Do we read the signs, or make them up?
Posted March 10, 2015
“There’s no such thing as coincidence,” the midwife asserted with a knowing smile.
Do you agree? Many folks do.
Carl Jung would have agreed with her. He collected reports of coincidences, and thought they were not random; to Jung they were the outcroppings of a hidden, universal consciousness. He noted: “We often dream about people from whom we receive a letter by the next post. I have ascertained on several occasions that at the moment when the dream occurred the letter was already lying in the post-office of the addressee.”
― C.G. Jung, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle
There are those who understand co-incidence to be a means by which a Higher Power lets human destiny unfold. Albert Schweitzer put it charmingly, “Coincidence is the pseudonym dear God chooses when he wants to remain incognito.”
Did you miss your train and then meet your new boyfriend on the next one? According to this outlook, that could be a sign that the two of you were “meant to be.”
But not everyone is so sure about signs and synchronicity. Skeptics and statisticians disagree with the notion. They argue that humans are pattern-finding creatures, and happily so. Finding patterns is a way we learn. Pattern recognition helps us survive and prepare for the future, so we are hard-wired to seek meaningful patterns in events that surround us.
Unfortunately, the ability to discern patterns isn’t always to our benefit; we tend to see whatever we are looking for, and find confirmation for our beliefs, hopes or fears. No less astute an observer of life than William Shakespeare noted the human propensity for finding evidence that support their suspicions. In Othello he wrote, “Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ.”
The contemporary writer, Squire Rushnell, is no Shakespeare, but he is a good storyteller, nevertheless. He believes that co-incidences and other signs of synchronicity are “Godwinks”, i.e., God’s way of letting you know you’re on the right path. Rushnell is a former ABC Network Vice-President of Children’s and Family Programs. You may remember him from the Schoolhouse Rock series and the ABC Afterschool Specials. Like Jung, Rushnell gathers stories of significant Godwinks from celebrities and ordinary people all around the world. Folks from every walk of life tell him about co-incidences that meant the most in their lives…and Squire has just written the 7th book in the Godwinks series.
This evening, you can tell your own story to Squire. You can tell him what you think about the idea of synchronicity, too.
Squire Rushnell will be my guest tonight at 7 PM EST on SiriusXM Channel 126, at Renee On Tuesday (The Armstrong Williams Show). Give us a call at 1-866-801-8255- We’re live tonight.