I am often troubled when I hear people use the word “serendipity” when I think they mean “synchronicity.” But I never really investigated the difference between the two words.
In my unresearched opinion, I always imagined synchronicity as attached to “meaningful” or extraordinary. Whereas serendipity is more playful, like a cup of frozen hot chocolate.
Lucky. Fortuitous. Unexpected. Right place at the right time sorta thing. Whereas synchronicity … when it happens … almost feels as if its arrival was fated. Expected, even if not by the participants. Anticipated, in some way, even if unseen to all but the gods until the very moment the synchronicity occurs.
Synchronicity, to me, carries in its meaning a certain divinity, a certain magic.
So much so that I remember distinctly when and where I was when I first heard the word and its layperson’s explanation. I was at the lake house of a friend in celebration of her engagement. While dipping my feet in the lake, I chatted with a friend of the bride-to-be whom I’d never met before. She shared with me the details of a paper she was working on (perhaps her Master’s thesis or her dissertation), all on the topic of this experience called “synchronicity.”
I admitted to her that I’d never heard the word before.
“Oh,” she smiled. “But you’ve certainly had this experience.” She went on to describe what I had always thought of (at least since reading The Celestine Prophecy in 9th grade) as “meaningful coincidence.”
However, “meaningful coincidence” always sounded lame. Such a deeply moving or spiritual encounter needed a better descriptor.
“Synchronicity,” a word steeped in the concept of time (my favorite philosophical topic of conversation both then and now), was perfect for me. I was so thankful for having met this woman at the lake. Our meeting was, in fact, meaningful. Synchronicitous (synchronistic?), we joked at the time.
Perhaps this is why I loved so much Ginz’s response to my “haiku challenge” yesterday.
Walking alone is
often the first step towards
This, indeed, is what I was going for when I was trying to describe the outcome of a walk alone I took yesterday. Too me, synchronicity, isn’t just a word, but a timely, yet timeless explanation for magic, for meaning, for connection.
When “alone” unexpectedly transforms into “no longer alone.” And loneliness is replaced by oneness.
6 thoughts on “Synchronistically delicious”
Great post! I’d love to dig up that thesis/dissertation. I’m sure it’s fascinating…
Thanks, too, for reposting that haiku. It’s really lovely.
You’ve bought such a beautiful definition to such a unique word – ummm ‘word’ seems a little understated. Glad you liked it for the ending of your haiku – it’s quite a powerful realisation/connection isn’t it? 🙂
Synchronicity as a possibly ‘real; phenomenon as opposed to mere wish fulfillment was actually studied for a time by Jung and the indomitable hard scientist Wolfgang Pauli. (Jung had witnessed some difficult-to-explain strange coincidences.
I remain sadly unconvinced, at least of the contention that forces as-yet unknown are at play. We’re wired to note the unusual and ignore the routine.
Of course, ever the rebel, I’m working as we speak to reverse that; to endeach day in abject wonder “Wow!! Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happened today! What are the chances of *that*??” (Add…-In Israel of all places…)
Oh how funny–I just left a comment on another entry of yours and used the word “serendipity”–correctly! 😉 — and then scrolled down on my screen to see this entry!