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Synchronicity, creativity, spirituality, James Joyce, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, William Blake, Aldous Huxley, Edvard Munch, award winning novels, literature, novels, artist, painting, The Trilogy of Remembrance.

Conundrum 1, by Diane Clancy.

 

 

 

 

Everyone is talking about creativity. But what about synchronicity? Are they related?

Synchronicity, creativity, spirituality, James Joyce, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, William Blake, Aldous Huxley, Edvard Munch, award winning novels, literature, novels, artist, painting, The Trilogy of Remembrance.

Lightening cracks open the night sky.

 

Just think for a moment about synchronicity. Two or more unrelated events clash together like lightening to create a meaningful, [often mind-boggling] message for you. It seems mysteriously orchestrated in some other place—outside time and space.

Synchronicity, creativity, spirituality, James Joyce, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, William Blake, Aldous Huxley, Edvard Munch, award winning novels, literature, novels, artist, painting, The Trilogy of Remembrance.

Carl Jung, father of synchronicity.

 

If you doubt it, Carl Jung, father of this “force” will tell you—“Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.”

 

 

Synchronicity, creativity, spirituality, James Joyce, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, William Blake, Aldous Huxley, Edvard Munch, award winning novels, literature, novels, artist, painting, The Trilogy of Remembrance.

James Joyce, author of Ulysses.

 

And the author of Ulysses, James Joyce will chime in with—“Shut your eyes and see.”

So it seems this messaging system called synchronicity surrounds us perhaps like an electrical field—as part of nature. Only our closed-mindedness keeps us from it.

When you experience synchronicity in a big way, don’t you feel someone/thing is watching you? But whose eye is that above us? I think it looks benign or at least I hope so.

When I thought of this, I remembered Diane Clancy’s terrific painting Conundrum 1 which seems to portray that sense very well.

Here’s an example: A friend of mine had a sleep study done. Her doctor’s office promised to call if any problems. Time passed without a word and she forgot about it. Several months later a medical device company called to ask about her reported problem with her oxygen tank. Surprised she said, “I never called you. I have no oxygen tank.” After she hung up, unease crept over her. Without knowing why she made a vague connection between the call, the sleep study and the doctor. She phoned to find her report had been misplaced. When the office found it, they call with an appointment for that afternoon. Turned out she had a lung condition which needed immediate treatment.

Synchronicity, creativity, spirituality, James Joyce, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, William Blake, Aldous Huxley, Edvard Munch, award winning novels, literature, novels, artist, painting, The Trilogy of Remembrance.

The Scream by Edvard Munch

 

My friend was astonished. “What on earth caused that call about the tank?” We ask that because cause and effect rule our minds. When such an intervening event comes out of nowhere, we might call it a weird coincidence. But this was far too meaningful. She was convinced that some force was protecting her.

To be fair to the doubters, you can’t really be convinced of synchronicity unless you have experienced it. Without that, many don’t pay attention or they try to dismiss it as coincidence.     

After a few experiences, you become at least open to the possibility of synchronicity. It doesn’t always hit you over the head so you have to be attentive and look for signs.

Is creativity related to synchronicity? How do your very best creations come to you. Most people say—“It comes like a flash! Reason did not bring it.”  Like a synchronistic event, creative thought bursts upon us leaving us wondering from whence it came.

Carl Jung says of creativity that—“From the living fountain of instinct flows everything that is creative: hence, the unconscious is not merely conditioned by history, but is the very source of the creative impulse.”

So, apparently the source of creativity is the unconscious psyche. But what is the source of synchronicity?

According to Jung… “We must regard them [synchronicities] as creative acts, as the continuous creation of a pattern that exists from all eternity, repeats itself sporadically and is not derivable from any known antecedents…continuous creation is thought of not only as a series of successive acts of creation, but also as the eternal presence of the one creative act.

From this we might well conclude that synchronicity is, itself, creativity. They are not separate items in our universe. It certainly does create an event and an impression on the person.

Synchronicity, creativity, spirituality, James Joyce, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, William Blake, Aldous Huxley, Edvard Munch, award winning novels, literature, novels, artist, painting, The Trilogy of Remembrance.

One very tiny atom containing the universe.

 

We can’t really know the source of synchronicity or creativity for certain. Not yet. But I suspect both of them spring from the unconscious. Jung conversed extensively with the quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli, about a link between the unconscious psyche and the quantum universe [the quantum world of the very tiny—atom.] They agreed that there was a real relationship between the two.

If open to synchronicity are you more creative? Is a highly creative artist more likely than an “ordinary” person to experience such events? Are they tuned into something most of us are not?

