Carl Jung on Synchronicity and the Esoteric

Carl Jung

There have been a plethora of new age writings these days, from the astrotheology and cosmogenesis of Helena Blavatsky to the Secret Teachings of all ages written by Manly P. Hall, the advent of occult literature has made its way into Psychology, grasping the tail of modern science and occultism. The revered psychologist and genius disciple of Sigmund Freud, C.G [Carl Gustav] Jung, created a bridge between psychology and esotericism, leading the new age of the 21st century toward a new direction. In his book Encountering Jung, Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal, Rodrick Main explains the inextricable aspects between Jung’s experiences with the paranormal and his monumental developments in Depth Psychology.

Synchronicity, Physics, and Gnosticism

Wolfgang Pauli, Physicist, and co-creator of the Synchronicity theory.

Synchronicity (events between the observer and the observed) is one of the most provocative theories ever established by Carl Jung, whose theory was arguably first developed as a principle through the many correspondences with Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Wolfgang Pauli, who was just as passionate about physics as he was with Jung’s ideas. Believing that the classical theory of physics and empirical determinism has no meaning, Pauli knew that synchronicity was more than objective science, Pauli wrote:

I nevertheless, as a physicist, have the impression that the “statistical correspondence” of quantum physics, seen from the point of view of synchronicity, is a very weak generalization of the old causality… Although microphysics allows for an acausal form of observation, it actually has no use for the concept of “meaning.”

Science as it is today, is devoid of meaning, focusing more on the objective than the subjective aspects of what shapes reality. However, Quantum physics has made many improvements on the incredulous viewpoint of a ‘observational frame of reality.’ Pauli did not only agree with the theory of synchronicity, he knew that there is more to reality than an objective viewpoint. Physics, as one of the subsections within Main’s book, further extrapolated the theory of synchronicity. In a letter to Pascual Jordan, Jung wrote:

Physics has demonstrated, as plainly as could be wished, that in the realm of atomic magnitudes of an observer is postulated in objective reality, and that only on this condition is a satisfactory scheme of explanation possible. This means that a subjective element attaches to the physicist’s world picture, and secondly that a connection necessarily exists between the psyche to be explained and the objective spacetime continuum.

Jung’s references to Space-time and the psyche alludes to Einstein’s special relativity, for which Einstein was an actual influential figure in Jung’s life.

“It was Einstien who first started me off thinking about a possible relativity of time as well as space, and their psychic conditionality. More than thirty years later this stimulus led to my relation with the physicist professor W. Pauli and to my thesis on psychic synchronicity.” (Main,1997)

Synchronicity adds meaning to experience, it accentuates the present model of science and like the ‘Uncle Tom’ of an old epoch, places it into an old dusty box. Many of the significant theories of C.G Jung derive from his readings into the occult. “I naturally examined occultistic literature pertinent to the subject and discovered a store of parallels from different centuries with our Gnostic system.”(Chalquist) Later on, in Jung’s career, he studied Gnosticism, wherein such a religion and practice lies many connections to Jung’s Depth psychology and this esoteric religion. The Gnostics (from Greek, gnosis) were an ancient religion, persecuted by the church, whose teachings are laden with many obscurities. (For more on Gnosticism, see Foreword by Lance Owens in Ribi, 2013) Many Jungian terms are borrowed from the Gnostics, ‘Gnosis’ for instance, is the state of accomplishment, wherein one has attained the knowledge of spiritual mysteries. In Jungian psychology, it is a state in which the unconscious can reach its absolute potential. Gnosticism is filled to the brim with allegorical doctrines, such as the allegory of Sophia and the paradisiacal state of the Garden of Eden. In Jung’s The Red Book (Liber Novus), he expresses many sentiments alluding to the teachings of the Gnostics and their mysteries, such as the appearance of Philemon. Philemon is a part of Greek mythology, who is the partner to Baccus, who both hospitably receive Hermes and Zeus, disguised as travelers, in their house when their richer neighbors turned them away. (See, Britannica, Greek Mythology) According to Sonu Shamdasani, the writer of introduction to Jung’s Red Book, Philemon represented a three-dimensional expression of Jung’s innermost thoughts. After constructing a tower on the upper shores of Lake Zürich in Bollinger, Jung regarded this tower as “Philemonis sacrum-Fausti poenitentia” (Philemon’s shrine-Faust’s Repentance). Because Jung was so connected to Philemon, he became a personified aspect of himself. Jung wrote: “Philemon was a pagan and brought with him Egypto-Hellenistic atmosphere with a Gnostic colouration. His figure first appeared to me in the following dream.” (Main, 1997)

