Synchronicity: The Curious Science of Fate

· July 2, 2017

“The world is a small place,” or “It’s a small world,” are expressions you have surely used or heard before. They are said when a coincidence occurs. A fortuitous encounter with someone you know in a big city can be an example of fate. But, what if we knew that in reality it had to do with a science called synchronicity?

Although it sounds unbelievable, researchers have studied and tried to identify the relations that exist between two phenomena that appear to be unrelated. We are talking of the likes of Carl Jung, for example, who coined the term “synchronicity.”

“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.”
– Ian Fleming

What Is Synchronicity?

Sometimes we think the universe is sending us a sign when astonishing coincidences occur. However, according to Jung, it is simply synchronicity, which can be defined as the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.

Namely, this unique science can be summed up as a coincidence in time of a series of events (two or more), that despite being interconnected, do not cause one or the other. However, there does exist a relationship between the two.


To try and make it easier, imagine you have a good friend, and one day, while joking around with your dad you tell him about your friend, their name, who their family is, etc. Pulling the thread, you father discovers that you and your friend are distantly related. Your grandfather and your friend’s grandmother were second cousins.

As we can see from this example, the fact that you and your friend are distant relatives has nothing to do with your friendship and how it came about. Therefore, this is a meaningful coincidence with no causal relationship.

More Interesting Details about Synchronicity

Many authors have studied and spoken on this subject without even knowing about this peculiar science. For example, according to Friedrich Schiller, there is no such thing as chance, and coincidence comes from the deepest source of destiny. However, surrealist, Andre Breton, considers the existence of chance to be objective when your desires converge with what the world has to offer.

But, according to Jung, when we talk about synchronicity, we are referring to the joining of internal and external occurrences. So that the individual who experiences these occurrences finds meaning in the unification of both.

Despite that, we resort to metaphysics to justify these occurrences, since it could be chance or luck, even magic. In reality it is simply a case of unconscious attraction. An unconscious attraction that provokes them into happening, or at least that is Jung’s opinion. This takes us to pattern recognition.

The Recognition of Patterns

According to Jung, phases after the death of a loved one or job changes can create greater energy for coincidences. This is all due to the fact that these situations cause changes within us that impel us to seek recognizable patterns that give meaning to our search. Therefore, that feeling of recognition that we all seem to have is the basis for synchronicity.

According to studies, when our brain has elevated levels of dopamine, such as in stressful or highly emotional situations, we resort to magical thinking. However, it’s this magic, or chance, that in reality is synchronicity.

Nevertheless, there is no need to demonize the need to look for patterns. It’s a natural need in the human mind since the caveman days. In addition, this type of thinking is linked to anhedonia, whose existence could cause the inability to experience pleasure. Which is, in reality an ability that has helped us to survive millions of years. 

“I don’t believe in coincidences nor in need. My will is my destiny.”
-John Milton

Therefore, don’t think that chance or fate is crazy. We are susceptible to looking for patterns, and in many instances, our brain manages the information unconsciously. However, it is a valuable mechanism that helps us make decisions. Perhaps there is no such thing as the magic of fate, but it can be beautiful and useful to think there is.