(Here I present another highly-speculative idea. In response to my cohort Mike’s recent post titled “Neuron-Like Nature of the Internet,” which can be read at www.hiddenexperience.blogspot.com, I have retrieved and revised some prior writings of my own originally published back in early 2007. Thanks for the inspiration, Mike!)
An old friend asked me if I thought there might be a connection between fractals and synchronicity. As we spoke I realised that our conversation was “fractalising,” or creating related branches of thought from which other little branches of thought sprouted, and so on. I suddenly realised that our thoughts are capable of sending out dynamic neural impulses, resulting in cascading, near-infinite whorls of information exhibiting both independence and connectivity.
Now, in order to imagine how a “thought fractal” could be implicated in the seemingly-spontaneous creation of reality – which I think synchronicity quite effectively represents – we must agree that thought has mass, which is something we can’t prove, but we can imagine. A thought fractal, or for that matter, any information fractal (e.g., in Mike’s post, one created and/or maintained and/or grown via the internet) would naturally increase in area, if not so much in size, just like any fractal does.
If we accept that thoughts have mass, we’ll also accept that a fractalising thought’s gravity would increase correspondingly. The entire system of ideas or thought, and of each fractal “arm” within its matrix, would be an expansive area onto which outside information may be drawn by gravitational pull. In other words, the more massive the thought fractal (i.e., the more complex – like an intense series of thoughts leading up to an epiphany, for instance, or the internet’s ever-growing reach and effect), the more likely that synchronicities, which are among reality’s most enigmatic creations, would result….
Synchronicity truly is a natural result of the scenario I’ve imagined, for all fractals return again and again to their original form. A Mandelbrot set, for example, starts out with a relatively simple shape, which becomes more complex through a series of chaotic manifestations of curves and angles, ultimately coming back to the exact form from whence it started, continuing on infinitely. What I’m suggesting is that fractalised thought, through a similar process, draws toward it the very “ideas” or thoughts with which it began – thus, synchronicity.
As a very brief example, today at work I came across the last name “Roos.” I often see names that are new or unusual, but in this case I spent a few extra moments thinking about the name – adding a bit of mass to the thought, perhaps – imagining that the surname might be pronounced “Rose.” When, just this evening, reading a book published in 1966, considering this article that I’ve been so focussed on writing for hours, to read about an out-of-body experience by one Miss Roos didn’t come as a true surprise.
Once a thought begins to compartmentalise and branch off into new connections (much like the activity that takes place on the internet) it is thus “fractalised.” The concept thereby becomes more massive, and its gravitational pull correspondingly strengthens – and sometimes this would conceivably result in a domino-effect cascade. The source of the pulled-in information to which I refer is unknown; I can only imagine that it’s the product of some form of intelligence, innate or acquired.
That said, if we hold the concept that synchronicity may be a product of what we might call “the mass of thought,” we wouldn’t necessarily have to agree that synchronicity is exclusively caused by the gravity of dynamic information fractals, but only that gravity appears to play a role in some cases of synchronicity.
Likewise, intention isn’t a part of the equation. Chaos reorders itself quite effectively without outside intervention. I strongly feel that intention may distort or even completely disable, via an artificial attempt to insert order into chaos, a tendency toward synchronicity. Yet, unlike mere coincidence, the unexpected collision of events in a meaningful way seems to involve more than mere chance. Gravity seems to be a likely causal factor – but again, only if we allow ourselves to imagine that thought has mass.
Part Two (accompanied by endnotes)
A clearcut distinction between gravity and intention is important to the preceding theory. Take the example of an apple clinging to the branch of a tree (1). For some time, the fruit’s stem is strong enough to withstand the pull of Earth’s gravity. The apple does not rationally hang on to the tree for dear life (though the research of Cleve Backster may throw that assumption into doubt), but at some point the connection between the stem and the branch from whence it grew deteriorates to the point that the apple disengages and drops to the ground. By what curiously appears to be intelligent by design, the apple simply falls at its peak of ripeness.
To illustrate how “thought molecules” rather than intention can draw true synchronicity into the realm of one’s reality, let’s next imagine a popular story about Isaac Newton. To preface this example, recall that Jung noted that synchronicity tends to happen more frequently in times of intense intellectual, spiritual, and/or emotional states. Now visualise Newton sitting under an apple tree, lost in thought, his mind racing with examples of something he couldn’t explain – perhaps why, that very morning, when he lost his grip on his quill pen, it dropped to the table, spattering ink droplets all over his desk and generally causing a mess (2).
Suddenly an apple falls, bopping him on the head, and from that experience Newton deduces there’s a relationship between the mass of one thing (the earth) and another thing (the apple) which ends up becoming a radical key to understanding the nature of gravity’s enigmatic prowess.
The timing of the apple falling from the tree points to synchronicity, which is much more than a mere coincidence, since in this example the action directly corresponds to Newton’s thought process. Now, if he had been sitting under the tree trying to remember a childhood friend’s name (3), we might call the apple falling nothing at all – perhaps not even a coincidence of note. The apple falling would have been as mundane as a butterfly fluttering by at the same time, or an ant traversing his shoe.
Rather than being a case of true synchronicity or even one of mere coincidence, the situation could be deemed serendipitous had Newton just realised how long it had been since he’d eaten a meal….
( 1) the use of the word clinging anthropomorphises the apple; the same situation might have been described with the tree clinging to the apple, finally letting go – which would then anthropomorphise the tree.
( 2 ) gravity!
( 3 ) that is, assuming the friend’s name wasn’t Apple ; )