The Concept of Synchronicity

by Les Hewitt
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We’ve all done it. Think of a song or album track from a particular artist or group and then have it playing on the radio or TV when its turned on; the phone rings and instinct reveals who is calling without the need for caller ID; or an old school friend, not heard from since school, is brought back into memory just hours before bumping into them.

synchronicity

Meaningful coincidence, or synchronicity, was a concept first coined by Carl Jung almost a century ago. What exactly is it though? There are those who insist that its simply the law of averages at work. Others believe that its a basic form of clairvoyance that acts much like a virus, lasting just a few seconds or so. More exotic explanations include someone, or something, providing an external stimulus in order to shape events to a predicted outcome or conclusion.

Movie poster of The Girl from Petrovka

Movie poster of The Girl from Petrovka

Whatever the cause behind these events, there are some that make headlines. Probably the most famous example surrounded the D-Day plans at the end of the Second World War, in which code words relating the operation appeared in a newspaper crossword in the build up to the operation itself. MI5 were alerted and conducted interrogations with the compiler before being satisfied it was purely a coincidence.

In the early 1970s, a film version of The Girl from Petrovka was being cast which was based on a book by George Feifer. After signing a contract for one of the lead roles, actor Anthony Hopkins decided to purchase a copy of the book for research purposes. Unable to find one in London’s many bookshops, he departed for home. At Leicester Square Underground station, he found a discarded book which turned out to be the very one he needed. Hopkins didn’t take a lot of notice of the hand written notes in the margins. The following year on set, Hopkins met with Feifer and discovered that the author no longer had a copy of his book since he lent it to a friend who lost it on a visit to London.

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