Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events which occur in
a meaningful manner, but which are causally unrelated. In order to
be synchronous, the events must be related to one another
conceptually, and the chance that they would occur together by
random chance must be very small.
The concept of
The idea of synchronicity is that the conceptual relationship of
minds, defined by the relationship between ideas, is intricately
structured in its own logical way and gives rise to relationships
which have nothing to do with causal relationships in which a cause
precedes an effect. Instead, causal relationships are understood as
simultaneous — that is, the cause and effect occur at the same time.
Synchronous events reveal an underlying pattern, a conceptual
framework which encompasses, but is larger than, any of the systems
which display the synchronicity. The suggestion of a larger
framework is essential in order to satisfy the definition of
synchronicity as originally developed by Swiss psychologist Carl
Carl Gustav Jung coined the word to describe what he called
"temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events."
variously described synchronicity as an "'acausal connecting
principle'" (i.e., a pattern of connection that cannot be explained
by conventional, efficient causality), "meaningful coincidence" and
"acausal parallelism". Jung introduced the concept in his 1952 paper
"Synchronicity — An Acausal Connecting Principle", though he had
been considering the concept for almost thirty years.
It was a principle that Jung felt gave conclusive evidence for his
concepts of archetypes and the collective unconscious , in that
it was descriptive of a governing dynamic that underlay the whole of
human experience and history — social, emotional, psychological, and
Jung believed that many experiences perceived as coincidence were
not merely due to chance but, instead, suggested the manifestation
of parallel events or circumstances reflecting this governing
One of Jung's favorite quotes on synchronicity was from Through the
Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, in which the White Queen says to
"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards". 
Events that happen which appear at first to be coincidence but are
later found to be causally related are termed Incoincident.
A well-known example of synchronicity is the true story of the
French writer Émile Deschamps who in 1805 was treated to some plum
pudding by the stranger Monsieur de Fortgibu. Ten years later, he
encountered plum pudding on the menu of a Paris restaurant, and
wanted to order some, but the waiter told him the last dish had
already been served to another customer, who turned out to be de
Many years later, in 1832, Émile
Deschamps was at a diner, and was once again offered plum pudding.
He recalled the earlier incident and told his friends that only de
Fortgibu was missing to make the setting complete — and in the same
instant the now senile de Fortgibu entered the room.
A mother is working at preparing her dinner, and thinks "It would be
nice to have some flowers here today," while her son is in the
garden picking flowers for her dinner. The mother has never had
flowers on the dinner table before, and the son has never brought
flowers, but their close relationship leads them to both originally
create the same idea at the same time.
Simultaneous discovery, the creation of the same new idea at
causally disconnected places by two persons at approximately the
same time. It is very difficult to account for simultaneous
discovery by random chance. If for example an American and a British
musician, having never had anything to do with one another, arrived
at the same musical concept, chord sequence, feel or lyrics at the
same time in different places, this is an example of synchronicity.
This is explained by reasons such as global culture, which is the
larger framework required to fit the definition of synchronicity.
During production of The Wizard of Oz, a coat bought from a
second-hand store for the costume of Professor Marvel was later
found to have belonged to L. Frank Baum, author of the children's
book upon which the film is based. 
The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd are part of the alleged
Dark Side of
the Rainbow synchronicity.
A recent study within the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research
Lab (the PEAR lab), suggested that there is a small, though
statistically measurable, link between human thought and patterns
that occur in random data sets.
There is no evidence as to whether this
is caused by individuals unintentionally recognizing complex
patterns and then molding their thoughts towards an unconsciously
known result or the thoughts of the individual are themselves
affecting the random patterns in a manner of individuation. This
study's results have not been replicated, and its methodologies are
The PEAR lab closed at the end of
February, 2007, after conducting 28 years of research on the
relationships and interactions between Mind and Matter.
Occam's razor, positing an underlying mechanism for
meaningfully interpreted correlations is an unsupported explanation
for a "meaningful coincidence" which may be explained by simple
Jung and followers believe that
Synchronous events such
as simultaneous discovery happen far more often than random chance
would allow, even after accounting for the sampling bias inherent in
the fact that meaningful coincidences are noticeable while
meaningless coincidences are not.
References in popular
John Constantine, the main character
in the Vertigo Comics series Hellblazer, is sometimes seen
"riding the synchronicity highway," to meet certain goals or
even just to one up those around him. This has the same effect
as that described in this article, and it is one of John
Constantine's more unusual tricks, and part of what makes him so
dangerous. He is also seen doing this in Books of Magic, the
graphic novel by Neil Gaiman.
The phenomenon is also explored,
though not named, in "The Red Notebook" by Paul Auster, and is
considered a major theme of his entire bibliography, appearing
in some form in almost every work.
In the 1983 release Synchronicity by
The Police (A&M Records), bassist Sting is reading a copy of
Jung's Synchronicity on the front cover along with a
negative/superimposed image of the actual text of the
synchronicity hypothesis. A photo on the back cover also shows a
close-up but mirrored and upside-down image of the book. There
are two songs titled "Synchronicity I" and "Synchronicity II"
included in the album. The latter song contrasts the dangerous
breakdown of a desperate family man with the simultaneous
emergence of a menacing something from the bottom of a dark
Scottish loch. See The Police, Robert Aziz and marketing the A&M
In the 1976 film The Eagle Has
Landed, the character Max Radl (Robert Duvall) asks a
subordinate if he is familiar with the works of Jung, and then
explains the theory of Synchronicity.
