderly cultural use.
Since 'very small quantities [i.e., subatomic particles] no longer behave in accordance with natural laws', it follows that 'natural laws are statistical truths' (Jung 1952: 421).
This 'other factor' is Jung's 'acausal connecting principle'. He believes the above argument to have proved the existence of the principle in 'the realm of very small quantities' (Jung 1952: 421).
Regarding its existence in the realm normal sensory experience, he says:
Presumably Jung emphasized this argument from physics because it promised to give his concept of acausality the greatest degree of scientific respectability and the most fundamental level of epistemological grounding. However, it brings with it several problems of its own. For instance, the fact that Jung's understanding of causality and acausality is so closely tied to physics threatens to make it too restrictive.
He himself clearly intended the notion of acausality to apply to psychological as well as to physical causes: synchronistic events are not caused by psychological states. Yet it is at least questionable whether physical terms alone are adequate to account for the dynamics of psychological causes. As John Beloff points out,
In response to Jung's claim that Rhine's parapsychological data have furnished 'decisive evidence for the existence of acausal combinations of events' (Jung 1952: 432), Beloff writes that it is,
If Rhine's experiments are indeed
statistically significant and there is no way to account for them in
normal causal terms, what they demonstrate, according to Beloff, is
the existence not of absolute acausality but of some form of
Whether one evaluates Jung's concept of
acausality favorably or critically, it is important to bear in mind
the restricted understanding of causality on which it is based.
It is certainly the case that, in Jung's day and still at present, the behavior of individual subatomic particles cannot be predicted other than probabilistically. But from this fact it does not necessarily follow that such behavior involves an element of irreducible acausality. It is true that subatomic randomness may stem from acausality, but then again it may not. And even if it does, this is not because such randomness itself implies acausality.
The acausal cannot simply be inferred
from the merely probabilistic: if event A is followed by event B
only seventy-five per cent of the time, this does not entail that B
is not caused by A. In fact, since B, when it does occur, would not
have done so but for A, it is reasonable to think that it has been
caused by A.
As the mathematician Ian Stewart has remarked, some scientists now appreciate,
These considerations alone should make
one wary of automatically discounting the operation of causality no
matter how random and unpredictable certain behavior appears.
More recently this approach was also pursued by David Bohm who stressed that his was a 'causal interpretation' of quantum phenomena (Bohm 1990: 276--81).
Even a contemporary physicist who personally considers that there are indeed quantum phenomena for which,
Let us suppose, however, that certain events at the subatomic level are genuinely acausal. Even so, the next stage of Jung's argument - that there must also be acausal events in the macrophysical world - does not follow, as he puts it, 'logically from the premise of statistical truth' (Jung 1952: 422). There is no reason to expect that a property existing on the subatomic level will also exist in the realm of normal sensory experience.
Perhaps what Jung had in mind was that the subatomic indeterminacy which he thought implied acausality could in some way be expected to be scaled up to the level of normal experience. If so, the very way in which probability operates in fact suggests the contrary: the indeterminacy attaching to an individual event on one scale will progressively diminish as one views ever larger aggregates of such events on a higher scale. Acausality on the subatomic level cannot prove or even make probable its existence on other levels.
What it can do, however, is to make
its possible existence on those higher levels less intellectually
outrageous (cf. Mansfield 1995: 50).
Granted this limitation, a case remains for speaking of acausality in a relative and provisional sense, as applying to the relationship between events within a certain domain of consideration or level of current understanding (see Main 1996: 40--3, 154--5). As the paranormal events experienced and observed by Jung indicate, acausality appears to be an accurate enough term phenomenologically.
As his definitions of synchronicity also
emphasize, it is an extremely useful concept psychologically
inasmuch as it shifts attention away from the causes of events and
onto their possible meaning.
Though he appears to recognize not one but several kinds of meaning that can adhere to synchronicities, all of these can ultimately be related back to the single factor of the archetype. Aziz, for example, has identified four levels of meaning referred to by Jung at different times.
Aziz calls this fourth level of meaning the 'archetypal level' (Aziz 1990: 66). It is based on the fact that the archetype represents in itself a form of meaning which is 'a priori in relation to human consciousness and apparently exists outside man' (Jung 1952: 501--2).
