| by Flemming Funch|
Synchronicities are meaningful coincidences. Subjectively meaningful. Several things happen in adjacent space or time that somehow fit together, even though they supposedly didn't have anything to do with each other.
Really, everything is always connected with everything else. The multiverse is probably really all in one piece. But there are so damned many pieces, and we're so out of touch with the inter-connectedness of everything, that most of the time most of the pieces just don't fit together at all.
Just look at your own day and the inflow you probably got today. Loads of e-mails, news stories, tweets, advertisements, phone calls, etc. Some of them were maybe exactly what you needed at the right time, but more likely, most of them didn't hit any spot and were just distractions.
A synchronicity would be if you suddenly get a bright idea, say that you could have a mushroom farm. Two seconds later you check your e-mail and, lo and behold, one of your friends just sent you an article about basement mushroom farming. It is a synchronicity. We could say that it is a random coincidence, because your friend didn't really know you just got that idea, and he sent the article for totally unrelated reasons. But it is meaningful to you, like a sign from the universe that, yes, that's a good idea.
Or, you join some new group on Facebook, and immediately run into somebody who you went to school with, who incidentally is into some other obscure unrelated thing you're into too, like paragliding or 12th century Russian poetry. A synchronicity. It isn't just some superstitious silliness. It tells you that stuff is connecting.
Just imagine now that we can jack up the rate of synchronicity in your life. More synchronicity per unit of time, and less non-synchronicity. What if most of the chance meetings you had turned out to be tremendously meaningful and useful? What if most of the unexpected pieces of information you received turned out to unexpectedly be exactly what you needed at the time?
There are lots of quite straightforward ways of increasing relevancy in your life. If we were talking ads, you could receive more targeted ads. Instead of ads targeted at "anybody and everybody", you might get ads that fit your profile, and that are likely to suggest something to you that you actually might want. Of course it would be even better if they only suggested to you exactly what you want, but it would still be an improvement. Amazon's book suggestions are pretty good, because I've bought from them and they can approximate what I might like that I don't already have. Book suggestions in random magazines in my mailbox are not very good.
By simply increasing the number of things I'm exposed to, we might increase the number of fits I run into. Particularly if we can lower the cost per exposure at the same time. It requires me much less effort to scan the twitter feeds of hundreds of people than it would take me to read all their blogs, which again is much less effort than would me needed if I had to interview each one to find out if we match somehow.
What we need and want, what inspires us, what triggers us - it is like the receptors on genes and anti-genes. OK, it probably isn't, but it is a suitable metaphor. Certain anti-genes will fit together with certain genes, because their "plugs" fit together. It is a general principle for many parts of living organisms. Receptors are essentially protein molecules to which certain types of signaling molecules can attach. Put a bunch of each together, in a big mix of other stuff, shake and stir it vigorously, and a lot of the receptors will end up connecting with the matching molecules. Increase the volume of any of them, or increase the speed of flow, or increase the random shaking, and you'll see more of them connect. Meme-receptors probably work the same.
It is a selection bias as well. One sees what one is looking for. But it is more than that. Synchronities are matches that we weren't particularly looking for at that time. Granted, we were looking for them elsewhere, so they were still present in our consciousness somewhere.
But it is all also more than that.
I would claim that synchronicities are a sign of collective intelligence. You see more synchronicities, something about the bigger system around you is working at a higher level. There's an alignment happening, possibly at a level you couldn't easily understand all by yourself.
It is like being "in the flow". Things are aligned. But not just aligned in a very straightforward one-dimensional way. Things are aligned at levels you aren't conscious of. So, things just appear when you need them, answers appear seconds after the question, solutions show up when there's a problem. You take a step into the river and a rock happens to be there to support you.
None of us appear to be smart enough individually to solve the big problems in the world. It doesn't matter if we put everything we know into a neat spreadsheet and analyze it carefully. We just tend to think in too few dimensions, like trying to solve five dimensional problems with two-dimensional logic.
So, we really, really need to find ways of operating at a higher order. The hope is for collective intelligence. That somehow we'll succeed in organizing ourselves in such a way that our efforts not only don't cancel each other out, but all together we accomplish more than the sum of our individual efforts. And that somehow the net result of our actions demonstrates a higher level of intelligence than what any one of us could have demonstrated individually. Collective Intelligence. Being smarter together.
Since it isn't just something we can *figure out* brute force the same old way we'll figure out what career to pursue or why our car makes a funny sound, we need some new types of tools.
We need tools that increase collective intelligence.
We also need ways of being aware of an increase in the signs of collective intelligence. I claim that synchronicity is one of those signs. If you see more synchronicities, more collective intelligence is happening. Something is lining up.
Like bio-feedback, if you have an indicator of whether something is going in the "right" direction or not, you might suddenly find that you can increase it, even though you didn't think you could. It certainly beats operating in the dark.
So, if you experience more fits, something more intelligent is going on. Even if you don't understand what it is, you might still be able to steer towards even more.
More surprisingly meaningful connections will, of course, weave even more coherence, and give rise to even more delightful just-in-time surprises.