Saturday, September 17, 2011


I've had no dreams for several days and am  finding I have much more time to do other things. I would welcome a rest from this activity. I did have what to me qualifies as a humorous 'synchronistic event.' Jung coined that word for when things totally unrelated occur in a way that has very significant meaning to a person. It is one of those things that 'you know' could never happen again. It practically forces one to say. ' that is just too perfect and beyond probability to be 'just' coincidence. He argued that the world is not just a dynamic of causality which of course was the original assumption of science and the 'age of reason' and that  is still with us Westerners  as our basic view of  'reality.'  He defined synchronicity as the 'irrational acausal connecting principle' and believed it was a dynamic of the Collective Unconscious that spills into conscious life and into natural forms. This is sometimes  in a way that is humorous as well as meaningful. I think that such things are the cause for much 'genuine belief', likely more than the rational augments  we tend to think our faith is based on.
Every Snowflake Is A Unique One-Of-A-Kind  Hexagon

It's those moments where things in your environment fall into a highly meaningful arrangement without any conscious plan or expectation whatsoever.... ways where the chances of it all together happening 'just this way' are beyond your being able to rationalize them as simply coincidence. It is where events on the outside strike an unexpected perfect harmony with some usually unconscious inner need or vise versa. Such moments have led many people to think, " I believe, how could I not." Many famous scientists describe their breakthrough discoveries as such a sychronistic moment rather then when they are trying hard to understand something. Such moments seem to push themselves on us in ways that stir up and activate our deepest religious instincts. The five most influential books in my life were ones that 'came to me' like that. I paid no more than fifty cents for any of them and one was lying on a table of free books in Chicago at a place I'd never been before. Each of them took me to new and very significant important places in my professional and private perceptions. I have found such moments to be far more real and impacting me at both mind and heart levels in a religious sense than what I have ever been formally or conventionally taught or made direct conscious efforts to understand. One of the primary influences on my development has been the writings of C.G. Jung. He coined the word synchronicity in his efforts to explain the nature of religious experience everywhere throughout the ages, no matter what the religious heritage- or in the absence of any, a person might have. Obviously synchronicity is nothing we can have any control of whatsoever, at least at any conscious level. (But it may seem in retrospect like our mind and body were doing precisely what they had to do to bring such a 'whole' and perfect experience into reality.) That is why its unexpected meaningfulness makes such an strong unforgettable impact.

My Gangster Devil  Shoes
I went to Shoe Carnival yesterday to get some new walking shoes. I went to the 'on sale' section as is my habit every two years. I found some shoes that fit well, felt good, seemed durable and bought one at sale price and a second at half off that price. I got home and Brent looked at them and said, 'Dad, you had better be careful where you wear those. I think they might be considered gangster shoes.' So I looked up the company , World Industries. They sell 'skateboard' shoes. When teaching, 'skate boarders' were a group of boys that were pretty much at the bottom of the social ladder. They tended to be pretty bedraggled and always bothering people trying to find a place to store their skateboard. They were often accused of being pot head drug users. It was assumed by most that no girl would be impressed if a skateboarder asked her out. etc etc. So it was rather humiliating to realize that I am  at  age 66  associated with skate boarders. Also the company trademark which is on the side of the shoe is a 'W'. I thought it was likely made to look like the 'Wilson Sport' emblem. But afterward I came to notice it has two arrows at the top of the 'W' The website made it clear that it is the 'top of the devil's pitchfork. '

This strikes me as the kind of  humor that comes from the Collective Unconscious, from the Sacred. I had no idea in my frugality that I was making such associations for myself. However, I must admit that from some perspectives it fits well. Those 'skateboarders' are always getting banged up form their falls. They are a very tough breed and are not in any popularity contest. And they really defy in the face any peer pressure for they get it unmercifully every day. Also I realize that my theology gives the 'devil' a far more acceptable place in the order of reality than Christian orthodox theology. Actually my view does not create or sustain the typical image of the devil with his pitchfork. It takes evil far more seriously than I  think does  popular Christian Theology, which has bred this silly devil symbol. The horned devil image is actually a ' bad goat'...... as opposed to a 'good sheep.'  Now wouldn't people who raise goats be offended by our taking Jesus so literally about the 'bad goats' ?  Baby goats are among the cutest animals I've ever seen.  And I'm told my brothers were raised on goat's milk during the depression. And certainly it would not be hard to find some  number of people that once were thinking of me with the sigh.....'the devil made him do it.'  So the unconscious is able to come back at me with all this as the result of my bargain hunting.  It is also likely a stab at that part of my behavior as well.

This is all the more meaningful in that 35 years ago my mother in law gave me a very well done framed handwork piece. It was the typical devil with the same pitchfork with the saying, 'the devil made me do it.' I was so theologically offended that I would not graciously and in good humor  accept her gift. That and a glass of wine from my eldest brother about the same time are the only gifts I recall ever turning down. I'm sure Beverly was mortified at my behavior but withheld judgment. But this demonstrates, to me, the horrible self righteousness that I was captured by in my early adult life. It allowed for no such sense of humor. I was deadly sincere in my belief  of the 'devil' but I actually have a stronger view of the reality of evil now  than I did then. But I would be glad to receive such a gift now and would take care of it, and hang in on the wall.  As I took my walk tonight I feared that some 'hanging out' kids, some maybe skateboarders, would notice my shoes and laugh at the old man. I have emailed Bev's sister asking what became of that picture her mother once gave me. I hope  it is still in the family. It was more appropriate for me I think than anyone would have imagined at the time.  Jim

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