Synchronicity

My first exposure to Carl Jung was through the New Wave group The Police and their album Synchronicity. The music piqued my interest, even thought the songs were fashionably obscure. In the stacks of my university library I found a well-thumbed copy of Jung’s Synchronicity. I took the book back to my apartment, ditched my classes, and read for the next couple of days, until a letter arrived in the mail (this being a time before e-mail) instructing me to return the book early because it had been requested by a faculty member. I attended a small, liberal arts university for my undergraduate. The student population maybe reached four thousand, and when you add in faculty and support staff the university has a population of around five thousand. It’s a small school, but not miniscule. The next morning I put Jung into my backpack and walked to the university planning on handing the book over to circulation before heading off to my first class of the day – History of Science if memory serves. I had read only half of the book and to be honest understood almost none of it, so I was pining over it as I walked. It felt like an injustice to wrestle a book from a freshman’s grip, but rules were rules and up the four escalators I went to the library. Students enter the library on the right, and exit on the left. The circulation desk was on the left, as you exited. I walked through a small student lounge area to the circulation desk, swiveled my backpack around, unzipped it, and pulled out of its maw the little white, weirdly-titled in orange book Jung wrote. As I was handing the book to the librarian I mentioned that it was a “recalled” book sought by a faculty member. The librarian’s face blanched. It was then that I saw that there was a woman standing beside me at the desk. She seemed to have materialized out of thin library air. She glanced my way and a smile spread across her face. Of the five thousands souls inhabiting my small university, she was the faculty member who had asked for the book. She said: “How’s that for synchronicity.” Causally it was possible. Still, I agreed knowing only that it was a meaningful coincidence. I handed the book over and riding the four escalators down to have a coffee I thought: this Jung fellow might be on to something.

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