The Organ of Synchronicity 66


Recently I have been plagued by coincidences. I was talking on a train about someone I hadn’t seen for thirty years, and then met them coming out of the train toilet. Had I subconsciously seen them on a platform and not consciously registered it? I don’t know, but coincidences of that nature have been occurring recently with a strange frequency. I have never quite been able to get my head round the theory of synchronicity.

In about 1986 I was working in the trade department of the British High Commission in Lagos. I went to visit a Yoruba turkey farmer near Ijebu-Ode who wanted help with his meat processing and freezing machinery. I spent an extremely pleasant day with his family. He showed me the massive church he was building, with a cantilevered roof. He had ordered a mighty organ from Rushworth and Dreaper, one of the world’s last manufacturers of real pipe organs.

The following week I left on leave. Before actual holiday I was doing a tour for ten days around the UK, visiting companies who wanted advice on doing business with Nigeria. The Department of Trade and Industry organised the itineraries through regional offices. In Liverpool I was delighted to find I had been sheduled to visit Rushworth and Dreaper and witness the skills and craftsmanship that go into building a pipe organ (there are literally hundreds of unglamorous wooden and lead pipes packed behind the showcase guilded exterior ones – which sometimes are simply dummies. Each pipe is a first class musical instrument).

Rushworth and Dreaper were most impressed that I had visited their customer just a week before. It was quite a coincidence given that, as far as I or the High Commission knew, he was just a turkey farmer and nothing to do with organs. But not that big a coincidence.

My tour over, a fortnight later I took my wife and children on holiday to Hong Kong. We went on to one of the big junks that sail Hong Kong Harbour as floating restaurants in the evenings. It was very packed, and we shared a table with a pleasant English couple. We introduced each other. “I am a director of a little Liverpool company that makes pipe organs”, he said, “It’s called Rushworth and Dreaper”.

As I said, I have never got my head round synchronicity. In some way human consciousness must on occasion be able to shape events that, by laws we understand, ought to be outside such influence. I have no idea how, why or how often, and to express such an idea is to invite ridicule. But that is what I observe.


66 thoughts on “The Organ of Synchronicity

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  • Theo

    It’s easy to forget how strange life is. The puzzling thing to me is that there is some kind of pattern to it all, obscurely glimpsed on odd occasions. I think many people have this kind of experience.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    The power of intention Craig – although the process has been painfully slow trying to ‘shape events’ in Syria – we all need to work a little bit harder, especially after the leak that confirms SIS salaried ex SAS special forces contractors are ‘training’ fighters in Homs, an abomination I reported a month ago from a contact working out of Dubai.
    .
    I believe if we lose Syria to the Western blood moneyed barbarian philistines, the dismantling of Iran follows, Palestine deracinates and the world moves closer to whiteout.

  • Open Guv

    Coincidence is God’s way of winking at you. Or, if you prefer, the atheistical version: Synchronicity is the totality flashing a bit of leg at you.
    .
    More ominously: An accident is an incident with an axe to grind.
    .
    For a theoretical background to this & much else: Rupert Sheldrake’s just-published ‘The Science Delusion — Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry.’ Dazzling compendium for true sceptics, from a biologist of whom New Scientist once said: ‘. . . the sort of man who in a previous century might have discovered a new continent.’ Highly recommended if you wish to probe the inexplicable, or scrutinise the unexamined nostrums of contemporary science.

  • Robyn Taylor

    It always seems to remind me that there is an Order in the world that we humans will never understand

  • Daniel

    Many years ago I took about 18 months out to travel south-east and east Asia. One of the fellow travellers I met was this guy from Dagenham called Keith. We initially met in Sumatra, Indonesia. After spending some time together we went our separate ways. I was due to fly Jakarta-Bangkok-Saigon a week or so later. Fast forward about two months: I happened to be walking through old town Hanoi and who should I see in a local cafe? none other than Keith.