Synchronicity, creativity, spirituality, James Joyce, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, William Blake, Aldous Huxley, Edvard Munch, award winning novels, literature, novels, artist, painting, The Trilogy of Remembrance.

Joseph Campbell, writer, teacher, mythologist.

 

The mythologist, Joseph Campbell often spoke of the sense of getting a helping hand especially when following your bliss. He felt that “helpers” would simply appear at the right moment. He also quoted the philosopher Schopenhauer who spoke of one’s life as a novel—“how the continuities of a lifetime seem, in the end, to have been plotted out by a novelist—all the accidents, apparently uncoordinated as they first occur, concurring finally toward the shaping of an order.”

I like this notion of looking back on life and seeing a pattern. While you were living it, life seemed full of a thousand twists and turns with no discernable order. But on reflection, you can see the plot lines and the important characters and how they helped you. As a novelist, I can say that we love this kind of thinking—life as a novel! But the question remains–who wrote it?

Some argue that genuinely creative people are actually “constructed” differently with fewer “filters” over the psyche. To function in this here and now world—build our bridges, go to our offices and tend to our families—we must filter out distracting images, thoughts and feelings in order to concentrate on our daily tasks.

Perhaps the really creative person is far more susceptible to other stimuli—even to the extent of having visions. If you have a truly creative person in your life, have you ever wondered why she often seems elsewhere at least some of the time? Maybe he or she is listening to or sensing something else.

Synchronicity, creativity, spirituality, James Joyce, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, award winning novels, literature, novels, artist, painting, The Trilogy of Remembrance.

Aldous Huxley, author.

 

This idea of filters is not new. The author, Aldous Huxley, who experimented with hallucinogens, thought that under the influence of such substances, the filters fell away.

Possibly paraphrasing the poet William Blake, he said “There are things known and there are things unknown and in between are the doors of perception.”

Being a prolific writer, Huxley’s creativity is well known. Apparently he had a great many occurrences of synchronicity throughout his life as did Carl Jung. With Huxley, oddly, many of the coincidences involved the number 23.

Synchronicity, creativity, spirituality, James Joyce, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, William Blake, Aldous Huxley, Edvard Munch, award winning novels, literature, novels, artist, painting, The Trilogy of Remembrance.

William Blake, poet, painter and mystic.

 

The eighteenth century poet and artist William Blake experienced visions. One glance at his art or poetry reveals his great creativity, imagination and visionary nature. As such, there’s little doubt that he had many synchronistic experiences during his life.

He referred to some kind of inner sight. “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is—infinite.”

By doors of perception I think both artists mean filters. If the filters are firmly in place, then he or she will not have great access to the unconscious world from which spring creativity and those confounding events called synchronicities.

Have you ever wondered why one artist stands out from the crowd and others tend to lapse into obscurity? How does an artist’s openness to the unconscious world affect his work. In the next two blogs “Light and Spirit” and “Radiant and Sublime Art”, I search around for answers in the art of J.M.W. Turner, British landscape artist of the high seas!

Synchronicity, creativity, spirituality, James Joyce, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, William Blake, Aldous Huxley, Edvard Munch, award winning novels, literature, novels, artist, painting, The Trilogy of Remembrance

Cover of Night Crossing with watercolour by Turner.

Thanks to Diane Clancy for permission to use her artwork, Conundrum 1.

Such questions as what lies beyond or behind this phenomenal world so fascinate me that I wrote The Trilogy of Remembrance comprised of The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde and Night Crossing. I’ve had a lot of fun exploring them through the main character Alexander Wainwright, Britain’s finest landscape artist.

Because of Alexander Wainwright’s artistic nature, I chose this painting by Turner for the cover of Night Crossing, the third in The Trilogy of Remembrance.

Perhaps you’d like to take a look at the carousel below for the novels. But both The Trilogy of Remembrance and my first trilogy, The Osgoode Trilogy, are available at any online bookstore in both print and digital formats.

Mary E. Martin is the author of two trilogies: The Osgoode Trilogy, inspired by her many years of law practice; and The Trilogy of Remembrance, set in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Both Trilogies will elevate the reader from the rush and hectic world of today and spin them into realms of yet unimagined intrigue. Be inspired by the newly released and final installment of The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing. Presently, The Drawing Lesson is a Wattpad Featured novel which you can read in it’s entirety right here Wattpad.com 

 

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Synchronicity and Creativity

  1. This wonderful response is from
    Shaheda Rizvi which first appeared on Facebook on the Joseph Campbell Mythological Rountable.

