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Synchronicity: Carl Jung’s attempt to establish ‘meaning’ scientifically

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Part 1.
    1. 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections' by Carl Jung.
    2. The sharp dividing line between my way of viewing psychology and Jungian psychology.
    3. Jung on the question of truth regarding synchronicity.
    4. Jung's favorite example of synchronicity.
    5. The archetypes hypothesis.
  3. Part 2.
    1. Claire Douglas's book The Cambridge Companion to Jung.
    2. Support for my theory of Jung compensating for neurosis.
    3. The desire to compensate for childhood neurosis in Issac Newton's work.
    4. Acusations of being a cultist.
  4. Conclusion.

When in his seventies, the Swiss psychologist extended his theory of the collective unconscious by throwing in synchronicity into the mix. This he did following a quarter of a century correspondence with the Nobel Prize winning physicist, Wolfgang Pauli. No longer was phenomena such as religion, science, narrative (etc) meaningful merely due to the fact that it had psychological origins and was our immediate experience? now such phenomena was also meaningful because inner and outer worlds were inextricably linked. (Synchronicity!) And when inner experiences and outer experiences are experienced as linked there we experience a meaningful connection. Meaning is virtually what Jung is all about. It is true that there is a personal conscious/unconscious side to Jung but the majority of his work concerns the psychology of religion east and west, archetypes, numinosity, synchronicity and all kinds of esotericism most notably alchemy and Gnosticism. The qualitative as well as the quantitative concerned Jung? the irrational at least as much as the rational. Myths, fairy-tales, the paranormal all were greatly valued by Jung and are referred to here simply to set the scene as Jung as someone who was hell-bent on establishing a meaning-based dogma. Synchronicity was an attempt (there were others) to establish meaning on scientific grounds. It was arguably his most interesting attempt from a neutral perspective

[...] Throughout both parts we will keep in-mind that Jung was motivated by the desire to establish meaning scientifically. Therefore Jung conveniently invented things. (e.g. archetypes, collective unconscious, synchronicity). Part 1 In his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections Jung writes science I missed the factor of meaning; and in religion, that of empiricism.?1 Hence Jung embarked on a process of trying to objectively validate his desire for meaning. He would take myths, fairy-tales and religions as collective psychological projections of meaning. He would then argue that given that they are collective phenomena (and not just personal and subjective) they are objective, to be valued and definitely worthy of vast respect and study. [...]


[...] If archetypes can be threatened by theories of the subliminal and cryptomnesia then synchronicity is threatened by the cry of ?coincidence.' Only if this accusation can be overcome can synchronicity hope to establish itself as a respectable theory. As said in the introduction it is for physics to decide on these things, not psychology. Indeed only a scientific revolution can validate Jung! And the author of this essay even regards the archetypes as yesteryears collective representations. (explanations for the pre- scientific world that sufficed for pre-moderns as much sociological phenomena as psychological. [...]


[...] Harm can result only if one side or the other remains unconscious of the limitations of its claim to validity.?6 But it is precisely Jung's attempts to establish all of this that make his psychology itself a religion. Those most attracted to it attach to it, because of its esotericism. Hence Jung's psychology itself ends up being scrutinized as worthy of analysis. It is too easy to see Jung's motivations. Jungians will argue that just because Jungian psychology is convenient doesn't falsify it. [...]

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