English: Hand-colored photograph of Carl Jung ...
Hand-colored photograph of Carl Jung in USA, published in 1910. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know how I missed this survey-style book while doing my doctorate on Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity. Looking through Daimonic Reality today, I was stuck by how it mirrors many of the ideas I’ve been interested in for almost three decades.

Harpur’s commentary may not be stunning but it’s above average.

The author seems a bit hard on Jung, especially in regard to synchronicity. Harpur says that Jung still adheres to an “inner” vs. “outer” worldview. And that his views about the acausality of synchronicity retain a “whiff” of mechanism because for Jung synchonicity is “organized” by an archetype (p. 155).

I picked up on this causality/acausality issue in my Ph.D. thesis on synchronicity (see Synchronicity and Poststructuralism pp. 162-163). But I cut Jung a bit more slack because I felt he had a difficult job to do, talking about synchronicity from 1928- 1961. Back then, Jung had to choose the right words and categories to be effective. So I think he was a bit of a postmodern, “selling” his concept to a largely skeptical audience. If we view it that way, Jung wasn’t so much limited or confused but rather, pioneering and shrewd. — MC