Of Serendipity and Synchronicity

At lunch the other day, David Rymer was relating his favourite serendipity stories.  And boy does he have a few.  He has been collecting them for years.  He defined serendipity as those events that are somewhat unusual but that are noticed and in that noticing, provide some value to the observer.  In contrast, synchronicity is the meaningful coincidence between two seemingly separate events – some form of meaningful relationship between causally unconnected events.  I noted that it is often through serendipity, we can find synchronicity. 

We talked about innovation and the role that people in organisations need to play of looking for the unexpected, those anomalies that fall outside the norm, and to try and ascertain the meaning behind that difference.  It goes against the notion of seeking equilibrium or getting things back to the average.  We also talked about scientific research into anomalies – rather than the general thrust of science which is often towards testing hypotheses and discounting the aberrant findings

My view is that synchronicity can often be an end-state of strong emotional and energetic connections between people (and certain objects).  It goes above and beyond the old concept of sympathies which sought to explain connections between unrelated events before mechanistic science came along and discovered the basis of those connections; the cause of those connections.  And now, holistic approaches and quantum physics are trying to help us explain the synchronicity between seemingly unrelated events.  Perhaps as our knowledge of this area deepens, we may not just go “that was weird” when we observe synchronicity but relish it, enjoy the experience and actively look forward to the next surprise!

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2 Responses to Of Serendipity and Synchronicity

  1. Gregory Lent posted on Quora at http://www.quora.com/Diction-and-Word-Usage/Whats-the-difference-between-synchronicity-and-serendipity :
    “Synchronicity is the mind’s experience of the interconnectedness of all aspects of reality. Serendipity is the occasional noticing of that interconnectedness.”

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