The entire Red Book is an obscure book, laden with allegories and allusions, most of which cannot be understood without a comprehensive knowledge of Greek mythology and the esoteric philosophy of Manly. P Hall and Cornelius Agrippa. Jung’s inspiration for science and synchronicity were the quantum physicists of his time, who ended up turning the head of modern science. In Main’s book on Encountering Jung, the Paranormal and Synchronicity, Jung’s study of the concepts of physics began to show a more clear picture of physics and its connection to esoteric literature. What makes Jung such a genius are not his works on occult literature, but how Jung managed to use his research in the occult and ancient philosophies and combine them with science. Jung was not only a Psychiatrist who wanted to know about dreams and their symbols, but he also transformed the way people look at themselves, giving people today something other than the mirror to look at.

Parapsychology and the Paranormal

Not only did Jung spend much of his time on the theory of synchronicity and physics, but he also wrote about his experiences with the paranormal. At the beginning of Main’s book, he writes about Jung’s paranormal experiences, unlike the skepticism that haunted Sigmund Freud, Jung found out first hand what he was dealing with, and from an early age, he had a keen interest in the paranormal. In an old country house, where Jung was to stay for a couple of weeks, there were a series of hauntings. The room that Jung stayed in particular, was the most active. Every night as Jung tried to rest, he heard loud noises in his bedroom, and one night was too unbearable and daunting that he spent the rest of the night sleeping in an armchair. Regarding this account, Jung wrote, “I had the feeling there was something near me and opened my eyes. There, beside me on the pillow, I saw the head of an old woman, and the right eye, wide open, glared at me. The left half of the face was missing below the eye.” (Main, 1997)

Jung insisted that such experiences were not ‘delusions of the senses’ and when he could not handle the hauntings anymore, he insisted his skeptical companion, Dr. X to spend a weekend alone in the cottage. The result of this led to Dr. X’s confession that the cottage was indeed haunted. After he had given up the cottage, the cottage was torn down, after having been considered unsaleable. The person who owned the cottage found out that a woman who used to live there, in fact, was murdered. “These remarks are only meant to show that parapsychology would do well to take account of the modern psychology of the unconscious.” (Main, 1997)

It may be possible that these paranormal experiences that Jung had, had an influence on him and his research. Jung began to spiral down a rabbit hole, arriving with answers and more questions about the psyche. To Jung, the psyche is analogous to the concept of the soul, which is an entity in of itself. Jung argued that thoughts and emotions, although such feelings may seem like our own, are entities of themselves, little critters that provoke thought, “From my experience with unconscious phenomena I must even admit that what we call thoughts or emotions could be in a way independent psychic agencies of which we perceive only their psychological aspect, but not their potential physical nature.” (Main, 1997) Some may argue that Jung’s involvement in the occult has made him a rambling dogmatist, however, Jung provides more answers than he does questions, mixing the objectivity of science with parapsychology and experience. One must consider that the present scientific model can only prove empirical phenomena by building an apparatus fit for objective judgment. What Jung proved in his lifetime, is that, like Newtonian physics, the scientific notion of objectivity is broken.

Jungianism and The Media

The Occult literature of C.G Jung is usually in the shadows of the analytical psychology of Sigmund Freud. However, Jung’s depth psychology permeates every aspect of thought within contemporary culture, usually, Jung’s philosophy is underrated by modern scientists who cannot fathom the mysteries quantum physics and much like Nikola Tesla, Jung created a new way of looking at science through the lens of ancient philosophers. What some may fail to see is just how much Jung has influenced the way the public see the world through media. For instance, Dr. Phil introduces the underlying aspects of the unconscious symbols and the formations of sand.