    Pardon my differences here. I acknowledge your piece is very well written. I am taking issue with your points on synchronicity. “So what is the threshold in terms of time separation required before the “experitence” of synchronicity takes place? I would submit that the time separation has to be pretty small to trigger the experience; no more than a couple of days.”
    Restraining synchronicity to time does not quite define synchronicity to me. For example, A DNA thread leading to a an innocent person’s acquittal from prison is discovered by a research student. The student then works night and day for the man’s release. The discovery of the DNA is about 10 years too late. Is this pure coincidence or synchronistic event? I would say the two events are meaningful – immensely meaningful and thus synchronistic. Had it not been for the student’s efforts the convicted individual would still be behind prison bars or on the other side of life.
    This also brings me to your para: “So what is it that turns a “mere coincidence” into the experience of synchronicity? I think it’s the affect – the feeling – resulting from the linking of the two events that constitutes the “experience” of synchronicity.” In my view the linking of these two events, that is, the innocent prisoner and the research student, is a matter of life and death, the feeling is utter disbelief in many cases, a divine grace, hand of god…and so on.

    • Hi Shaheda. Please feel free to take issue with anything I might post. I love to hear different ideas. I do agree with the idea that time may well be not important as a test of the validity of synchronicity. For such an acausal event to take place, wouldn’t it have to be “generated” from or in a place where time and space do not rule? What do you think? Again, thanks for taking the time to write this. I hope you’ll return and share your thoughts again.

  2. Very evocative essay, Mary. Thank you. Not sure my analysis will be very satisfying for you, but these are my thoughts. smile emoticon

    Let’s take the idea of synchronicity first.

    Two events (or more, but let’s limit it to two for the purposes of this discussion) occur in time. They may occur simultaneously or separated in time.

    The mind then links the two events by attaching some significance of “relatedness” or “connectedness” to them and thereby perceives or recognises that a synchronicity has occurred.

    If these two events had been separated by, say, 10 years, would one still be susceptible to thinking a synchronicity had occurred? Probably not.

    So what is the threshold in terms of time separation required before the “experience” of synchronicity takes place? I would submit that the time separation has to be pretty small to trigger the experience; no more than a couple of days.

    The occurrence of the two events could be “written off” as mere coincidence, in which case, concluding a synchronicity has occurred is short-circuited or dismissed out of hand.

    So what is it that turns a “mere coincidence” into the experience of synchronicity? I think it’s the affect – the feeling – resulting from the linking of the two events that constitutes the “experience” of synchronicity.

    Up to this point, none of this really addresses the possibility that the two events are in fact objectively related by some “common cause/source”.

    However one chooses to attribute the common cause is entirely individual, and I think un-provable in the case of divine intervention. Attribution of the common cause therefore ultimately becomes a matter of _faith_. And faith boils down to choosing to believe an un-provable proposition and live “as if” it were true. And no one can really argue veracity in that case.

    This brings me to creativity.

    In the most rudimentary terms, creativity is what occurs in the mind before the behavior necessary to bring into existence the artwork; irrespective of medium. So the artist renders their thoughts.

    Artistic expression is such a broad playing field that it boggles the mind how one would go about relating it to synchronicity.

    So let me limit my attention to the artist who employs metaphor in their chosen medium.

    I have lovely quote from Giuseppe Mazzotta, Sterling Professor of Humanities for Italian at Yale University, speaking on Dante’s “Paradiso,” the third part of The Devine Comedy. He has a definition of metaphor that I just love.

    Mazzotta said, “A metaphor is a moment where language joins together separate registers of reality.”

    In that case, the artist is employing a denotation that references or connotes something else, and invites the witness to experience transcendence; i.e., going beyond the denotation to the connotation thereby bringing the two into relationship – which, when you think about it, is exactly the same process that occurs when an experience of synchronicity occurs.

    So my conclusion is that creativity (linking two seemingly unrelated “things” together) is inherent in both the production of art, and integral to the experience of synchronicity.

    To anyone who’s gotten this far, I thank you. smile emoticon

    • Hi Michael. Your question is really interesting and I had not thought of it before. How close in time do synchronistic events need to be in order to be considered as such? I’ve really only thought of them as within a few days perhaps. But, if such events are generated in some other “place” where time and space are not the rule, then I suppose they could occur at any point in time. What do you think? Thanks for writing your thoughts for me. I hope you’ll come back again and respond to another blog.

  3. This idea of synchronicity reminds me of the harmony spoke of in Taoism. When the yin and yang are unbalanced there is a tension that requires some type of action. There is an opposite for every thing, and if that thing is too active its opposite needs tending. When things are too strong on one end, we actually are pushed to do the opposite.

    I will give a personal example. I have had a lot of trouble with depression much of my life. I also have had a lot of trouble with anxiety. One might think this is impossible because depression and anxiety are opposites. I am not a psychologist, but as far as I know everyone who suffers depression also suffers anxiety.