Thus in synchronicities 'one and the same (transcendental) meaning might manifest itself simultaneously in the human psyche and in the arrangement of an external and independent event' (Jung 1952: 482).
In fact, each of the other three levels of meaning also depends on the presence of the archetype. The shared meaning by virtue of which two or more events are taken to be in a synchronistic relationship derives from an archetype (e.g., underlying the scarab symbol in both its psychic and its physical appearances is the archetype of rebirth).
Again, the numinous charge of
synchronicities derives from the presence of an activated archetype
- the association with such numinosity being precisely one of the
characteristics of archetypes as presented by Jung (Jung 1952: 436).
Third, the subjective level of meaning, insofar as this is evaluated
with reference to the process of individuation, will also be based
on archetypes, since it is the archetypes - shadow, animus/anima,
self, etc. - which essentially govern individuation for Jung.
On the other hand, Jung also often uses the word 'meaning' to refer to the content that the coinciding events have in common: they have 'the same or similar meaning' or 'appear as meaningful parallels' (Jung 1952: 441).
Here what the coincidence might signify for an experiencer is not germane; one can, in fact, replace 'meaning' with 'content'. It is true that the two senses of 'meaning' do not exclude each other - the meaning/content can be meaningful/significant to an experiencer or observer - but it is equally true that they do not entail each other.
That Jung nonetheless moves ambiguously
between the two different senses probably stems from the fact that
for him the content of synchronicities is generally understood to be
archetypal and therefore is bound also to be meaningful in the sense
It is this paralleling of content which leads Jung to assert that,
Whether the coincidence represented by the improbable number of successful guesses is also meaningful in the sense of being significant for the individuation or other personal needs or goals of the experimental subject is a question about which Jung appears to have remained uncertain. On the one hand, he acknowledges that Rhine's experiments 'contain no direct evidence of any constellation of the archetype' (Jung 1952: 440; see also Jung 1976: 399).
On the other hand, he suggests that such a constellation may nonetheless be present inasmuch as 'the experimental set-up is influenced by the expectation of a miracle' and 'A miracle is an archetypal situation' (Jung 1976: 537; see also Progoff 1987: 105--6).
Furthermore, the important emotional
factor in the experiments, indicated by the decline effect, may also
suggest the presence of an archetypal situation inasmuch as
archetypal situations are typically 'accompanied by a corresponding
emotion' (Jung 1976: 537).
Others, however, have found Jung's
experiment to constitute one of the most interesting and original
features of his work and to have suggestive implications for the
understanding both of statistics (Fordham 1957) and of astrology
Later, however, Jung was adamant that his experiment, as carried out, was never intended to prove anything about astrology or, through astrology, about synchronicity (Jung 1958a: 494, 497, 498). He had come to appreciate, Fordham suggests, that if the astrological material did prove statistically significant, 'it would make a cause for the data more likely' (Fordham 1993: 105), thereby undermining the synchronicity thesis.
Rather, what Jung hoped was that his experiment would 'on the one hand demonstrate the existence of synchronicity [i.e., allow for its occurrence and make it visible in the form of measurable results] and, on the other hand, disclose psychic contents which would at least give us a clue to the nature of the psychic factor involved' (Jung 1952: 450).
Arguably, he succeeded in both aims.
As they are usually employed, Fordham explains,
With synchronicities, however, Jung introduces a third set of phenomena, since,
Statistically, events are considered to be 'significant' (i.e., not chance) if their improbability rises above a certain level (technically, the 'Null hypothesis').
When they rise above this level of
improbability, events are usually expected and found to have a
cause. Since none of Jung's astrological results rose to such a
level, they were unlikely to have been caused but were indeed chance
happenings - which is what, as acausal events, he needed them to
be. Thus, Jung's use of statistics 'had an aim exactly the reverse
to the usual one. He used them to define the region in which
synchronistic phenomena are most likely' (Fordham 1957: 37).