Jungianism and the New Age

New age philosophy is at the apex of its popularity now, and Jungian depth psychology has paved the way toward a new cycle of thought. Whether the discipline is science or religion, like a razor blade, Jungianism cuts through the barriers between empiricism and esotericism. Jung is the ultimate teacher of the 20th century who had paved a path of new psychology, showing the modern mind the picture of the soul. As it is essential to know the world, what one must know first is oneself. Jungianism teaches the mind that man/woman is a reflection of all things external from him/her. We cannot trade Jungianism for anything else, because if we did, we’d be lost in an old paradigm.

Works Cited

Chalquist, Gnostic Antecedents of Jung’s Key Concept’s

Popova Maria, Atom, Archetype and the invention of Synchronicity.

Main, Roderick, Encountering Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal

C.G Jung The Red Book, Liber Novus

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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A young scholar who enjoys studying and writing about various disciplines including; physics, philosophy, politics, art, Esotericism and Biocentrism.
Edited by Munjeera, Joseph Cernik.

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40 Comments

  1. If you want to follow a strange rabbit hole, to the end of the world and back– you should read his work. 🙂

  2. Dee Bullard
    1

    I really love when respected scientists get to finally say the things that they realize they may not have the time to prove, but have an instinctual belief in.

  3. groooovy
    1

    Jung loses me at times — he always does — but even when I don’t find his conclusions compelling, he, as a character, always compels me.

  4. Neville
    1

    I know very little about psychology but it’s a subject I’m very interested in. A friend recommended Jung to me when I began writing down my dreams some months ago and started noticing some patterns.

  5. I did not begin seriously studying him until college. Now addicted to his writing.

  6. I love Jung. I love him so much I bought the t-shirt. Seriously, for my birthday I got a t-shirt with Jung’s big white face on it, and I wear it all the time. He looks pretty serious. I want people to know that Jung is watching them, so behave.

    Sometimes I wonder, Am I a Jungian? Not really. But I could be. Everytime I read Jung I feel a greater part of myself converted.

  7. I have always wanted to read Jung, and for some reason I decided to start with this article. I am happy I did, thank you for the great read.

    • Yasmine Allen

      It is a great honor to have been your introduction into the world of Carl Jung! You’ve made me most happy and grateful!
      For starters a great boom would be “Man and his symbols.” Which deals with Jungian analysis on dreams. The funny thing about Jung is the fact that his genius derives from an open perspective on the Esoteric and spiritual nature of consciousness and the temporal reality of the mind.

  8. Munjeera

    Jungian analysis is classic.

  9. Jung’s narrative demonstrates a way to live one’s life that I have often suspected might work well for me.

  10. Milagro
    1

    I see Jung as a Buddha or Christ figure. Not that he’s a god, but that he provided us with a beautiful revelation about our meaning and spirituality.

  11. Candyce
    1

    Thank God he lived and died well before I was old enough to know of him;I would have been completely and utterly thunderstruck and smitten.

  12. Carl Jung is the most intelligent and articulate people “I know” and so modest and full of uncertainties. He was not proud or fixed on theory, he was open to prove him wrong and come up with better explanations to things.

  13. Jung has a double nature, much like the one he frequently refers to in this book.

  14. One of the things I like the most about Jung is how self reflective I feel when I read his work. I am really struck by Jung.

  15. Jung is increasingly becoming one of the most important people to the development of my world view.

  16. He strikes me as an arrogant blowhard much of the time.

  17. I have developed a strong crush on Dr. Jung due to his extreme sensitivity, reflection, and openmindedness displayed naturally from a very young age.

  18. Jung is an expert on the unconscious and that knowledge is on full display.

  19. C.G. Jung is my kind of psychoanalyst.

  20. C.G. Jung is one of my all time favorite thinkers.

  21. Min Ferrell
    1

    Jung is so full of it. Haha, no. I’m just kidding but only sort of.

