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Synchronicity and Wheels

Monday, February 13, I was driving to Wadsworth, listening to a CD, thinking about my livelihood as an artist–such as it is–and a tune started up from my single most favored rock record of all time, The Gilded Palace of Sin, by The Flying Burrito Brothers.

The song was Wheels.

We’ve all got wheels to take ourselves away
We’ve got the telephones to say what we can’t say
We all got higher and higher every day
Come on wheels take this boy away
We’re not afraid to ride
We’re not afraid to die come on wheels take me home today
So come on wheels take this boy away

And when I feel my time is almost up
And destiny is in my right hand
I’ll turn to him who made my faith so strong
Come on wheels make this boy a man
We’re not afraid to ride
We’re not afraid to die come on wheels take me home today
So come on wheels take this boy away
Come on wheels take this boy away

The record was released February 11, 1969. I would hear it for the first time at the Amazing Dynamo Man’s house, draped over his bed, in September 1970. He, Jamie Cohen, and I, had just met, just begun tenth grade as first year sophomores at Hawken School in Cleveland. We fell into each other like rain drops into the ocean.

Me, Hoon, atop the Amazing Dynamo Man

Me, Hoon, atop the Amazing Dynamo Man, 1972

Forty eight years later, I’m reflecting on art matters having to do with commerce, Wheels comes on, I glance out my car’s driver-side window, and see a flatbed truck passing me on I71.

It’s badged with this logo:


I chuckle, then laugh heartily. The moment was not just a gilded moment of synchronicity, it was a text book synchronicity!


“We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel; But it is on the space where there is nothing that the utility of the wheel depends. We turn clay to make a vessel; But it is on the space where there is nothing that the utility of the vessel depends. We pierce doors and windows to make a house; And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the utility of the house depends. Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the utility of what is not.” ? C.G. Jung, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle

Kabir's Sobriety #2(16x16base)

Kabir’s Sobriety 2016 Stephen Calhoun

A synchronicity worthy of the term is required to be deeply disturbing, or deeply disruptive, or deeply derailing. What I have to offer are my happy delusions! I’ve been revisiting Kabir. #326 of his Bijak:

No customers for the word:
the price is high.
Without paying you can’t get it,
so move on by.

In January I had a very simple dream–simple as far as its arc.

(1) I’m on the side porch of a gothic church. It’s a fall day, and the church’s porch is the scene of a rummage sale. I’m picking little costume jewelry pieces up and putting each one back down. I notice some nice oak chairs and old brass floor lamps. I say to the lady, “You have some nice stuff.” She answers back, “I see you’re not in a buying mood, but the prices are right.”

(2) Walking down the steps, with the front of the church rising to my right, I cross a lawn and walk toward an old Chevy station wagon. I walk to the driver’s side and their is a man with a hat, and his wife is to his right, and his son and daughter are in the back seat. The rear has suitcases. I think to myself, ‘It’s an all American family.’ The man asks if I will help him get unstuck. I put my shoulder to the frame of his window to push, and, without much effort I push and feel his car rise a bit and become unstuck.

(3) The car gathers speed and then veers slightly across the front lawn of the church. It crashes into the wall of the sanctuary. I run toward it, but am halted when I see a bloodied brown panther or mountain lion, seemingly crushed between the grill and limestone wall, pull itself out of its predicament and jump over the hood. It stands on the grass and shakes its head once vertically, runs off.



My favorite track from my favorite record.

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Random Walk, Or Random Dance?

Stephen Calhoun, fine artist

Synchronicity (Analytical Psychology)

International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

Ed. Alain de Mijolla. Vol. 3. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. p1719-1720.COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale

Carl Jung offered synchronicity as an acausal “principle of explanation” to account for “certain remarkable manifestations of the unconscious.” He saw the principle of synchronicity as an addition to the principle of psychic causality, which Freud had emphasized so strongly.

Jung “found that there are psychic parallelisms which simply cannot be related to each other causally,” such as “the simultaneous occurrence of identical thoughts, symbolism or psychic states” in analyst and analysand. In cultural history, one can also observe uncanny parallels, such as the coincidence of Chinese and European periods of style pointed out by Jung’s friend Richard Wilhelm, the German translator of the Confucian classic I Ching (Book of changes; also romanized as Yijing). This ancient book of wisdom has been used throughout its history as an oracle. Jung tested Wilhelm’s translation by counting out yarrow stalks and tossing coins—the traditional chance operations of Chinese divination—to locate specific chapters and verses in theI Ching, which he found would speak, like well-timed analytic interpretations, to his psychological situation at the time.