    He was heading south to Saigon and I was heading in the other direction to the Chinese border. Another couple of months passed. I happened was in the Indian city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu sitting admiring the cities main temple. I looked up and there was Keith sitting opposite me. Aghast, we chatted about our experiences over a meal and after a couple of days together we split.

    Incredibly, we met totally by chance for a third time in Katmandu. I explained to him that I was coming to the end of my trip and had booked and paid for my flight ticket to London. It transpired that we had unknowingly booked the exact same flight.

  • boniface goncourt

    Craig

    A man of [UK average age] 77 years will have lived for over 40 million minutes. Considering that most of those minutes are devoid of coincidence, it is unsurprising that the Law of Large Numbers puts one in occasionally. Just don’t get into rabbitsfootism or luckynumberism, whereby some clown on ‘Deal or No Deal’ turns down £120k to go home with 10p.

    Daniel

    After a lifetime’s travelling, I can assure you that wherever you are, you ALWAYS meet a guy from Dagenham named Keith. [You do, really.] But very occasionally. Your itineraries were not the whole of ‘Asia’ but a small number of tourist spots in Asia, which makes meeting up quite likely. You will probably meet the same people in Trafalgar Square that you saw outside Buckingham Palace.

    Rupert Sheldrake is well worth reading but keep your sceptic’s hat on. Remember that loonibooks [which I devour] are most persuasive about cosmic hocus-pocus but NEVER present humdrum alternative explanations.

  • keefer suverland

    I once met a bloke I knew near Oxford Street. Bastard reckoned I owed him money. I paid up cos he was big and that. then i met another one in the tube. we were all ex-flatmates. second one was a little bloke, so no money changed hands.

  • DownWithThisSortOfThing

    “I don’t know, but coincidences of that nature have been occurring recently with a strange frequency.”
    _
    Perhaps they are state actors keeping an eye on you, or attempting to make you paranoid. 🙂

  • Capmint

    Daniel,
    I did the SE Asia loop in my gap year, month in Thailand, Loas, Cambodia, Vietnam, and kept bumping into the same people, which I put to coincidence. Synchronicity is to me more than coincidence, and borders ESP research,
    for example I took the infamous bus trip Bangkok to Siem Reap, I got fed up went from bus with air con to the scooby doo van. As an aside, one off life truisms is if you travel on a budget you generally meet nicer people, anyway, I was comparing travel stories with a German couple and I said I stayed at the Tent, a big circus tent that you could stay for free, but the night I stayed, it was worst storm in Europe, long story short, Tom was sixteen, his class part time fireman, all the full timers out, he and his classmates first call out was to tent, and he was holding onto the guy rope thinking who the fuck stays in a place like this if I ever meet them… Turns out he would ten years later on other side off the world, on a bus I shouldn’t be on and instead off decking me we’re still in touch

    Ps the other free place was in Florence, bit like the tenko set up, met some girls who were going to Edinburgh uni, same as me and my twin, this was pre Facebook, anyway, in halls, one girls was opposite.

    Pps one off the reasons I’ve followed Craigs excellent blog, I used to work in public sector, managed largest FOAI request for NHS and HMT at time I argued successfully to release all info unredacted as MoJ working assumption was commercial sensitivity, and it just wasn’t, and even got a month extension, which meant it landed nicely right in middle off MP expenses

  • Vronsky

    The effect can be quite dazing. Some years ago, recovering from illness, I decided to spend some time on the island of Gozo where I had friends. I thought a little walking would help the healing process so I tried the local outdoor store for a walking guide to Gozo. Unsurprisingly they had none. And so to Google: after trawling around for a while I found the guide which is on the shelf above my head as I type this. It swam up on the computer screen with my (rather uncommon) name on it, including the normal Scottish contraction of my first name. I blinked at this for a while wondering what malware had transferred my personal details to a website I had never visited before, only slowly realising that the author of the only walking guide to Gozo had the same name as me.