  22. Laflamme
    0

    What a fantastic, refreshing read!

  23. Carl Jung is a brilliant guy.

  24. In all seriousness, I wonder what Jung would have thought of in regards to ideas like vengeful ghosts? I didn’t know he had a potential encounter with a spirit (if that is true) but it is fascinating to consider his relationship with both the psychological and the paranormal, and the ties that the two have. Insightful read!

  25. An intriguing article, and I really like the perspective of considering the correlation of depth psychology to quantum physics, and I think Jung would have approved of recent scientific efforts to validate the still debated phenomenon of quantum entanglement. But it must be said that Jung seemed more interested in the “observer effect” (forgive the double-entendre to physics) of paranormal phenomena as opposed to to the reality of the paranormal, whatever that is. I recall his monogram on “Flying Saucers,” in which he focused less on the objectivity of reported sightings and more on how the widespread reports give rise to a discussion of perception relating to the mandala as a universal projection from the Collective Unconscious. I know he reported a variety of personal paranormal experiences in his letters, but I think he was less interested in promoting New Age interpretations as much as he hoped to encourage dialogue about how such encounters reflect the individuation of the human psyche. That said, your article was stimulating and got me thinking again about Jung’s contributions to larger questions of what it means to be human. I’m saddened that late twentieth-century pyschologists have tended to cold-shoulder this iconoclastic thinker. Fortunately, he survives in philosophical discussions such as those you present in your article.

    • I agree. Jung still has much to teach us— his is a completely unique and self-contained approach, and one that should be continued to see what it can yield when coupled with pure “science” or in discussions of quantum mechanics. The paranormal (again, whatever that really is) gives many novel glimpses into the human psyche. Why do humans “see” what they “see?” Why is it similar to other human’s experiences? Is any of it real or is it a sub-conscious projection of something essentially human and primeval, brought out by trauma or stress?

  26. It’s always interesting to me to hear of people’s paranormal experiences and to see how audiences interpret them. In the case of Carl Jung, he used this experience to fascinate his readers while making his teachings more insightful and compelling. Great read!

  27. Jungianism rears it’s eloquent head anew in the mid 20th century in textbooks for Communication theory, where multiple authors claim that humans only gain a sense of identity from their interactions with others. Here, human beings view their own essence through the mirror of others’ reactions to them— the selfsame argument of Jung’s that men and women essentially ARE reflections of all they encounter.

  28. Research by Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff into Orchestrated Objective Reduction theory states that neuronal cells contain quantum data within their microtubules..even further, this quantum data cannot be lost or destroyed upon the death of the individual, and therefore is “ejected” into the quantum world around us. Perhaps this data is what produces ghosts?

    • Yasmine Allen

      Hello there,
      That is a really good question!
      Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff are very prominent figures within quantum physics, both having contributed to this science with their Orch Or theory. This theory suggests that
      “consciousness arises from quantum vibrations in protein polymers called microtubules inside the brains neurons.” Thus, this theory claims that consciousness derives from vibrations from the activity inside brain neurons.
      Well, if we are trying to understand consciousness this may be different from psychics phenomena such as apparitions.
      Lets start with the big question, which both Roger Penrose and Hameroff were concerned with;
      “What is consciousness?”
      The mystery of consciousness has been inquired since antiquity. Consciousness, in my view of it, philosophically, is more analogous to the omnipotent darkness within Plato’s allegory of the cave. The prisoners are the mind, and the shadows are you and I. If we go deeper into the theory of consciousness with the use of QM theory we’ll see that objectivity intertwining itself with subjectivity, for if one claims that an electron changes its orbital and assume a superposition, collapsing its wavefunction (inverse the derivative of the wavelength measurement), just by a simple observation or intention, then of course there is a means to the external and internal realities for which we rely. However, these theories are only unveiling a small part of reality, it still leaves is with many assumptions and ideas of what consciousness is. Penrose believes that neurons and their vibrations within the brain are the seat of which consciousness derives, his theory leaves out the Noumena notion; what is beyond the senses and still appears to some of us as a phenomena, such as apparitions? This question is left to the spiritualist who conceptualized the essence of the being, not consciousness. If so, the corporeal substance must be; soul.
      Well, what is soul (anima)?
      We can say that the soul is made of this indestructible energy, therefore, soul itself cannot be destroyed. But since we cannot fathom soul, it must precede the true essence of our being. Objectively, it is beyond the idea of consciousness and is unelectable, but it still persists to be there, in idea only.
      How can that which precedes the essence of the being ever be known or pondered without there being a foreknowledge of the nature of the self? Simple, the self is without a true nature. Orch Or theory does not deal with the noumenal or supersensable psychical nature of the ‘self’ in terms of ‘soul’ and ‘being.’ This theory therefore has no place when considering the existence of apparitions, it simply only has a place concerning consciousness, not the esoteric.
      So when you ask the question of whether such data explains apparitions, or not, then you are excluding the extraneous theory of consciousness without the attempt to allude to the nature of the essence of ‘being’ itself.

