In the analytical psychology developed in particular by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung , synchronicity is the simultaneous occurrence of at least two events which do not present a causal link , but whose association takes on a meaning for the person who perceives them. . The meaning of this notion is articulated with other notions of Jungian psychology, such as those of archetype and collective unconscious .
Carl Jung's theory of synchronicity is considered pseudo-scientific today, as it lacks experimental evidence. Critics provide explanations based on general knowledge of probability theory and human psychology.
According to the Jungian conception, the notion of synchronicity is to be placed in the context of a collective unconscious made up of archetypes. Jung was interested in the archetypal "themes" or patterns that were active in his patients. He observed that events are organized in people's lives around a theme - generating strong affects, conflicts, suffering of all kinds - so that the person feels "caught" in it. With this attentive look at the archetypal dimension of all life, Jung says he has observed the occurrence of certain "symmetries or correspondences" between what an individual experiences and experiences with concrete reality events. More precisely, synchronicities therefore refer for Jung and those who have extended his thought to coincidences which strike the individual as deeply meaningful.
What is common between the personal experience and the external event - and seemingly unrelated - in this conception refers to the "theme" or archetypal motif which manifests itself in this way. Jung considers that “it is perfectly possible for the unconscious or an archetype to take complete possession of a man and determine his fate down to the smallest detail. At the same time, parallel non-psychic phenomena can take place and these also represent the archetype. It has been proven that the archetype becomes reality not only psychically in the individual, but objectively outside of it ”.
On the level of experience, the encounter with a synchronistic event has such a degree of significance for the person, but above all appears in a way so disturbing for common sense (despite the meaning it takes, or because of the meaning that it takes, one might as well say), that the person is transformed by it. The paradigmatic example Jung uses to approach the concept is that of a highly educated patient, with such a developed "Cartesian rationalism", having a worldview that was so "geometric" that her doctor, Jung, had come to understand it. consider it impossible to make it progress towards a “slightly more human understanding” of the world.
It is the intervention of a simple beetle, just after the patient had evoked a dream in which a beetle intervened which “perforated his rationalism and broke the ice of his intellectual resistance”. (See below for the archetypal implications.)
According to the theoretical explanation given by Jung, synchronicities fulfill such a role. They challenge the notion of causality as it is usually understood and the idea of the world and the subject's place in it (in the modern West at least).