I remember while studying Thoreau in depth, I got a terrible desire to listen to Don Henley music, for no apparent reason. I went out and bought his greatest hits album, in which it stated that he was giving a portion of the proceeds to the Walden Woods Project, to save the woods around Walden Pond from development. It ended up that Henley was the man who started WWP, and Thoreau was his primary “cause.” When I told my girlfriend about this, she said, “That doesn’t surprise me at all. That stuff happens to you all the time.” Maybe not all the time – but it does happen quite a bit.
While reading Jung’s autobiography, I looked through my CD collection and decided to listen to Peter Gabriel’s album Security again – not one I listen to often. I listened to it senior year of college, but have since let it go. There was a decent reason for me picking that album up again – a friend had given me the latest Peter Gabriel offering Scratch My Back. Well, I put the album on, and – amazingly – the first song was clearly based on Jung’s trip to Africa, described in his autobiography!
Drawn across the plainland
To the place that is higher
Drawn into the circle that dances round the fire.
We spit into our hands,
And breathe across the palms,
Raising them up high, held open to the sun.
Further investigation confirmed this.
And then, while naming this post, I settled on Synchronicity, another of Jung’s favorite topics, and put on the Police song just to entertain myself as I wrote – and sure enough, the Police reference Jung clearly in the song.
Jung was fascinated by why this happens. The most basic explanation – which works well enough in this most recent case, is that all this information is in our heads, not accessible to our consciousness, but present enough to subtly direct our impulses. And some just must be luck. But whenever it happens, it always produces the same feeling: “Keep going. You’re on the right path.”