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Synchronicity and Probability

February 21, 2012

Synchronicity and Probability

            Probability is the biggest argument against synchronicity in the scientific world.  This argument states that every synchronistic event that we experience can be explained by pure chance.  So you run into someone you haven’t seen in years exactly when you were looking for her without any idea of how you would find her.  When you step back and look at the big picture of life, how many people do you think there are looking for someone that they’ll never find?  How many are looking for people and will find them by conventional means in a conventional way?  People are looking for and finding each other all over the world at all times of the day every day.  Eventually, with the sheer abundance of interactions, you have to consider that someone will have a meeting that just seems highly improbable.

Consider another example.  I couldn’t even begin to approximate how many people are shooting basketballs through hoops right now.  One of them is going to hit a shot that seems absolutely ludicrous and impossible.  I don’t know what the improbability of some of these fantastic shots would be, but I imagine it would be off the charts!  But yet, people are still sinking these impossible goals (I’ve seen someone hit a shot from over a house into a hoop in the backyard.).

Combs and Holland state their belief that “arguments based on probability are not sound”.  Their reasoning for this is that daily events are much too complicated to determine a mathematical solution for their occurrence.  Especially in the case of highly synchronistic events, where there are so many improbable things coming together at once, is it difficult to determine with any accuracy the mathematical likelihood of such things.  The frequency approach is what is used most often to explain events occurring as simply an expression of probability.  This says that how likely something is to be done is based on how many times it has already been done.  But once again, when things occur synchronistically but have never happened before, computing probability becomes impossible.

I do not agree with Combs and Holland’s argument.  Although I believe that it is difficult and sometimes impossible given our current technology to calculate probability, that doesn’t mean that some degree of probability doesn’t actually exist.  I believe that there are enough people doing enough things that eventually something unbelievable is going to happen.  Even if something is extremely unlikely to happen, it still has a degree of probability.  It is as simple as looking at the Bell Curve to know that while most experiences in our lives will fall into the ordinary and predictable realm, some will be absolutely unbelievable and unexplainable.  But, I also do not agree that probability alone can explain synchronicity.

The hallmark of synchronicity is meaning.  Meaning takes a simple coincidence and makes it life changing.  Meaning is beyond the reaches of mathematics or probability.  No equation can hold how significant an event is for a person.  It really doesn’t matter if a synchronicity is actually a sign of a divinely ordered universe brought to us by a benevolent God wanting us to know we are cared for and loved – we feel like it is and that is all that mattersWe give the event its special flavor by adding meaning to it and so it becomes significant.  Whether the purpose is from the Universe or from ourselves, it still IS.  I have the same argument about love.  People ask, “Does love really exist or is it just a human creation?”  Is there a difference?  I say, we have the a feeling we call love and so it exists.

Probability provides opportunity.  We create synchronicity.  We create order out of chaos.  All things are bound to happen, but we will decide what to do when it does.  Some scientists tell us that the Universe is simultaneously random and ordered.  From where comes its randomness and how does it derive its order?  Being able to create meaning, we are able to see the magic of orderliness in the chaos of events.  It is as if, as humans, we have been granted to see through the curtain of the Universal play to its backstage organization.  Whether we through meaning are creators of the order or are just simply blessed to see it, the order is there, it does exist.  Probability and meaning are the two sides of the synchronicity coin, showing both unity and disharmony all at once.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kristy permalink
    October 4, 2016 16:17

    Thank you for saying so eloquently what I was thinking.

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