As he remarks:
Thus analysis of the three batches of 180, 220, and 83 pairs of marriage horoscopes showed the maximum frequencies to fall on the aspects respectively of moon conjunct sun, moon conjunct moon, and moon conjunct Ascendant. These are precisely the three aspects that astrological tradition would expect to turn up most frequently in marriage horoscopes, as Jung and his co-worker well knew (Jung 1952: 454--5).
Here, however, they have turned up in a way which is entirely random.
The horoscopes 'were piled up in chronological order just as the post brought them in' (Jung 1952: 459), and Jung decided when to begin analyzing the first batch for no better reason than that he was unable to restrain his curiosity any longer (Jung 1958a: 495).
As his subsequent analyses demonstrated, if the horoscopes had arrived in a different order or if he had waited until they had all come in and had analyzed them together, the three traditional marriage aspects would not have shown up with the same remarkable salience (Jung 1952: 479--80, 471--2).
He concludes that, since the resulting figures,
The fact that the result corresponded to the expectations of his co-worker and himself suggested to Jung that their psychic state might in some way have been involved in 'arranging' it, that there may have existed, in their case as with practitioners in the past, 'a secret, mutual connivance ... between the material and the psychic state of the astrologer' (Jung 1952: 478).
This conclusion was further suggested by his realization that in working on the statistics 'use had been made of unconscious deception', that he had been 'put off the trail by a number of errors' (Jung 1952: 478).
The curious thing about these errors was that they,
Fortunately, the errors in the astrological experiment were discovered in time and corrected (Jung 1952: 478). However, in the light both of these errors and of the remarkable correspondence between his expectation and the results he obtained, Jung conducted a further experiment to test for indications of possible psychic participation.
He got three people 'whose psychological status was accurately known' (Jung 1952: 473) to draw by lot twenty pairs of marriage horoscopes from a random assortment of 200. In each case, he found that the person's random selection of twenty horoscopes produced maximal figures which, while not statistically significant, corresponded surprisingly well with the known psychic state of the subject (Jung 1952: 473--5).
For example, one woman 'who, at the time of the experiment, found herself in a state of intense emotional excitement' drew horoscopes in which there was 'a predominance of the Mars aspects' (Jung 1952: 474). Inasmuch as 'The classical significance of Mars lies in his emotionality', this result 'fully agrees with the psychic state of the subject' (Jung 1952: 474).
This informal experiment appeared to confirm what had happened under more rigorously controlled circumstances in the main experiment. Without exceeding the levels of dispersion that would be expected due to chance, the data nonetheless patterned themselves in ways which corresponded to a known psychic disposition. If, however, the astrologer's psychic condition can indeed participate in the arrangement of the material being considered, this means that astrology may be more a form of divination and less a form of science than many of its practitioners would like to believe.
This conclusion has in fact been drawn
by some astrologers and has led to a serious reassessment of their
practice (see Hyde 1992).
He then suggests, ambitiously, that,
The properties in question are the fact
that the psyche can be meaningfully correlated with physical
processes without any causal interaction - suggesting that the
psyche may not need to be connected with the brain (Jung 1952: 505);
and the hypothesis of 'absolute knowledge ... a knowledge not
mediated by the sense organs' which provides the means by which this
acausal co-ordination of mental and bodily processes can be possible
(Jung 1952: 506).
He considers this to 'indicate a shift in the localization of consciousness, a sort of separation from the body, or from the cerebral cortex or cerebrum which is conjectured to be the seat of conscious phenomena' (Jung 1952: 509).
There now seem to be two possibilities: either 'there is some other nervous substrate in us, apart from the cerebrum, that can think and perceive' or else 'the psychic processes that go on in us during loss of consciousness are synchronistic phenomena, i.e., events which have no causal connection with organic processes' (Jung 1952: 509).
Since there is evidence to support both
possibilities (Jung 1952: 510--11), Jung remains uncommitted,
concluding that 'psychophysical parallelism', by which he here seems
to mean the mind-body relationship, is something 'which we cannot at
present pretend to understand' (Jung 1952: 511; cf. Jung 1973:
Quite what the implications of this are for the theory of synchronicity is unclear. Jung's colleague C. A. Meier, for instance, considered psychosomatic phenomena to be synchronistic and as such actually to presuppose the existence of the subtle body (Meier 1963: 116).
