Synchronicity: On the Spectrum of Mind and Matter

Saturday, April 12, 2014
2:30-4:30 pm

Past Event

“I have no doubt that the placing side by side of the points of view of a physicist and a psychologist will also prove to be a form of reflection.”

—Wolfgang Pauli

“Since physicists are the only people nowadays who would be able to deal with such a concept successfully, it is from a physicist that I hope to meet with critical understanding, although…the empirical basis seems to lie wholly in the realm of psychic phenomena.”

—C. G. Jung

The concept of synchronicity was developed by the Nobel Laureate quantum physicist, Wolfgang Pauli and the Swiss psychiatrist C. Jung in the middle of the twentieth century. It stressed the empirical fact of meaningful coincidence—a special sense of coincidence of two or more causally unrelated events which have the same or similar meaning. Synchronistic phenomena cannot in principle be associated with conceptions of causality, and thus the interconnection of meaningful coincident factors must be thought of as acausal. While such occurrences are improbable from the perspective of causality, they are not infrequent. How may such phenomena be noted and approached today? Both physics and psychology explore mind on a continuum with matter, and so operate at the conjunctions of the mental and material. As an emergent meeting in the No-Time of fundamental physics and the tensed Time of daily life, synchronicity moves toward meaning at intersections of the objective and subjective, met both in our experimental sciences and in our felt registers of experience.


Harald Atmanspacher

Physicist, The Collegium Helveticum (ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Privatdozent for theoretical physics, University of Potsdam; Faculty, Parmenides Foundation Munich and the Zurich C.G. Jung Institute

Harald Atmanspacher is a physicist, working at The Collegium Helveticum (ETH Zurich, Switzerland) as an associate fellow and also at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health (Freiburg, Germany). He has been teaching at Heidelberg University, LMU Munich, TU Munich, UT Austin, Freiburg University, ETH Zurich. He is Privatdozent for theoretical physics at the… read more »

Joseph Cambray

Jungian Analyst; past President of the International Association of Analytical Psychology

Joseph Cambray is a Jungian Analyst, and past President of the International Association of Analytical Psychology. He has been a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, at Massachusetts General Hospital, Psychiatry Department, and adjunct faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute. He is the former US Editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology…. read more »

Edgar Choueiri

Professor of Applied Physics, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Associated Faculty, Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Program in Plasma Physics, Princeton University

Edgar Choueiri is Professor of Applied Physics at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department of  Princeton University, and Associated Faculty in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Program in Plasma Physics. He is also Director of Princeton University’s Engineering Physics Program and Chief Scientist at the University’s Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Lab for advanced spacecraft propulsion. He is the president… read more »

Farzad Mahootian

Faculty of Liberal Studies, New York University; affiliated scholar, Consortium for Science Policy and Outcomes, Arizona State University

Farzad Mahootian is on the Faculty of Liberal Studies at New York University and an affiliated scholar with the Consortium for Science Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University. His interdisciplinary research focuses on the interactions of myth, metaphor and science—most recently in the context of research laboratory ethnographies. Publications include: “Lab as Dynamic System:… read more »

Beverley Zabriskie

Jungian Analyst, a founding faculty member and past President of New York’s Jungian Psychoanalytic Association

Beverley Zabriskie is a Jungian Analyst, a founding faculty member and past President of New York’s Jungian Psychoanalytic Association (JPA; associate editor, Journal of Analytical Psychology, (JAP) London; Board Member of The Philemon Foundation which is producing the unpublished works of Jung. Her sixty publications include “Time and Tao in Synchronicity” in The Pauli-Jung Conjecture… read more »

4 comments on “Synchronicity: On the Spectrum of Mind and Matter

  1. To the Participants:

    I’ve just registered for your roundtable.
    I look forward to meeting all of you and learning first-hand about synchronicity’s place among or within theories of consciousness.

    With thanks and best regards,

    Sander Rabin MD JD

  2. I have been working in the area of Integral Psychology, developed from Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory, especially re ego psychology, derived from Wilber’s early works. When the ego is defined as ‘the seat of localized consciousness,’ then we can define ego as localized, embodied subjectivity, which can develop in two ways: (1) Psychologically (Wilber’s “structure-stages”) and (2) in self-awareness in (or as) gross-waking, subtle, causal, and in combination, non-dual awareness. The category divisions are only conveniences for thinking about and communicating about, as all ideas are; and I believe that Wilber is to consciousness theory what Freud was to psychodynamic theory. I-theory rests on a post-scientific paradigm and explains synchronicities as occurrences where gross-waking consciousness (and gross body) and subtle consciousness (and subtle body), at the least, are both activated in explicit (not only implicit) awareness. I hope this made some sense. I look forward to hearing the discussants’ ideas about this amazing phenomenon, synchronicity, can be understood, and constructively harnessed. Thank you. Joanne Rubin

  3. I’m not a professional in any field. Imagination (Which William Blake wrote was man’s greatest faculty) beyond my conscious intents and impulses that were irresistible have driven me to do things that made no sense when I acted on them. Such as going to a hardware store where I bought an 18 inch long segment of thick hemp rope, bound with wire at one end to prevent the three coiled strands from separating. I unraveled the other end so the separate strands were free from the shape of the rope. for several inches. Then I laid the rope segment on a bed of white flowers growing near my house and took pictures of the rope on the flowers. This was before digital cameras, it was in the mid 1980s as best I can remember. When the pictures were developed I felt oddly weird because this was a nonsense picture. After other events of a similar strangeness happened I felt there was a connection but I wasn’t ‘getting’ it. I glanced at the picture a few years ago when I was sorting keepers from non-keepers and I saw the meaning quite clearly and suddenly. The flowers were white alyssum, or ‘heavenly scents’ as my grandmother used to say about them, they do smell quite sweet. The rope, tightly bound at one end but frayed into individual strands at the other end, removed from the shape of the coils of hemp were each free and individual, unconnected apparently to the ‘whole object’, of which it was a part. I saw the beginnings of a process in such non-senses. The meanings always emerged spontaneously, not from my interpretations, that was the important fact.

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