More Science and Synchronicity

We’ve written about this topic before, usually somewhat disparagingly, since synchronicity hasn’t favored well in the world of traditional science.

Now comes a paper called Synchronicity Studies, by Bernard D. Beitman, MD, a visiting professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia. Beitman, you might recall, is the author a series of studies of synchronicity that were published in the December 2011 issue of Psychiatric Annals, and reviewed here. The paper accompanied those studies, and Dr. Beitman has asked us to read and comment on it. He would also like to receive comments from others.

Beitman makes three interesting points near the beginning of the paper. He notes that one out of three people notice coincidences taking place in their lives. He adds that reports of coincidental events seem to be increasing. His third point: “Many people, especially people with scientific training, dismiss coincidences as simply a matter of chance: accidents or anomalies generated by randomness.”

He goes on to say that such a dismissal without a review of evidence is hardly scientific and he calls for the establishment of a new transdisciplinary field called Coincidence Studies. He describes three types of coincidence: synchronicity, serendipity, and seriality. Just as Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity to describe meaningful coincidence, Beitman has coined a term, “simulpathity,” which  incorporates empathy with coincidence. We’ve written about planetary empaths – people who feel earthquakes and other disasters as they happen or shortly before they happen – and their experiences might be an example of simulpathity.

Beitman discusses the environments in which synchronicity occurs and this part of his paper bears a striking resemblance to what we wrote about in 7 Secrets:  that synchronicity occurs  frequently during times of major transitions in our lives. He also mentions a personal experience that may have led him into Jungian territory: a choking episode that coincided with what was happening to his father as he choked to death.

Beitman refers to ‘coincidence-prone’ people, an interesting concept. He says such people tend to be self-referential, intuitive, emotional, optimistic, and meaning-seeking. We have  quite a few coincidence-prone folks visiting this blog. Creative people experience synchronicities frequently because synchronicity is part of the creative process.

There’s much more. It’s a long article. If you want to get analytical about synchronicity, this article won’t let you down. Here’s an example:

“The resolution of conflicts among coincidence theories could take three forms. One possibility is that a superordinate theory will encompass all others, explaining all instances of weird coincidence. A second possibility is that different theories may account for different types of coincidences. A third possibility is that each theory explains one aspect of a meaningful coincidence.”

From the academic perspective, there’s a need for theory to explain meaningful coincidences, and justify the concept of coincidence studies. Beitman should be congratulated for his efforts. After all, most academics consider people who take such co-incidents seriously to be dabbling in magical thinking, a term related to superstitious beliefs or behavior. Probably the only subject currently more tarnished than coincidence in the academic realm is the study of UFOs.

Beitman also talks about the idea of being able to predict a coincidence. That sounds suspiciously like applying cause and effect to a phenomenon that essentially is a window to an underlying reality that exists outside of cause and effect, outside of linear time and three-dimensional space. The bottom line is that it would probably take a synchronicity to predict a coincidence!

All of that said, coincidence studies could serve as an important vehicle for studying synchronicity in all its myriad forms. We would like to see how such a study would illuminate the experiences of planetary empaths.  Perhaps such a study could somehow make use of their   often painful experiences , save lives, and help empaths to focus their abilities in a way  that can predict the  location of catastrophic events.

Beitman is curious about how to energize  people who are helped in some way by  coincidence  so that a  tipping point can be reached to bring synchronicity into  major public awareness and academic study. Specifically, here are his points/questions:

1) How can we gain enough energy to reach the tipping point into public and academic awareness?

2) What parts of the Coincidence Studies paper do you resonate with and what seems to need developing and what seems wrong?

3) The Coincidence Studies paper is a Manifesto–it outlines the future of a new field. What is needed to help this new field grow and flourish?

4) How can you help?

There’s a second paper that was published in EdgeScience Magazine which you can download for free. Click the link above, then the PDF link for issue 9. This article is much longer and talks about involving “citizen scientists” in the research of synchronicity.

So here we are, people from all walks of life, different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and spiritual beliefs who experience synchronicity frequently, learn from it, are illuminated by it. How can we help in the scientific/academic exploration of this  phenomenon? How can science expand our understanding?