Another colleague, however, Marie-Louise von Franz, argued that psychosomatic phenomena and other suggestions of the existence of a subtle body indicate rather a causal relationship between mind and body (Franz 1992: 249--51).
In support of her view she refers to
Jung's intriguing suggestion - which he admitted was 'highly
speculative, in fact unwarrantably adventurous' (Jung 1976: 45) - that the psyche and the body should be viewed as different
manifestations of a single energy and their relationship be
understood in terms of the transformation of this energy into
greater or lesser states of 'intensification' (Jung 1976: 45).
Also, with mantic methods such as astrology and the I Ching Jung writes that 'Synchronistic phenomena are found to occur - experimentally - with some degree of regularity and frequency' (Jung 1952: 511). Again, if the mind-body relationship were found to be synchronistic - and Jung is at least open to this possibility - then this too would imply that acausality is not just 'a relatively rare phenomenon' (Jung 1952: 500, n. 70).
Above all, however, the conception of synchronicity as having to do solely with irregular one-off events was called into question for Jung by such factors as the properties of natural numbers and certain quantum phenomena such as 'the orderedness of energy quanta, of radium decay, etc.' (Jung 1952: 517). These are properties of the world which appear to have no deeper cause but are 'Just-So', i.e., acausal (Jung 1952: 516).
In the light especially of this last factor, Jung was forced to consider 'whether our definition of synchronicity with reference to the equivalence of psychic and physical processes is capable of expansion, or rather, requires expansion' (Jung 1952: 516).
He concluded that the definition was indeed too narrow and needed to be supplemented with the broader category of 'general acausal orderedness':
More specifically, synchronicity in the narrow sense is distinguished from general acausal orderedness in that phenomena belonging to the latter category 'have existed from eternity and occur regularly, whereas the forms of psychic orderedness [i.e., synchronicities] are acts of creation in time' (Jung 1952: 517).
He then adds:
This represents a significant shift of
emphasis - if not a different view altogether, and possibly a more
coherent view - from his earlier explanation in terms of
simultaneity (Jung 1952: 441).
This hint has been taken up by von
Franz in a number of publications (Franz 1974, 1980, 1992).
Other writers, however, have found aspects of the theory of synchronicity to be less free from metaphysical presupposition than these statements imply. Explicitly or implicitly, Jung's claims to an empirical status for his work are invariably based on an appeal to Kant's epistemological distinction between phenomena (things as they appear to human consciousness) and noumena (things as they are in themselves) - Jung's professed concern being solely with phenomena (see, e.g., Voogd 1984).
However, Wolfgang Giegerich has argued that many of the core concepts of Jung's psychology, including the concept of synchronicity, overstep the limits prescribed by Kantian epistemology:
This issue, as Giegerich implies, goes to the heart of Jung's psychology as a whole. Jung himself does appear to have been aware that his thinking on at least synchronicity sometimes shifts into metaphysics.
In a letter to Fordham (3 January 1957) he congratulates Fordham on his essay 'Reflections on the Archetypes and Synchronicity' (Fordham 1957) and remarks:
Again, in a letter to K. Schmid (11 June 1958) Jung first asserts his empiricist position by stating that synchronicity 'is not a name that characterizes an "organizing principle"' but 'characterizes a modality' and therefore 'is not meant as anything substantive' (Jung 1976: 448).
However, he then admits that it can sometimes be legitimate to conceptualize beyond the bounds of what is empirically knowable so long as this conceptualization does not come,
Thus, he is able to excuse some of his own more incautious statements regarding synchronicity: 'if', he concedes, 'I occasionally speak of an "organizer," this is sheer mythology since at present I have no means of going beyond the bare fact that synchronistic phenomena are "just so"' (Jung 1976: 449).
Again, after quoting a paragraph from
his 1952 essay affirming the transcendental nature of the '"absolute
knowledge" which is characteristic of synchronistic phenomena' (Jung
1952: 506), he admits that 'This statement, too, is mythology, like
all transcendental postulates' (Jung 1976: 449).
The synchronistic principle 'suggests that there is an inter-connection or unity of causally unrelated events, and thus postulates a unitary aspect of being which can very well be described as the unus mundus' (Jung 1954--55: 464--5).
