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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Before moving on to more theoretical matters re: synchronicity, I thought it might be appropriate to relate a couple of instances of my own quizzicial encounters with same.

One of them I mentioned on a 6-2-2003 post on the Forum that Deserves Not Mention:

...there aren't any appreciators of Jungian synchronicity here to my knowledge, but the way I found the above link is synchronicitous. Looking for a definition of "New Age," I typed in "definition of New Age," and the above link was about the second or third one I explored. As it happened, it's by Massimo Introvigne, whom I didn't know from Adam-12 before last week or so, when I read his article at the online SLAYAGE site. Since said article had a comics-connection, I posted a link to it here under "Vampires, superheroes and the Frankfurt School." And now a week later, I'm linking to something else Introvigne wrote on a wholly-different subject.

I just hope the Synchronicity Switchboard is just throwing this development my way to help convince you poor rationalist doubters, and not trying to tell me to quit my job and become a publicist for Massimo Introvigne. I have enough trouble trying to hype my own stuff.

Like most of my synchronous experiences, this was something less than a vision on the Road to Damascus (i.e., I probably never read anything else by Introvigne).  But I thought then, and still think, that it's a little odd to stumble across two disparate works by the same (not especially famous) author within the course of a week or so.  Others' mileage will vary on whether this example deserves to be filed under "more than coincidence."

Incidentally, eight years later the link to Introvigne's short historical writeup on the early hisory of the Frankfurt School is still good, and the essay's still recommended:


An even less vision-worthy incident occured over the Xmas holidays.  My 13-year-old nephew has become a fan of certain kinds of "so bad it's good" cinema, as well as being a big STAR WARS fan.  Thus I took it upon myself to introduce him to the questionable joys of the 1980 FLASH GORDON, which I'd planned to watch anyway in order to review it here

The movie was a big success with my nephew, though others in the household weren't nearly as enthusiastic.  However, later that day my brother chose to bring up a favorite episode of SEINFELD on Netflix Streaming: "The Bubble Boy," which first aired on 10-7-92.  The plot revolves around Jerry and his posse getting roped into visiting a "bubble boy," with the black-comic outcome that George gets into an argument with the kid and nearly causes his death.  In a B-story, Jerry and Elaine get lost on the way and end up in a diner, where a waitress importunes Jerry to put his celebrity photo on the wall.  And there on the diner-wall with various other celebrities (whom I did not note down) is none other than...

...Sam J. Jones, sporting his classically-bad FLASH GORDON haircut.

"What is Sam Jones to me, or me to Sam Jones?"  Probably the real question should be who in the SEINFELD crew thought of sticking a photo of the not-terribly-successful actor on the diner-wall.  Could it have been Seinfeld himself, known for peppering the show's sets with Superman trinkets?  Or maybe it was just the luck of the draw; someone selecting stock photos at random, but only of actors who had no great reputation, to show that Jerry wasn't going to be joining any immortals on the wall.

I'm not sure if two Sam Joneses in one day trumps two Massimo Introvignes in the space of seven days.  I wouldn't say that I was "guided" to those particular experiences in the rather egotistical "the universe revolves around me" manner of certain types of Christians.  But I do think that whenever you encounter some particularly improbable set of apparent coincidences, it's worthwhile to do a little thinking about the nature of what we label "coincidence."


AT-ST Pilot said...

Fascinating essays. Don't know if this counts, but recently, I thought of someone that I had not encountered in a very long time. Don't know why. Not a friend, simply an acquaintance. Days later, I saw the person. It was strange and surprising.

Sidenote: Happy New Year. I enjoy reading the ARCHIVE, and look forward to this year's essays.

Also: It would be great to read your take on all of the STAR WARS movies (Original Trilogy and Prequels) on the "nummtheory" blog.

Gene Phillips said...

Yeah, I can think of other weird coincidences-- calling a person at the same time he called me, that sort of thing. The tough thing is trying to explain, at least to your own satisfaction, why they only happen once in a blue moon.

Happy New Year to you as well, and thanks for the input. Star Wars is certainly a possibility, if only because I think there are some interesting things in the prequels that have gone overlooked.