The Dirk Gently series of books by
Douglas Adams often plays on the synchronicity concept. The main
character carries a "pocket I Ching" that also functions as a
calculator, up to a point (see A suffusion of yellow).
The concept of ta'veren in Robert
Jordan's The Wheel of Time series functions similarly to
In the film Repo Man Miller's famous
Plate 'o' Shrimp theory is an exact representation of
In a 2002 album Tenth Dimensions by
metal artist Blaze, a lot of the songs refer to synchronicity,
with some songs like "Stealing Time" directly using the word.
In the film I ♥ Huckabees, a
character hires existential detectives to solve his coincidence.
They caution him: "Not all coincidences are meaningful!"
In Philip K Dick's The Game Players
of Titan, several characters possessing pre-cognitive abilities
cite the acausal principle of synchronicity as an element which
hampers their ability to accurately predict certain possible
In the D20 Modern roleplaying game
Urban Arcana, Synchronicity is a magic spell that subtly
rearranges reality, allowing the subject to avoid the minor
inconveniences and hassles of everyday life. While the spell is
in effect, buses and trains run on time, stoplights and
crosswalk signals change in your favor just as you approach an
intersection, and the flow of street traffic and pedestrians
will allow you to proceed unimpeded, without hurry or delay.
Waiters and clerks will approach as soon as they are wanted, and
depart when you desire privacy. Taxi cabs, elevators, vacant
parking spaces, and so forth will similarly be available
wherever and whenever needed. This spell is particularly helpful
when the subject is chasing someone or is trying to escape
In the television series Strange
Luck, the main character Chance Harper spends his entire life
experiencing unplanned synchronicity, which he takes advantage
of by becoming a freelance photographer.
The Dalai Lama quoted: "I am open to
the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations
hinder my path."
Terence McKenna used the term
'Cosmic giggle' to mean "a randomly roving zone of synchronicity
and statistical anomaly. Should you be caught up in it, it will
turn reality on its head. It is objective and subjective,
simultaneously 'really there' and yet somehow is sustained by
imagination and expectation...." 
Roderick Main (2000).
Religion, Science, and Synchronicity.
Harvest: Journal for Jungian Studies.
Jung defined the collective
unconscious as akin to instincts in Archetypes and the
In Synchronicity in the final two
pages of the Conclusion, Jung stated that not all coincidences
are meaningful and further explained the creative causes of this
Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis
Carroll, Ch. 5, Wool and Water.
'It's very good jam,' said the
'Well, I don't want any TO-DAY, at any rate.'
'You couldn't have it if you DID want it,' the Queen said.
'The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday--but never jam
'It MUST come sometimes to "jam to-day,"' Alice objected.
'No, it can't,' said the Queen. 'It's jam every OTHER day:
to-day isn't any OTHER day, you know.'
'I don't understand you,' said Alice. 'It's dreadfully
'That's the effect of living backwards,' the Queen said
kindly: 'it always makes one a little giddy at first--'
'Living backwards!' Alice repeated in great astonishment. 'I
never heard of such a thing!'
'--but there's one great advantage in it, that one's memory
works both ways.'
'I'm sure MINE only works one way,' Alice remarked. 'I can't
remember things before they happen.'
'It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' the
Jung, C. G., Synchronicity: An
Acausal Connecting Principle, from The Collected Works of C. G.
Jung, vol. 8, page 15, Princeton/Bollingen, 1973
Article on Wired.com
wikiquote page on Repo Man:
A lot o' people don't realize
what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o'
unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that
there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top
o' everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean:
suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly
someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp
out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for
one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness.
McKenna quoted by Alex Burns
Carl Jung (1972). Synchronicity — An
Acausal Connecting Principle. Routledge and Kegan Paul. ISBN
Carl Jung (1977). Jung on
Synchronicity and the Paranormal: Key Readings. Routledge. ISBN
Carl Jung (1981). The Archetypes and
the Collective Unconscious. Princeton University Press. ISBN
Robert Aziz, C.G. Jung’s Psychology
of Religion and Synchronicity (1990), currently in its 10th
printing, is a refereed publication of The State University of
New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-0166-9.
Robert Aziz, Synchronicity and the
Transformation of the Ethical in Jungian Psychology in Carl B.
Becker, ed. Asian and Jungian Views of Ethics. Westport, CT:
Greenwood, 1999. ISBN 0-313-30452-1.
Robert Aziz, The Syndetic Paradigm:
The Untrodden Path Beyond Freud and Jung (2007), a refereed
publication of The State University of New York Press ISBN
Marie-Louise von Franz (1980). On
Divination and Synchronicity: The Psychology of Meaningful
Chance. Inner City Books. ISBN 0-919123-02-3.
Joseph Jaworski (1996).
Synchronicity: the inner path of leadership. Berrett-Koehler
Publishers Inc.. ISBN 1-881052-94-X.
Arthur Koestler (1973). The Roots of
Coincidence. Vintage. ISBN 0-394-71934-4.
Victor Mansfield, (Physicist)
(1995). Science, Synchronicity and Soul-Making. Open Court
Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8126-9304-3.
Elisabeth Mardorf, Das kann doch
kein Zufall sein 
F. David Peat (1987). Synchronicity,
The Bridge Between Matter and Mind. Bantam. ISBN 0-553-34676-8.
Richard Wilhelm (1986). Lectures on
the I Ching: Constancy and Change Bollingen edition. Princeton
University Press; Reprint. ISBN 0-691-01872-3. Note especially
the foreword by Carl Jung. (The I Ching is a type of oracle, or
'synchronicity computer', used for divination.)