This entry was posted in science synchronicity, synchronicity. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to More Science and Synchronicity

  1. Thanks for alerting me to this one! Only just got the time now to read it! Synchronicity is one of the ideas that I use to support my own take on consciousness, so these academic studies are very useful for me. Marcus

  2. fortune500 says:

    As a person who was born both a science academic, (medicine and math), and a mystic, (clairvoyant, clairaudient, clairsentient, planetary empath), and having just this past week experienced life-altering synchronicities that perhaps we can discuss later, as it involves the sudden death of my husband’s brother and the incidents were complex…I can state with some degree of validity that it IS possible to combine both science and the so-called paranormal, whether within an individual or within a series of (co)incidental happenings. Wonderful post from Trish and Rob, and wonderful insights and comments by all. Yes, MORE. Definitely MORE.

  3. 1) Media, World Wide Web and social network (one strong and searchable instead of many)

    2) I still remember my reaction when I’ve read the word synchronicity for the first time. This concept resonates with me.

    3) Synchronicity (according to Jung) increases in times of crises and neuroses – the environment and renewable energy (acceleration) for the environmental crisis and (synchronized) communities for the social crises

    4) Re-read what I’ve just written under the numbers 1-3?

    • Rob and Trish says:

      Thanks, Aleksandar. I’ll make sure Bernard see this!

    • Suggestions on how to organize the media, world wide web, social media?
      The “selling” points:
      1) some great stories
      2) hints of new realities and new scientific principles
      3) some great assistance in relationships, work and spiritual development

  4. Adriana says:

    thanks for sharing!

  5. Natalie says:

    I always tell my students that Synchronicity is the Language of the Universe. It is Sources way of speaking to us, despite language barriers and differing cultures, synchronicity makes each person sit up and take notice.
    I also echo the above sentiment that they occur most often in a transition period….a bit like a bang on the head with the old velvet mallet. “ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME, CHILD?”

  6. shadow says:

    p.s. i can’t seem to find Esperanza as a kindle book, is it available as such?

  7. shadow says:

    i’m the only one in our household who believes in synchronicity/coincidences. and when i read this “synchronicity occurs frequently during times of major transitions in our lives” and thought back, it struck me as being very true. it’s like the universe gets impatient with my lack of understanding and is ‘shouting’ at me to wake up and take note!

    • Rob and Trish says:

      It can be challenging to be the only one i the household who believes in synchros. Maybe your experiences are going to pull the skeptics along??

  8. lauren raine says:

    I look forward to reading the article. I’m glad to see the subject broached in this way in Academia, although I confess, I would be loath to see “formulas” become too concrete as far as synchronicity goes. I think of those books on dream analysis, that purport to identify what different symbols mean universally. But dreams are highly subjective, and ultimately, although there are archetypal symbols that are collective, only you can understand the real meaning of a dream, because you are the source of the language it speaks. I feel that way about synchronicity as well.

    • Rob and Trish says:

      Great line: You are the source of the language it speaks. That really pegs it for me.

      • Nancy says:

        Yeah, me too. As much as I would like it to be studied – I would hate for the magic to be spoiled.

        • gypsy says:

          while i too would loathe to see “formulas” become too concrete in terms of synchronicity – it seems to me always good to look at something from another perspective – the more something is shared the more there is to be learned – and – also, to me, having it brought into academia is but one way to have it gain more acceptance by society as a whole – too long [in my opinion and experiences] there has been such a stigma [for lack of a better word] attached to such phenomena and those who experience such phenomena that many – including myself at an early time – were/are hesitant to share our own experiences in-depth – also, while i do perceive that mysticism/magic of synchronicity i also believe that it is not an isolated “thing” – “it” is something to which we all have access – something we all have the ability to use – to facilitate – and thus, the “magic” is within – not something that might be tampered with – anyway –

          anyway, so sorry to be just now commenting on this incredibly interesting post but distractions here seem to be running rampant simultaneously with my focus being non-existent –

          bottom line – bravo beitman – bravo academia –

          oh, i went to dr beitman’s site and wanted to respond to his survey but was unable to find a way to do so – loved the story of his lost dog, too –

          thanks so much for another great enlightening post, you two!

          • thanks for your comments.
            I think we can use the help of others to understand our own coincidences just as friends and therapists need help from others. Remember that Joseph needed to intepret the dream of the pharoh about the 7 fat and 7 lean cows. Principles and not formulas to help understand these symbolic messages.

