There are events that happen in a person’s life that seem to transcend coincidence.
In fact, using the word ‘coincidence’ might seem too mundane, as if that word somehow cheapens the whole experience.
Such events are difficult to explain to others, they would probably be dismissed as superstition or putting too much meaning on things.
But this doesn’t change the fact that such ‘coincidences’ are deeply meaningful to the person who experienced them.
‘That was strange,’ that person might say. Perhaps it was strange. But is that all there is to it?
Do these coincidences have any meaning at all? Perhaps a message? Or The Universe doing one of its ‘mysterious ways,’ which could lead to some profound insight?
The Important Difference Between Serendipity And Synchronicity:
Carl Jung And Synchronicity.
The psychologist Carl Jung called this ‘synchronicity,’ a word that describes circumstances that seem to be meaningfully connected, yet are not linked by anything significant.
In his book, “Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle,” Jung emphasizes that he is not ruling out chance, that improbabilities could happen without any underlying meaning.
However, a series of coincidences can stack up, which could make one wonder if there is something else going on.
Jung himself found that these coincidences, as a whole, would denote a degree of improbability that borders on the impossible.
Yet Jung, in this book, tries to remove superstition and fantasy that clings to occurrences that are deemed amazing or unpredictable.
He attempted to put these events in a scientific light to provide a more logical discussion of such occurrences.
It was Jung’s view that synchronicity is a coincidence, and that people know they are coincidences coincidences that they consciously know are significantly related, but coincidences nevertheless.
One of those instances where you blurt out, ‘That’s odd.’
Moreover, Jung believes that the realization of these synchronous phenomena is a crucial tool in understanding a person’s psyche.
He maintains that ascribing meaning to coincidences that are acausal, that is, not caused by anything, is necessary for the healthy function of a person’s mind.
Bringing important information to the attention of the unconscious mind is an important part of the development of Jungian psychology.
Coincidences, for Jung, should be treated as something that makes us understand the world and ourselves a little better.
Synchronicity can help us know something about ourselves, an opportunity to help us grow. It helps us give meaning to a chaotic world.
Nothing Is Set.
But what if synchronicity connected us to another person, a synchronicity between two people?
You might ask, ‘Why this person, at this particular place and time?’
You’re indeed bound to meet anybody wherever and whenever you are, but what if the day before someone had mentioned this person to you or you dreamed about this person the previous night?
Should you think that this is some sort of message that you should spend time with this person?
Regardless of how you interpret this, it’s a reminder that events and people can be interconnected, and that things can exist for a reason.
Perhaps it could open your eyes to notice that things happening around you can affect you in surprising ways.
It’s a powerful reminder that you’re a part of this world and that things are colliding and affecting each other, so nothing is truly set. The ball is still in play.
Serendipity And The Happy Accident.
As with synchronicity, serendipity has the element of coincidence in it. And like synchronicity, serendipity also transcends coincidence
Serendipity is defined as a lucky, unplanned accident. It’s a word coined by Horace Walpole and has a very interesting etymology.
Its origin can be traced back to a Persian tale entitled “The Three Princes of Serendip,” and tells the story of King Jafer and his three sons who made many accidental discoveries.
Horace Walpole coined the word to refer to the skill of mixing sagacity and discovery.
So, in its original meaning, serendipity is a skill.
It’s because serendipity isn’t something that happens to you. It happens because of you.
What seems like random encounters and conversations can cause connections in your brain to come up with insights that can lead to ideas and discoveries.
With serendipity, you’re not consciously searching for anything, you’re just there, in that place, and yet finding something amazing or, at least, interesting.
Sometimes, this can happen in an unlikely place among people you hardly know.
Serendipity Doesn’t Just Fall On Anyone’s Lap.
This is what makes serendipity, when it happens to you it feels like a happy accident indeed.
Pursue something, and if you don’t get it, you might get something even more interesting.
How’s that for a second prize?
That’s serendipity for you, a game where the second prize is more valuable than the first prize.
But make no mistake, serendipity isn’t just an accident, it doesn’t just fall on anyone’s lap. It’s a happy accident, but it’s more than that.
Serendipity happens mostly because of social interactions. It happens because you’re making an effort. Put differently, you could also say that the harder you work, the luckier you can get.
Serendipity is famous for playing a prominent role in the discoveries of many drugs and scientific breakthroughs.
It was instrumental in the discovery of penicillin and many medical treatments, like vaccinations, insulin for diabetes, quinine, and Viagra. Velcro, microwave oven, x rays, pulsars, and many others are invented or discovered through serendipity.
Main Difference Between Synchronicity And Serendipity.
The first is a series of coincidences, the other is a happy accident.
Many beliefs and interpretations have sprung up around these occurrences, synchronicity, in fact, has many interpretations because it falls under parapsychology, which refers to a study of purportedly psychic phenomena that includes, besides synchronicity, telekinesis, telepathy, and other paranormal claims.
On the other hand, serendipity is regarded as a vital ingredient in inventions and scientific discoveries and happens regularly throughout history.
In modern times, serendipity is a design principle for social media that prevents filter bubbles and echo chambers in online activities.
Synchronicity is popular and has undeniable mass appeal. It’s easy to see why, it helps people give meaning and order to a chaotic and random Universe and a sense of control.
Whether you belong to the camp that believes synchronicity came from The Universe, spirit, or God as a way of sending you a message, or the other camp that views synchronicity as a result of confirmation bias, you can still take advantage of synchronicity, serendipity, or any coincidences that happen to go your way.
Ultimately, you’re responsible for who gets to write your life’s next chapter. And if you get help from serendipity and synchronicity, then that just adds to what you know all along, Life is like a box of chocolates.
What You Should Remember?
Synchronicity is a series of events perceived to be meaningful coincidences.
Serendipity, on the other hand, is a happy accident.
Many people ascribe supernatural meanings to these two, but there’s also the naturalist view that synchronicity and serendipity are nothing more prosaic than a product of our biases.
Whatever way you interpret them, these two concepts certainly make the world more interesting.
They provide people incentives to keep going, they make people see the world differently. Fate may not be as unbending as previously thought.