Jung at heart: A little background
I’ve written a few times about what most of us call ‘coincidences’. Maybe I notice them more than I should. But I do. I won’t remind you now of those I’ve covered here in the past. But let me describe a startling coincidence that happened just yesterday.
Early yesterday before breakfast, I checked my e-mails, as I generally do. There was one from the Easton Press notifying me that another of the 100 Greatest Books was on its way. I’ve been collecting these magnificently leather-bound books over the years. I started over two decades ago, stopped for a long period, and rebooted my subscription several years ago.
It was a short e-mail, merely telling me which Great Book was on its way: Anna Karenina. A Tolstoy story. My Thesaurus of Book Digests says “It confirms Tolstoy’s deserved reputation as the master portrayer of the normal.” Which may oddly recommend it in the wake of youknowwho and all his shattered norms. But I digress.
So I had something good arriving in a few days. Nothing else crossed my mind until…
Less than a half-hour later. I have the Tribune delivered except on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays. On Saturday, which it was, I drive over to the gas station and pick it up along with the Sun-Times. This morning was no different.
Back home, I set the table, fed the dog, got the coffee-maker set to brew, and waited for my wife to join me for breakfast. Then I glanced through the papers whose crosswords I ‘d wrestle with after breakfast. I love to read Gene Lyons in the Times. And chuckle at the comics in the Trib.
And then it struck. I checked out “The Argyle Sweater” one of my favorite comics, by Scott Hilburn. It’s a single panel. In it two mice(?) appeared dressed in human clothes, the wife at the open door dragging her luggage with one hand and holding a case with the other, her husband sitting in an armchair smoking a pipe.
The wife: I’m leaving you, Marcus. I can’t live in a laughless marriage any longer.
The husband: [No answer]
He just keeps puffing on his pipe and reading “Anna Karenina”.
My jaw dropped. Another stunning synchronicity! And by itself, a brilliant burlesque of the famous tale of marital infidelity. From the sublime to the ridiculous.
The famous psychologist Carl Jung thought that synchronicities were not to be ignored. They were part of our collective unconscious. They should not be explained away as mere statistical happenstances.
Somewhere in the great beyond he may be smoking his pipe and reading “Anna Karenina again. Who knows?
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