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Colman, W. (2011). Synchronicity and the Meaning-Making Psyche. J. Anal. Psychol., 56(4):471-491.

(2011). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 56(4):471-491

Synchronicity and the Meaning-Making Psyche

Warren Colman

This paper contrasts Jung's account of synchronicity as evidence of an objective principle of meaning in Nature with a view that emphasizes human meaning-making. All synchronicities generate indicative signs but only where this becomes a ‘living symbol’ of a transcendent intentionality at work in a living universe does synchronicity generate the kind of symbolic meaning that led Jung to posit the existence of a Universal Mind. This is regarded as a form of personal, experiential knowledge belonging to the ‘imaginal world of meaning’ characteristic of the ‘primordial mind’, as opposed to the ‘rational world of knowledge’ in which Jung attempted to present his experiences as if they were empirically and publicly verifiable. Whereas rational knowledge depends on a form of meaning in which causal chains and logical links are paramount, imaginal meaning is generated by forms of congruent correspondence—a feature that synchronicity shares with metaphor and symbol—and the creation of narratives by means of retroactive organization of its constituent elements.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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