Synchronicity is considered to be one of the most important ideas emerging out of the twentieth century. Jung coined the term synchronicity to describe a category of experience that defied and had an altogether different logic than the widely accepted and virtually unquestioned logic of linear sequential causality (in which a cause precedes an effect in linear time), which was generally thought to be the only kind of causality operating in the universe at the time. Bringing forth the notion of synchronicity was a bold and heretical act by Jung that was a radical departure from and challenged one of the most inviolable, sacrosanct, and seemingly unassailable foundations of the modern scientific materialistic worldview. In his idea of synchronicity Jung was proposing a completely different kind of organizing principle at play in the universe that was quite alien to the widely accepted western worldview of how the universe worked.
In order to break free from and distinguish synchronicity from the limiting logic of linear causality, Jung chose the word “acausal” (calling synchronicities an “acausal connecting principle”) in order to characterize how synchronicities didn’t have to do with causality as it had been generally understood. There was an unforeseen problem, however, that had to do with Jung’s choice of the word “acausal”—and what he meant by this—that has caused a rift and created conflict among a number of theorists, researchers, scientists and psychologists in their accepting Jung’s idea of synchronicity. Some people have even dismissed Jung’s work on synchronicity, thinking his conception of synchronicity is incoherent or flawed.
To cite one example, J. B. Rhine, who is widely considered to be the father of parapsychology, and was one of Jung’s inspirations for his work on synchronicity, couldn’t accept Jung’s idea of synchronicity being “acausal,” and thereby rejected Jung’s understanding of synchronicity. Jung thereby lost an important potential ally in helping him bring forth his concept of synchronicity to the world.
The dictionary definition of the word acausal is “not involving causation or arising from a cause; not causal. Synonym: noncausal.” For example, in describing synchronicities, Jung writes that they are “a modality without a cause, an ‘acausal orderedness.’” Being called an acausal connecting principle therefore implies that there is no causality operating in a synchronicity. Jung was of the opinion that it is our strongly “ingrained belief in the sovereign power of causality” that makes it seem unthinkable that “causeless events” could ever happen. But if events without a cause actually do exist, Jung regarded them as “creative acts” that are “not derivable from any known antecedents.” The type of causation we are dealing with in synchronicities were totally unfamiliar and unknown to the prevailing western scientific mindset of his day. In his theory of synchronicity, Jung was trying to articulate a radically new vision of reality—a new worldview—that was completely out of the box and off the radar of the existing scientific materialistic paradigm.
In his conception of synchronicities as being acausal, it is entirely conceivable that Jung was way ahead of his time and was tapping into, perceiving and pointing at the underlying unified quantum field which is openly hidden (from our spatio-temporally conditioned, dualistic human perception) within the very midst of our physical world. In this unified nonlocal field there is no separation whatsoever, as there are no independent “things” that interact with and hence, have causal effects upon each other. These separate parts are merely mental constructs, just ideas in our mind, human overlays or projections of our own inner state of fragmentation onto an ultimately indivisible field of reality that we then mistakenly take to be made up of separate things. In an undivided realm such as this—that is simultaneously immanent and transcendent—there can be no causality because causality implies separate entities that influence and have effects upon each other.
To illustrate this same point, quantum theorist David Bohm uses the following example: Imagine a fish swimming in a fish tank, with two video cameras at right angles to each other filming the fish’s movements, which are then transmitted to and shown on two different monitors in another room in a way that makes us think we are looking at two different fish. The fish’s movements on these two screens clearly seem related to each other, but we can’t say that the fish’s movement on one of the screens “caused” or influenced in any way the corresponding movement on the other screen. This is because the different images on the two screens are not pictures of independently existing entities that are interacting, but are in reality two images (from different perspectives) of one and the same entity…