In his memorial to Wilhelm in 1930, Jung enunciated the synchronistic principle as an explanation. But it was not until the 1951 Eranos Conference that he fully described the “meaningful coincidence” and other sorts of facts that the concept “is intended to cover.” “Synchronicity: An Acausal connecting principle,” Jung’s full-blown development of the notion, appeared, together with an article by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli, in German in 1952. There Jung offers synchronicity as a law of nature as important as the laws of causality and chance, which it supplements in governing the connections of events. Jung quotes Schopenhauer (2000): “All the events in a man’s life would accordingly stand in two fundamentally different kinds of connection: firstly, in the objective, causal connection of the natural process; secondly, in a subjective connection which exists only in relation to the individual who experiences it, and which is thus as subjective as his own dreams.” Jung understood this “subjective connection” to be the significance a subject finds in the linkage of events, but he located this meaning beyond the subject experiencing it in the psychoid nature of the archetypes themselves. An archetype, for Jung, is a field of meaning in the unconscious that may be registered simultaneously as a psychic event in the mind and as a physical reality in the outer world. As Robert Aziz (1990) has noted, such “simultaneity” need not mean occurring at the exact same moment of time; it is enough that events having a common meaning be linked without a plausible causal sequence. One of Jung’s favorite examples of such a meaningful coincidence occurred while he was analyzing a young woman patient. She was telling a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. Jung heard a flying insect knocking against the window-pane, opened the window, and caught the creature—a scarabaeid beetle. This unexpected concretization of her fantasy helped his patient give up an intellectual defense against psychic reality that had kept her analysis from becoming a transformative experience, the scarab being, in Egyptian mythology, a classic symbol of rebirth. For a synchronicity to enhance consciousness rather than merely build up superstitiousness, it is important that the individual grasp its compensatory meaning.



Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology

Ed. J. Gordon Melton. Vol. 2. 5th ed. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. p1519-1520.COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale

A connecting principle, expressing the linkage of events without a cause-and-effect relationship in time. In addition to the normal cause-and-effect connections observed in nature, there appears to be another principle expressed in the simultaneous arrangement or connection of events. A theory of synchronicity was developed by psychotherapist Carl G. Jung and related to certain ESP phenomena. In recent decades the concept has been widely borrowed by occultists in support of their worldview.

As an illustration of this principle, some, such as astrologer Dan Rudhyar, suggest a relationship between astrological positions and events in the life of individual human beings. The human events are not necessarily caused by the position of heavenly bodies, only linked in a causal relationship.


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Another Ladybug Moment


[evp_embed_video url=”http://squareone-learning.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Ladybug.mp4″]

Jung did provide some paradigmatic clinical experiences about synchronicity. His most famous example was of a young woman whose analysis was in a bit of impasse based on her resistance to the notion of unconscious process until she had a dream that included a golden scarab (as a piece of jewelry). In discussing the dream, Jung was alerted to a tapping sound at his window, which he opened. He caught a rose chafer, a Scarabaeid beetle, that he gave to the woman, apparently breaking through her resistance. (Joseph Cambray)

In this example, the psychic state is indicated by the patient’s decision to tell Jung her dream of being given a scarab. The parallel external event is the appearance and behaviour of the real scarab. Neither of these events discernibly or plausibly caused the other by any normal means, so their relationship is acausal. Nevertheless, the events parallel each other in such unlikely detail that one cannot escape the impression that they are indeed connected, albeit acausally. Moreover, this acausal connection of events both is symbolically informative (as we shall see) and has a deeply emotive and transforming impact on the patient and in these senses is clearly meaningful. (Jung’s requirement that the parallel events be simultaneous is more problematic. For present purposes, it is sufficient to know that Jung does also allow for paralleling between events that are not simultaneous.1 Thus, the patient’s dream, rather than her decision to tell the dream, preceded the actual appearance of the scarab by several hours. Yet, Jung would certainly have considered the coincidence between the dream and the actual appearance synchronistic even if the patient had not decided to tell the dream at just that moment.) (Roderick Main)

The occurrence of synchronicities is seen as permitting a continuing dialogue with the unconscious and with the larger whole of life while also calling forth an aesthetic and spiritual appreciation of life’s powers of symbolically resonant complex patterning. . . . Although Jung himself did not explicitly describe this later stage in his principal monograph on synchronicity, it is evident from many scattered passages in his writings and from the recollections and memoirs of others that he both lived his life and conducted his clinical practice in a manner that entailed a constant attention to potentially meaningful synchronistic events that would then shape his understanding and actions. Jung saw nature and one’s surrounding environment as a living matrix of potential synchronistic meaning that could illuminate the human sphere. He attended to sudden or unusual movements or appearances of animals, flocks of birds, the wind, storms, the suddenly louder lapping of the lake outside the window of his consulting room, and similar phenomena as possessing possible symbolic relevance for the parallel unfolding of interior psychic realities. . . . Central to Jung’s understanding of such phenomena was his observation that the underlying meaning or formal factor that linked the synchronistic inner and outer events—the formal cause, in Aristotelian terms—was archetypal in nature. (Richard Tarnas)

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