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Verene, D.P. (2002). Coincidence, historical repetition, and self-knowledge: Jung, Vico, and Joyce. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(3):459-478.

(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(3):459-478

Coincidence, historical repetition, and self-knowledge: Jung, Vico, and Joyce

Donald Phillip Verene

Jung develops synchronicity as an acausal principle of connection by recounting various examples of meaningful coincidence from experience and by analysing various systems of divination, notably the I Ching. Philosophical theory of causality has given no significant attention to synchronicity; the events of synchronicity are regarded as chance. The Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) developed a doctrine of historical experience and of self-knowledge that grounds the phenomenon of synchronicity in a metaphysics. James Joyce employed Vico's conception of language and historical cycles as the basis of Joyce's final literary work, Finnegans Wake. Vico's metaphysical sense of synchronicity and Joyce's literary formulation offer a grounding of this principle in non-divinatory sources in modern Western thought, something which Jung's discussion does not provide. These philosophical and literary perspectives complement Jung's to offer an expanded context in which to recognize synchronicity and to make sense of it.

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