Sunday, 25 July 2010

Synchronicity-type-stuff implies a personal deity

Jung should not be given much credit for inventing the word Synchronicity to describe meaningful coincidences, since his writings on the subject are so vague and self-contradictory. But there it is.

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Most well-adjusted people have some kind of 'instinct' to guide them throughout life - a sense of what to do, what matters, and whether one is on-track - and I regard Synchronicity as a part of this.

When one is in a good frame of mind, and doing the right kind of things in the right kind of environment - for example, exploring a city on holiday - there may arise a subjective sense of things unfolding just right, of the right decisions being made, of coherent things happening. As a part of this, all kinds of coincidences, links between past and present, tend to arise.

If you have this sense of things, then its implications are actually extremely far reaching - much more far reaching than Jung ever seems to have recognized, and more far reaching than his modern New Age descendents recognize.

For example, James Redfield's popular 'Celestine Prophecy' series of books are mostly built on amplifying the Synchronicity idea and making it the centre of life - so that people are supposed to be guided through life by Synchronicity and to get into a frame of mind that encourages Synchronicity.

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But any idea of the nature of life which sees it as having a path, or way - a proper goal and behaviour for that person, a way which can be walked or from which a person can stray onto the wrong path (wrong for them, that is) - is in the same general category as Synchronicity. 

My point is that although such ideas are a part of New Age alternative spirituality, of spiritual seeking, of - in other words - a philosophy which sees itself in contrast to and separate from 'institutional religion', separate from 'dogma' and so on - Synchronicity actually carries the implication that the universe is (in some sense) organized around the well-being of each individual human.

If coincidences can be regarded as meaningful for a person, and clearly many people do think this way, and if these phenomena point to a proper path through life - a proper set of decisions leading to a 'way'; then that person, and all other people, are all at the centre of the universe - the world must be organized-around them.

For instance, someone like Heidegger will talk about walking a way, being en route to an unknown goal, as if it was in contrast to Christianity - he talked about waiting for God or a new God or hoping for a God. As if he did not acknowledge the reality of God at the moment, but hoped to do so at some point - or that at some point society would enable this. But the fact is that by saying he was on a path, finding a proper way through life, Heidegger had already assumed the reality of a personal God.

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In other words, for there to be a path, or even to look for a path (assuming such might exist), or even to deny knowledge of the right path but to believe that oneself (or mankind) has strayed from the right path - there must be a God, and that God must potentially be in a personal relationship with each individual.

So that, although New Age spirituality believes that it has rejected a personal God, in fact it has not. A personal God is logically entailed by even the most explicitly non-religious spirituality of this type.

Jung never saw this point - or at least never acknowledged it clearly, and neither do his modern descendents - but it seems to hold, nonetheless.

A meaningful path implies a personal God.