  9. Darren B says:

    “He says such people tend to be self-referential, intuitive, emotional, optimistic, and meaning-seeking”.
    I would agree with that from my perspective (self-referential.-) ,but how would you know if you were more or less intuitive,emotional,optimistic and meaning seeking than that of the next person.I would say I fit the above description,but I don’t know to what degree I’m any more intuitive,emotional,optimistic and meaning seeking than the next guy.

    And I must say that I really don’t have faith in science as an institution…it’s all controlled by corporate monopolies that throw the money at what they want studied, to get the results they want.Global Warming for example.
    I have very little faith in Science as an institution today…just like I have very little faith in mainstream Religions.

    • Rob and Trish says:

      Good point, Daz. I consider myself an intuitive, emotional etc person, too, but I don’t know how I compare with someone else.

    • Thanks for comments.
      The qualities listed are relative to the group answering the survey questions. The best way to answer the primary question about is to take the Weird Coincidence Scale because our research measures coincidence sensitivity.

      The qualities of self-refeential, high emotion, meaning seeking were measured by some standardized surveys developed by others. They may have high and low scoriing but we did not use them.

      Science can be considered religion-like if you think science is a set of beliefs about reality. I would call that scientism which includes skepticism about meaningful coincidences. Science ideally is a way of asking questions when there is no one to answer except nature/reality.

      I was lucky to be able to be working in an academic instituion and have the freedom to study coincidences. But like the other supporters of scientific studies I was hoping for an outcome–further support for the wide spread experience of coincidences and further knowledge of them.

  10. Nancy says:

    This is exciting. In my Human Development classes that I took in the late 1990’s some of the professors were just aching to talk about all of this stuff in a meaningful, human evolution sort of way, and were unable to really dig into it due to the fact it was not taken seriously by the academic community. Despite that fact, most of my papers were about the evolving human and were well received by my professors. Jung was required reading. To have synchronicity studied in a full-on academic forum means we are making progress. I would like to read the papers before giving my recommendations, however.

  11. Here’s my answers:

    1) How can we gain enough energy to reach the tipping point into public and academic awareness? A: Articles and books as available as referenced. Trust that the energy is already tipping in academic and scientific circles. The general public is a different beast and many already understand these concepts in their belief systems and cultures.

    2) What parts of the Coincidence Studies paper do you resonate with and what seems to need developing and what seems wrong? A: I feel it’s great as it shows a 4th dimensional mindset to 3rd dimension events.

    3) The Coincidence Studies paper is a Manifesto–it outlines the future of a new field. What is needed to help this new field grow and flourish? A: It needs a purpose, a point beyond presenting the reality of randomness through time and spirit. Marketing professionals in every field from politics to hamburgers know the public needs three touches in order to make a sale. That’s their point, to make a sale, with the message it will enhance the life of the customer. So this field needs a reason to fulfill a need that can be visualized as a tangible improvement – for something.

    4) How can you help? A: I personally applaud this work and will spread the news that the magical and mystical has practical purposes and we should pay attention. 😀

    • Rob and Trish says:

      Great feedback, Terri. Thanks!

    • Great ideas
      1) I believe we are reaching a tipping point in human awareness and that Rob and Trish are greatly helping us move with greater speed to that point.
      2) Let’s keep getting in touch with that 4th dimension and make it more common to increasingly more people.
      3) marketing–yes–coincidence studies has 3 different “products” at least. a)”Wow stories” low probability events that are hard to explain but are entertaining. b) Clues to that 4th dimension and also clues to our own abilities to create strange happenings and to know things we don’t think we can know. c)–coincidences can be very practically helpful–especially in decision making and self-knowledge.

      • Rob and Trish says:

        I think you got some good feedback, Bernard! We’ll have to try the weird coincidence scale and see where we come out. Thank you for the comments about 7 Secrets.

  12. So many things link together. For example ‘Beitman also talks about the idea of being able to predict a coincidence.’ This can take in visualisation and what is often called the law of attraction. If we try to ‘create’ on this basis then, to bring about our desired effect, this often includes coincidence and/or synchronicity. We bump into a stranger; maybe a book is given to us; there is an article in a newspaper or on a website we don’t usually read etc. etc. So you could say we are, therefore, creating coincidences or even predicting them – to bring about our creation.

  13. Rob,

    I always feel that there is an emotional intent with synchronistic events. Undefined, but there.

    Looking forward to reading these articles.

    More please

  14. DJan says:

    This is really fascinating. I see a new field developing, and I’m right here reading about it. I’ve got the 7 Secrets book and think it’s time to go back and re-read it. 🙂