This postulated unitary background to
existence, in which the concepts of psyche and matter and space and
time merge into a psychophysical space-time continuum, was where
Jung considered the archetypes themselves, as opposed to their
phenomenal manifestations, ultimately to be located. To express this
ambivalent nature - at once psychic and physical yet neither
because beyond both - he was led to coin the term 'psychoid'. The
ability of the archetype to manifest synchronistically in
independent psychic and physical contexts is itself an indicator of
its fundamentally psychoid nature.
This implies a shift of emphasis away
from seeking to discover some mechanism or means of transmission at
work in the events and towards a potentially more illuminating
exploration of their psychological background and meaning.
In this light, it is not surprising that the occurrence of synchronicities can play various kinds of role in the transference/counter-transference relationship - sometimes providing crucial insight to either the analyst or the patient (Gordon 1983: 138--44), at other times marking a critical or even fatal moment within the relationship (Jung 1963: 136--7).
Again, Jung points out the possibility, on the part of certain patients, of interpreting genuine synchronistic events as delusions (i.e., the delusion of believing that quite ordinary events have special reference to them).
Therapists capable of understanding synchronicity,
Spiritual experience is another area to which Jung's theory of synchronicity has been applied, both by himself directly and by others elaborating on implications of the theory. Thus, the crucial role of synchronicity within Jung's overall psychology of religion has been clearly demonstrated by Aziz (1990).
In particular, Aziz argues that
synchronistic experiences enable one to view Jung's core religious
process - individuation - not just intrapsychically but as
involving the world beyond the psyche. Synchronicity therefore
provides the key to freeing Jung from the criticism of psychological
reductionism often leveled at him by theologians (Aziz 1990:
In fact, his sense of his visions as
representing a kind of mystic marriage between self and world (the
hierosgamos or mysterium coniunctionis: Jung 1963:
274--5) suggests that they may actually constitute an experiential
realization of the unitary dimension of existence (the unus
mundus) towards which he considered the more familiar forms of
synchronicity to be pointing.
The hint provided by this is supported by two different aspects of synchronicity. On a general level, he argues that the space-time relativization involved in synchronicity implies that the psyche 'exists in a continuum outside time and space' (Jung 1976: 561; see also Jung 1934: 412--15; Jung 1963: 282--3).
Although we do not know in detail what
'existence outside time' is like, we can at least infer that it is
'outside change' and 'possesses relative eternity' (Jung 1976: 561)
- grounds for supposing that it may not end with the death of the
body. More concretely, he considers that certain synchronistic
phenomena that occur in relation to death - veridical dreams and
apparitions, for instance - can express the idea of survival also
in terms of their content (Jung 1963: 289--92).
Occasionally, however, he does address the issue of traditionally designated religious miracles and on these occasions sometimes refers to synchronicity. Thus, speaking of the identity of Christ the 'empirical man' with 'the traditional Son of Man type', he says:
At other times he suggests that
explanations for apparent miracles, such as the case of Brother
Klaus living twenty years without material sustenance, should be
sought more specifically in the realm of parapsychology and
mediumistic phenomena (Jung 1950/1951: 660). Even here, however, the
implication is that the sustained paranormal phenomena constituting
the miracle are synchronistic archetypal 'effects' rendered possible
by the maintaining of a numinous religious attitude (cf. Jung 1976:
He was unable to decide, however, which was primary - whether there were indeed physical events followed by the fantasies, or whether the fantasies and visions were arising independently from an activated archetype (Jung 1958b: 313).
In this perplexity he invokes
synchronicity as a third possibility, suggesting that there may
indeed be an anomalous physical phenomenon involved but that this
meaningfully coincides with, rather than causes, the accompanying
fantasizing or myth-making, which does indeed have its own
independent reasons for surfacing at this time (Jung 1958b: 313,
The theory of synchronicity brings more fully into awareness the experiential reality, the complexity, and above all the potential meaningfulness of paranormal events.
In doing so, it perhaps furthers what Jung once described as the 'uncomprehended purpose' of 'any nocturnal, numinous experience':