  29. Jung is wonderful. The Undiscovered Self was a turning point for me.

  30. Thank you Yasmine for your very insightful article. Synchronicity has certainly come into the mainstream within paranormal research and in some ways is displacing the ‘populist’ materialist theories. I was unaware of the immense influence of Carl Yung concerning this topic and now that I have read your article I am keen to find out more.

  31. Speaking freely based on my own observations, I found your article insightful on the practicality of psychoanalysis.

    There has long been a backlash against the ideas of the unconscious mind since the days Freud came to America. While Freud’s focus on sexuality is possibly too narrow for understanding human behavior, more empirical schools of thought and the otherwise uninformed masses tend to paint psychoanalysis as a prying into people’s private lives with personal philosophies substituting hard scientific approaches.

    Yet, as your article establishes, psychoanalysis is best understood not as a staunchly objective approach, but one based on the subjective, on “relativity,” on (to my mind) individuality. Jung May very well have understood this, and brought the elements of Freud to greater light and insight than his predecessor.

    In all, your article emphasizes how theories on the unconscious are less about proving broad theories—Jung’s work is a sturdier tower built for understanding what makes identity, on a personal level, the mythologies we approximate to create “ourselves.” There’s a reason Jung and Woolf’s archetypes became so prevalent in the creative writing process.

    But, those are my ramblings. You’ve given me inspiration. A great article, Yasmine.

  32. I thoroughly enjoyed the article. I have been gravitated and sucked into the vortex that is Jung lately. I was unaware of his focus on the paranormal, and I truly appreciated you writing about it, and specifically how the paranormal was another jumping off point on his personal quest of the human psyche. The man had difficult questions he asked of himself, and his answers to those questions has always caused a shift in my perception on the very nature of the human psyche, and its capacity for expansion to realms that were unimaginable to me.

  33. I have I have been working through the book “An Essay on Morals” by Phillip Wylie which is breaking down Jungian views and I have to say I’m even more in love with the guy after reading this piece. Being aware of the duality of the waking and unconscious world is pertinent to our evolution even as advanced as we are today.

  34. Great article! I also really enjoy Jung’s take on dreams and symbology which I came to know after reading J. Peterson’s books. Such a heavy reading though, one should take time to absorb his ideas..

  35. Carl G. Jung’s (Red Book) and Joseph Campbell’s (Power of Myth) were a huge part of the reason that I found any sense of belonging and understanding of life and my journey through it. As an undergrad I studied printmaking and drawing and used both of these books as a guide through the symbols of men,

  36. There isn’t much to say that has not already been said, however, you are a truly incredible writer. Your article was fascinating and brought a new enthusiasm for Jung’s work for me.

    • Yasmine Allen

      Thank you very much! My readers mean more to me than anything they will ever know. Sharing the knowledge that one has acquired is the greatest gift, and I shall cherish every present that I give to my dear readers.

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