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Yoga Korunta

Life & Politics

Location: United States

One learns, as nothing endures but change.

05 June 2007

Tuesday's Word(s):

Blog friends, this week's Words are brought to us by the Curmudgeonly Crab!

Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely. The word derives from an old Persian fairy tale and was coined by Horace Walpole on 28 January 1754 in a letter he wrote to his friend Horace Mann (not the same man as the famed American educator) an Englishman then living in Florence. The letter read,

"I once read a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of: for instance, one of them discovered that a mule blind of the right eye had travelled the same road lately, because the grass was eaten only on the left side, where it was worse than on the right—now do you understand serendipity? One of the most remarkable instances of this accidental sagacity (for you must observe that no discovery of a thing you are looking for, comes under this description) was of my Lord Shaftsbury, who happening to dine at Lord Chancellor Clarendon's, found out the marriage of the Duke of York and Mrs. Hyde, by the respect with which her mother treated her at table.

For more information about the story that inspired Horace Walpole to coin the word serendipity, see The Three Princes of Serendip.

Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events which occur in a meaningful manner, but which are causally inexplicable to the person or persons experiencing them. The events would also have to suggest some underlying pattern in order to satisfy the definition of synchronicity as originally developed by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.

Carl Jung coined the word to describe what he called "temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events." Jung variously described synchronicity as an "'acausal connecting principle'" (i.e. a pattern of connection that cannot be explained by direct causality), "meaningful coincidence" and "acausal parallelism". Jung introduced the concept in his 1952 paper "Synchronicity — An Acausal Connecting Principle", though he had been considering the concept for almost thirty years.

It differs from mere coincidence in that synchronicity implies not just a happenstance, but an underlying pattern or dynamic expressed through meaningful relationships or events.
It was a principle Jung felt encompassed his concepts of archetypes and the collective unconscious, in that it was descriptive of a governing dynamic that underlay the whole of human experience and history — social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual.
Jung believed that many experiences perceived as coincidence were due not merely to chance, but instead, suggested the manifestation of parallel events or circumstances reflecting this governing dynamic.

One of Jung's favourite quotes on Synchronicity was from Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, in which the White Queen says to Alice: "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards".

Events that happen which appear at first to be coincidence but are later found to be causally related are termed incoincident.

As you've read, Crabbi is way smarter that me!


Blogger barbie2be said...

i love the word serendipity! :) it's one of my favorite words. i use it all the time, just like kismet.

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

Serendipity is a new one for me, as will be kismet. Thanks for reading!

BTW, your blog isn't allowing me to leave comments. :(

Blogger Mary said...

I love synchronicity.
And serendipity is the best place in NYC to get icecream.

Blogger Crabbi said...

Thank you for the props, David! These are my two favorite words...

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

Mary, would synchronicity be used for the occasion of your son's return? I love ice cream and must get to NYC!

It's always a pleasure to help a lady, Crabbi! And you're welcome!

Thanks for reading, ladies!


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