  • Capmint

    Boniface

    As a twin I’m interested in ESP, the loony books are my twins, who is the hippy and in India as we speak. My books on ESP are the Stanford remote viewing experiments, double blind etc and Quantum Physics Einstein Padolsky non locality, interesting CERN recently showed and managed to repeat experiment that particle can travel faster than light.

    As an aside, one off the hippy books is Edgar Cayce, he off putting meat on your breast to cure cancer, so I have my cynic hat, but what threw me

    Strifes will arise through the period. Watch for them near Davis Strait in the attempts there for the keeping of the life line to a land open. Watch for them in Libya and in Egypt, in Ankara and in Syria, through the straits about those areas above Australia, in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.” Edgar Cayce reading (3976-26) April 28, 1941
    http://www.edgarcayce.org/are/ancient_mysteries.aspx?id=1915

    It pretty much spot on for Arab Spring, The bit that threw me is Australia, but Obama recently deployed some USMC,

  • Iain Orr

    Craig: I agree with Boniface about the statistics and caution about Sheldrake. Nevertheless, gregarious lateral thinkers and livers like you will spot and celebrate such coincidences more readily than most; and the feeling of new dimensions of cosmic order is almost unavoidable.
    .
    I can throw in two anecdotes from successive weekends in the autumn of 1974 when I was accompanying the Chief Panda Keeper and Deputy Director of Beijing Zoo who had brought Ted Heath’s diplomatic giant pandas to London Zoo. When they arrived at Heathrow, I was the only person in the welcoming group who knew both the men and the pandas from my time in the Embassy in Beijing.

    .
    On the first weekend, the organising host and car driver was Dr Michael Brambell, then Curator of mammals at ZSL. Michael had wanted to show the Chinese a typical English pub; and had one in mind in Gloucestershire which he knew well. However, he misremembered the turning so we ended up in a pub he had never been in before. At the bar he tried in typical style to blag free drinks by saying to the barman – “These are the people who brought the pandas to London”. The barman’s immediate reaction was to excuse himself for a minute and go back into the residential part of the pub. He then emerged with a photograph of himself with the then Chinese Foreign Minister. We discovered that he was a loyal Conservative in the constituency of Sir Anthony Royle, then the Minister responsible for relations with China. Our pub host had only a few months earlier been invited to drinks chez Royle when he was entertaining Qiao Guanhua at his home; thus the photo. Michael did get drinks on the house.

    .
    The following weekend I took our Chinese visitors to meet Gerald Durrell in Jersey. The visit was a huge success, especially for the chain-smoking Chinese who found that duty-free fags could be bought on the flight back to Southampton. I had already decided to let them sample other forms of transport, so we took the train back to Waterloo and then went by tube rather than taxi to their hotel. We got into the underground carriage. I was immediately astounded to see sitting opposite a diminutive and attractive friend whom I not seen for four years. We immediately chatted in Mandarin, as she was a [then rare] Mandarin-speaking Cantonese from Hong Kong whom I got to know when an FCO language student in HK. She was delighted to meet the panda-bearers; they were disbelieving that the whole encounter had not been set up by the FCO and I think they thereafter regarded me as an MI6 minder. (I’d have reacted similarly to such a “coincidence” in China.)

    .
    An early Chinese sage has a wise comment on those who think such coincidences flow their own magic powers:
    .
    Do you want to rule the world and control it?
    I don’t think it can ever be done.
    Laozi Daodejing Chapter 29

  • Iain Orr

    Craig: I agree with Boniface about the statistics and caution about Sheldrake. Nevertheless, gregarious lateral thinkers and livers like you will spot and celebrate such coincidences more readily than most; and the feeling of new dimensions of cosmic order is almost unavoidable.
    .
    I can throw in two anecdotes from successive weekends in the autumn of 1974 when I was accompanying the Chief Panda Keeper and Deputy Director of Beijing Zoo who had brought Ted Heath’s diplomatic giant pandas to London Zoo. When they arrived at Heathrow, I was the only person in the welcoming group who knew both the men and the pandas from my time in the Embassy in Beijing.