    I like the example of the student researching the DNA, but the problem with hypotheticals is that they are hypothetical. When a story is not real we really do not know the character’s motivation. There may have been some disharmony in this student’s life that created a need, and then something about this particular case caught his eye because of that need. The student would therefore be attempting to gain harmony by helping this particular convict.

    • Hi Robert. I’m not surprised to hear you speak of depression and anxiety going hand in hand. Because they are opposites, I would think that they might well coincide and hopefully find some balance I really agree with you about the yin and yang and the necessity for harmony. After all, it’s said that our world is “constructed” by opposing forces. Perhaps, if synchronicity is creativity, the balance might be achieved through the action of synchronicity. Thanks so much for writing and I hope you’ll join in again.

  4. Hi, Mary and Everyone,

    A brief definition of synchronicity appears within this page of this site:

    http://www.carl-jung.net/synchronicity.html

    There is also a book on Jung’s writings on synchronicity:

    https://books.google.com/books/about/Synchronicity.html?id=ZBD3TwL7sAUC

    Goggle search shows other articles by others on synchronicity, one of Jung’s most popular concepts by which he is most known.

    I have often felt synchronicity within flashes of creative inspiration. It is like something from the collective unconscious that visits the writer/artist/musician/actor/dancer or choreographer at that time–in some uncanny fashion, things seem to click in that moment. I often think of it (in its most simplistic sense) as the collective meeting the personal or the unconscious being brought to light of consciousness and therefore like a meeting between the universal/collective mind and the personal mind–brought to the individual’s consciousness and the arts in an expressive way. I suppose how I experience this is what many may call the “muse.” There is another paper I found that I posted on the Joseph Campbell Roundtable page. which I thought contained some good quotes on your topic, Mary:
    http://www.tetras-consult.gr/resources/Resources/Dialogue,%20Conflicts%20%20%20Creativity/Synchronicity,%20creativity%20%26%20change.pdf

    • Thanks very much for the links. I love to devour all material on synchronicity. I’m also interested in any material which might suggest ways of encouraging synchronicity. And then, there is always the question of interpretation. In the past, I have had occasion to wonder if such an event is basically benign or perhaps something darker like a warning. In The Drawing Lesson, my protagonist, the painter Alexander Wainwright does not heed vague “signs” which might have saved him from disastrous consequences!

  5. Synchronicities and the Creative Process

    My fifty year investigation of the nature and uses of synchronicities – DEMYSTIFYING MEANINGFUL COINCIDENCES(SYNCHRONICITIES): The Evolving Self, The Personal Unconscious, and The Creative Process – indicates there is an intimate relationship between synchronicities and the creative process. So what is the creative process? I digress for the moment.
    According to my theory of synchronicities their origin begins with a person experiencing themselves ‘stuck’ in the midst of a seemingly unsolvable problem. All attempts at assimilating an adequate solution fail. If the attitude to the impasse is persisting to struggle with struggling to find (create?) a viable problem resolution – shifting ones goal from assimilation to accommodation) – this spirited attitude generates an individuals’ idiosyncratic creative process.
    The creative process is analogous to engaging in a psychological scavenger hunt like searching for pieces of a complex multidimensional jigsaw puzzle – each piece functioning as a clue – which when pieced together eventually forms a recognizable pattern. When the unconscious pattern becomes conscious it is marked by a synchronicity. The synchronicity is in fact the answer to the sought after resolution of the original problem. Because the synchronicity is coded it must be decoded (interpreted) and is best treated like a waking dream.
    When analyzed (via contextual analysis) it is seen that the synchronicity combines information from various streams of information including thoughts, feelings, intuitions, perceptions and bodily sensations. Utilizing what I refer to as synthetic causality (experiential logic) is a process which which results in a creative synthesis of the relevant material.
    A juicy synchronicity is accompanied by an expansion of consciousness. The experience of an experience is often felt as if it is a message from some transcendent external ‘spiritual’ realm of experience referred to as numinosity. However if my theory is valid then the experience of a synchronicity is much like that of a play-writer attending the premier of his play “Marvelous – I wonder who wrote that?”

    • Thank you Gibbs for writing. I believe you are saying that attempts at creative solutions to problems in fact “creates” the synchronistic event which in turn contains the answer to the problem. Although I have no thought of that linkage, I find it fascinating. Please let me know if I understand you correctly. Again, thanks for writing. I hope you’ll keep an eye out for these posts and let me have your thoughts.

  6. Pingback: Synchronicity and Creativity - Mary E. Martin |...

  7. I have an amazing tale of synchronicity for you which is set out at length in the novel in which I appear–Night Crossing, the third in The Trilogy of Remembrance. In that novel, I travel from Paris to St. Petersburg at the behest of a mysterious and unexplained force.

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