Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Synchronocity Beast

Shhhh. If you're quiet for a moment, you'll hear him snuffling and padding around the room. Most grown-ups can't hear him or see him because they are too busy. Whatever age you are, you don't want to miss him. When he's around, things happen differently. You can finish something before you started it, which is really cool when it comes to doing chores.
-   He is, of course, the Synchronocity Beast. I shall tell you exactly how he got his name and his shape. There was once a very clever professor in Switzerland who woke up noticing what you and I know but most grown-ups forget: coincidence matters, terribly. But it was very hard for him to explain this to respectable adults in a country of bankers and cuckoo-clocks, so he made up a word that sounded scientific.
    The word was "synchronicity", which he defined as "an acausal connecting principle." He was talking about meaningful coincidence. You and I know that coincidence always means something. It's through coincidence that we discover that the world inside us and the world outside us aren't really separate. It's through coincidence that we discover the secret doors to the world-behind-the-world that open in our dreams but often seem to be bricked over in the daytime, as if they were never there. Through coincidence, we discover that there are players involved in our games of life who live on the other side of the curtain between the worlds, but can reach through that curtain to move a piece on the board, or tickle us, or muss our hair.
-   The Swiss professor got serious people - the sort who would never listen to talk of "coincidence" - to sit through his lectures when he substituted the word "synchronicity." He also go them to listen because he told good stories about how synchronicity worked in his own life, about how a solid cabinet cracked with a loud BANG when he was getting into an argument with his own teacher, or how a fox appeared on a path when he was talking to a lady about a dream of a fox.
-   I have never liked the word "synchronicity" as much as that good old word "coincidence". But alas, "coincidence" has been horribly ad-justed and only-fied by all the people who have long been in the habit of saying, "just coincidence" or "only coincidence". It has even been not-ified by people who insist "it's not coincidence" when they really mean that it is, but it's something real and important and meaningful, and they don't understand (because of the bad talk they've learned) that coincidence is all of those things.
-   So I've been using the word "synchronicity" in my own classes. But in one of those classes, there was a sweet lady artist who could never say it quite right. It always came out "synchron-O-city" with a great big O where an I should be. I thought this was rather cute, and couldn't bear to correct her. So, month after month, following her homeplay assignments, she would bring us tales of synchron-O-city, to our smiling delight.
-   One evening there was a newcomer in the class, a serious person and a stickler for accuracy in everything that can be looked up.
-   "I have another synchron-O-city to tell," said the lady artist, eager to share.
-   "You mean synchon-I-city," said the newcomer. "If you are going to use a big word like that, you should get it right."
-   Crestfallen, the artist tried to correct herself, but faltered.
-   I quickly intervened. "Please don't ever change the way you say that word," I implored the artist. "Every time you say it, I sense a soft snuffly animal - the Synchronocity Beast - coming into the room."
-   I paused. In that moment, I believe we all heard and sensed something like a plush baby rhino, snuffling and snorting. The first peoples of the country where I grew up, Down Under, say that to name something is to bring it into the world. The Synchronocity Beast is now alive and ever so busy in this world.
-   I can prove this because a writer called Maureen reported a most delightful dream in which she is one of a team of counselors helping me to run a camp for children where we supervise sleepover parties and dream together. Padding and snuffling all over the magical house in the woods where we are gathered is a creature she describes as a "baby rhino", soft and cuddly. I don't think Maureen ever heard of the Synchron-O-city Beast from me, at least not in an ordinary way. The Synchron-O-city Beast just went ahead and introduced himself. I hope they are feeding him well in Maureen's dream camp. He thrives on giggles and slips of the tongue. He likes to exercise by shredding the curtain of solemn people's expectations, and butting holes into Outland and Fairyland and other lands big enough to be doorways for anyone with a child's sense of wonder.


fishgirl said...

This post made my day! I think I will pronounce it the soft, snuffly rhino way from now on so I can invite the beast into my space, too!

Carolyn Jones said...

I love the feel of this fluffy experience. Thank you!

Sarah Wallin said...

The Synchronocity Beast has brought so much beauty into my life. I began to notice synchronicity at play many years ago when I was searching deeply for answers to why I was experiencing so much suffering in my life. I knew some force was at play but I did not have a name for it back then. Then somewhere along my journey I learned about Carl Jung and his term "synchronicity" and felt like I had struck gold. It was such a wonderful feeling to know that what I had been experiencing was associated with something greater and held deep meaning I could dive into to discover even more. I don't mind the term at all but I do enjoy trying to come up with other words for it. I like the word "kairomancer" that Robert uses. Recently, I have been thinking deeply about synchronicity being fractal, in that it is "self-similar" in ways. I imagine that there are universal, macrocosmic symbols that reveal themselves through synchronicites experienced by the microcosm, or individuals. For example, I have experienced various synchronicities in relation to our heart as a symbol of a "caged bird singing" and I can't help seeing this as a universal image that others have somehow experienced through synchronicity in their lives. I have also experienced many synchronicities in connection with bees and I know for certain that others, likely many, have experienced bee synchronicities. Even the discovery of fractals by Benoit Mandelbrot seems to have been made possible all thanks to synchronicity. If you watch the documentary, "Clouds Are Not Spheres," which is about Benoit and his discovery of fractals you will likely see how synchronicity was at play in his discovery. Learning about fractals and how they were discovered is what has inspired me to think about synchronicity perhaps being fractal in nature. A beautiful quote of Benoit's that is about fractals also makes me think of synchronicity: "Bottomless wonders spring from simple rules, repeated without end."

lado said...

Hi Robert, what is the name of the book you got this page from?

I had screenshot the page but forgot to record the name of the book, searching Google brought me to your page.


Robert Moss said...

A Fuller version is in my book ACTIVE DREAMING