Synchronicity is defined (sometimes) as 'meaningful coincidence' - but that begs the question as to what is meaningful. (Plus, of course, when something is meaningful, it is not coincidence - but somehow causally linked - purposive.) In particular, meaning may only become apparent later, or may only become apparent under certain circumstances.
So coincidences that seems so unlikely they can hardly be coincidence, may nonetheless be apparently rivial or bizarre and difficult to regard as either significant communication. The may indeed soon soon be forgotten (although if the synchronicity events had been understood they might well have been remembered).
My analogy is the dream images and frangments mentioned in Tolkien's Notion Club Papers, pages 189-191 -
- which evoke in the character Ramer a strong 'feeling of hidden significance' - the nature of this significance remains hidden until much later; when he realizes the scenes are fragments of a larger story.
And that strong feeling of hidden significance in remembered
fragments: my experience now, though it is still very imperfect,
certainly bears out my guess, as far as my own dreams go. My
significant fragments were actually often pages out of stories,
made up in quieter dream-levels, and by some chance remem-
bered. Occasionally they were bits of long visions of things not
'If long ago you'd either read or written a story and forgotten
it, and then in an old drawer you came on a few torn pages of it,
containing a passage that had some special function in the
whole, even if it had no obvious point in isolation, I think you'ld
get very similar feelings: of hidden significance, of lost con-
nexions eluding you, and often of regret.'
'Could you give us any examples?' asked Jeremy.
Ramer thought for a moment. 'Well,' he said, 'I could have
done so. I've placed several of my fragments in their proper
setting now. But the difficulty is that when once you've got the
whole story, you tend very soon to forget which part of it was
the bit you used to remember torn out. But there are a couple
that I still remember, for I only placed them recently; and I still remember my disappointment. The whole stories are often not
particularly good or interesting, you know; and the charm of
the fragments is often largely in being unfinished, as sometimes
happens in waking art. The sleeping mind is no cleverer than
itself; only it can be less distracted and more collected, more set
on using what it has.
'Here's one case: it's only interesting as an illustration.
A row of dark houses on the right, going up a slight slope.
Their backs had little gardens or yards fenced with hedges,
and a narrow path behind them. It was miserably dark and
gloomy. Not a light in the houses, not a star, no moon. He
was going up the path for no particular reason, in a heavy
aimless mood. Near the top of the slope he heard a noise: a
door had opened at the back of one of the houses, or it had
closed. He was startled and apprehensive. He stood still. End,
What would you expect the emotion to be that this aroused?'
'Like going round to the back-door after closing-time and
hearing that just being shut as well?' suggested Lowdham.
'It sounds reasonable enough,' agreed Ramer with a laugh.
'Actually it was a happiness that brings tears, like the thrill of
the sudden turn for good in a dangerous tale; and a kind of dew
of happiness was distilled that spilled over into waking, lasted
for hours, and for years was renewed (though diminishingly) on
'All my waking mind could make of it was that the picture
was sombre. It did rather remind me of - or rather, I identified
it, in spite of some misfit, with a row of cottages near where I
lived as a small boy. But that did not explain the joy. And, by
the way, if it had really been a picture of that row, there should
have been a pump just at the top of the slope. I put it in. I see it
now in dark silhouette. But it was not there in my earliest
recollection, not in the original version. Also, I was only the he
of the scene in the way one does (or I do) identify oneself
variably with this or that character in a tale, especially with
regard to the point of vision. The scene was observed more or
less from his point of view, though I (the producer) was just
behind (and a little above) him - until he stopped. At the
emotion-point I took his place.
'The story that scene came out of is known to me now; and
it's not very interesting. Apparently it's one I made up years
ago, somewhere in the fifties, at a time when, while awake,
wrote lots of things of the sort. I won't bother you with it all: it
had a long and complicated plot, mainly dealing with the Six
Years' War; but it wasn't very original, nor very good of its
kind. All that matters at the moment is that this scene came just
before a lovers' reunion, beyond the hope of either the man or
the woman. On hearing the noise he halted, with a premonition
that something was going to happen. The woman came out of
the door, but he did not recognize her till she spoke to him at the
gate. If he hadn't halted, they would have missed one another,
probably for ever. The plot, of course, explained how they both
came to be there, where neither of them had been before; but
that doesn't matter now. The interesting thing is that the remembered fragment, for some reason, ended with the sound
of the door and the halting; but the emotion left over was due to
part of the story immediately following, which was not remembered pictorially at all. But there was no trace of the emotions of
still later parts of the story, which did not finally have a happy ending.
So, the fragments get their significance, apparent meaningfulness, their from the surrounding and narrative which links and continues the snapshots of memory.
Perhaps unexplained synchronicity-type coincidence will likewise yeild meaningful content at some future time - if we pursue their meaning and are alert to the clues.