    .
    On the first weekend, the organising host and car driver was Dr Michael Brambell, then Curator of mammals at ZSL. Michael had wanted to show the Chinese a typical English pub; and had one in mind in Gloucestershire which he knew well. However, he misremembered the turning so we ended up in a pub he had never been in before. At the bar he tried in typical style to blag free drinks by saying to the barman – “These are the people who brought the pandas to London”. The barman’s immediate reaction was to excuse himself for a minute and go back into the residential part of the pub. He then emerged with a photograph of himself with the then Chinese Foreign Minister. We discovered that he was a loyal Conservative in the constituency of Sir Anthony Royle, then the Minister responsible for relations with China. Our pub host had only a few months earlier been invited to drinks chez Royle when he was entertaining Qiao Guanhua at his home; thus the photo. Michael did get drinks on the house.

    .
    The following weekend I took our Chinese visitors to meet Gerald Durrell in Jersey. The visit was a huge success, especially for the chain-smoking Chinese who found that duty-free fags could be bought on the flight back to Southampton. I had already decided to let them sample other forms of transport, so we took the train back to Waterloo and then went by tube rather than taxi to their hotel. We got into the underground carriage. I was immediately astounded to see sitting opposite a diminutive and attractive friend whom I not seen for four years. We immediately chatted in Mandarin, as she was a [then rare] Mandarin-speaking Cantonese from Hong Kong whom I got to know when an FCO language student in HK. She was delighted to meet the panda-bearers; they were disbelieving that the whole encounter had not been set up by the FCO and I think they thereafter regarded me as an MI6 minder. (I’d have reacted similarly to such a “coincidence” in China.

    .
    An early Chinese sage has a wise comment on those who think such coincidences flow their own magic powers:
    .
    Do you want to rule the world and control it?
    I don’t think it can ever be done.
    Laozi Daodejing Chapter 29

  • Iain Orr

    [Hard to see why this was not accepted by the website when submitted earlier]

    Craig: I agree with Boniface about the statistics and caution about Sheldrake. Nevertheless, gregarious lateral thinkers and livers like you will spot and celebrate such coincidences more readily than most; and the feeling of new dimensions of cosmic order is almost unavoidable.
    .
    I can throw in two anecdotes from successive weekends in the autumn of 1974 when I was accompanying the Chief Panda Keeper and Deputy Director of Beijing Zoo who had brought Ted Heath’s diplomatic giant pandas to London Zoo. When they arrived at Heathrow, I was the only person in the welcoming group who knew both the men and the pandas from my time in the Embassy in Beijing.

    .
    On the first weekend, the organising host and car driver was Dr Michael Brambell, then Curator of mammals at ZSL. Michael had wanted to show the Chinese a typical English pub; and had one in mind in Gloucestershire which he knew well. However, he misremembered the turning so we ended up in a pub he had never been in before. At the bar he tried in typical style to blag free drinks by saying to the barman – “These are the people who brought the pandas to London”. The barman’s immediate reaction was to excuse himself for a minute and go back into the residential part of the pub. He then emerged with a photograph of himself with the then Chinese Foreign Minister. We discovered that he was a loyal Conservative in the constituency of Sir Anthony Royle, then the Minister responsible for relations with China. Our pub host had only a few months earlier been invited to drinks chez Royle when he was entertaining Qiao Guanhua at his home; thus the photo. Michael did get drinks on the house.

    .
    The following weekend I took our Chinese visitors to meet Gerald Durrell in Jersey. The visit was a huge success, especially for the chain-smoking Chinese who found that duty-free fags could be bought on the flight back to Southampton. I had already decided to let them sample other forms of transport, so we took the train back to Waterloo and then went by tube rather than taxi to their hotel. We got into the underground carriage. I was immediately astounded to see sitting opposite a diminutive and attractive friend whom I not seen for four years. We immediately chatted in Mandarin, as she was a [then rare] Mandarin-speaking Cantonese from Hong Kong whom I got to know when an FCO language student in HK. She was delighted to meet the panda-bearers; they were disbelieving that the whole encounter had not been set up by the FCO and I think they thereafter regarded me as an MI6 minder. (I’d have reacted similarly to such a “coincidence” in China.

