Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bizarro Synchronicity

If you have experienced synchronicity, an aligning of random, disconnected events into something of possible significance, you are familiar with what Carl Jung’s “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events.” The concept may be best as living theater, in which we are both innocent participant and curious spectator. But tuning in to synchronicities is a fairly harmless way of noting and to some extent honoring, the inexplicable universals, allowing oneself to hear another orchestra section in the great symphony of universal connectedness. While never intend as an operating principle, it has nevertheless found eager discrediting by psychologist’s who dismiss any linking of unlinked events as a psychological disorder. Apophenia, coined by Klaus Conrad in 1958, may want to be the antithesis of synchronicity. But I prefer an equally opposite but considerably more fun reverse concept. This is not the mere absence of serial unrelated events. That’s normal, and requires nothing more than ignorance. How about the series of events that gain meaning by failing to connect as expected? Call it Bizarro Synchronicity.

Recently, the day's planned events included driving a weekend houseguest from Lake Arrowhead to Fullerton where she would take the train to Union Station; dinner with a friend at 5 p.m.; a playwright lecture at 7 p.m.; and a sleep test at 9 p.m. However, that morning, before things could get started, the dinner date was canceled. I attempted to cancel everything and drop my friend at a closer train station but there were no trains and the sleep center would charge a $250 cancellation fee. So, I thought I’d spend the dinner hour using a movie gift certificate abd see “W.” At the station we learned that all trains were running 90 minutes late because a trespasser had been killed on the tracks in Solano Beach. We had dinner instead and I missed the movie. The streets where I usually parked for the lecture had all be turned to "Permit Only," so I went in search of the movie theater. I had the address of the one where the gift certificate could be used, but the Stadium Theatre in Orange, at 1701 Katella, is apparently not in either Orange (across from the stadium) or in Anaheim (near Disneyland). So, I drove to a big cinema near the sleep study office prepared to pay, hoping there would be something of interest. The only one starting near the time of my arrival was . . . “W.” I slipped in only five minutes late and, hunching down to not block others' view, took a seat. After 15 minutes I thought I'd see if there were people behind me, or nearby, as my eyes were now accustomed to the darkness. I looked around at 400 empty seats. I guess it was no surprise that I was the only person in this Orange County theater for Oliver Stone's take on George W. Bush.