    .
    An early Chinese sage has a wise comment on those who think such coincidences flow their own magic powers:
    .
    Do you want to rule the world and control it?
    I don’t think it can ever be done.
    Laozi Daodejing Chapter 29

  • Lloyd

    I think it has something to do with the world being smaller than you might think. Apparently, all the population of the world could fit into a small corner of Cornwall, assuming two people per square meter, or something like that. Also most of reality is a kind of repetition of the same thing, the same basic shapes and forms, so that you are really moving through the same space folded in a finite number of ways.

  • EscalanteKid

    Of course, ‘randomness’ is no less patterned than ‘coincidence’, only its patterns are less perceptible to us. As the psychoanalyst Donald Spence points out, “the search after meaning is especially insidious because it always succeeds.”

  • banksie

    The rhythm of the Universe is a strange and wonderful thing. Don’t try and understand it – it is mystic and being perception. Simply enjoy those moments when they happen and wonder at the strangeness of it all.

  • eveningperson

    I think the ‘order’ you are observing is the ‘availability illusion’.

    We are involved – simply by default – in uncounted numbers of events, including all the people who pass us by in the course of a day, the things we see, hear and read, and so on.

    Just by chance some of these things are going to be of more significance to us, in the light of our life histories, intentions and dreams. These are the things that we single out as coincidences, when in fact we experience countless coincidences every day, most of them meaningless to us.

    To genuinely conclude that the ‘coincidences’ we experience are really significant, we should take into account all these background coincidences and the chances of them happening. That’s what science does.

    But quacks, financial frauds, clairvoyants and politicians, amongst others, are well aware that we are prone to this availability illusion – one of the cognitive illusions that arise from the way our brains have evolved – and take full advantage of it.

  • eveningperson

    I’d like to add: I find this worrying, because so much of what Craig Murray says has the ring of truth because it is grounded in his own knowledge of diplomacy and diligent research, including through his contacts. Unlike most political journalism, which is based on speculation, ideology and wishful thinking. A slide into woo-woo will inevitably devalue his work.

  • lwtc247

    “by laws we understand” – Why?
    Isn’t that just a self-lobotomizing excuse to ignore the proverbial elephant in the room Craig?

  • Mary

    Iain Ref China. There was a deal of demonization going on yesterday on BBC News. One of their reporters was visiting western Sichuan with a large Tibetan population and where self immolation is taking place as a form of protest. There was all this talk of secret police, villagers being bundled off for speaking to the film crew, threats from the police to withdraw their visas and permits, etc etc.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-16908985
    .
    I wondered how true this report is and whether or not it is a propaganda exercise against China for daring to use their veto at the UN vote on Syrian intervention.
    .
    Sky are more vociferous on Syria than the BBC. This morning they had some man shouting the odds in Baba Amr. Where is the US? Where is the UN? etc.
    {http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/16167110}

  • Aim Here

    Well with a bit of rough handwaved arithmetic – if you have maybe one event of any kind happening to you, around you, or you at least think a thought, every 5 seconds of your waking life, then that once-chance-in-a-million coincidence ought to happen to you about once every three months or so.

    Providing you actually notice it, that is. I’ve not had any amazing coincidences for a while, so I think I missed the last one….

  • Iain Orr

    Mary (your post at 11.44am): I heard that BBC programme as well and regrettably it rings true. China has been bestial to the Tibetans over many years. However current US criticism of China over human rights is largely opportunistic. From what I know of the BBC’s Chinese Language service and their correspondents in China, they are more likely to give airtime to why the Chinese vetoed the Syria resolution.
    .
    The same may not be as true of the domestic BBC news programmes where the fall-out from Gilligan is still emasculating editorial decisions.

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