Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gibbs Williams analyses syncronicities

I stumbled onto a fellow named Gibbs Williams through the SYNCHRONICITY web site, and that connection is certainly appropriate. Gibbs is a Ph.D who has devoted a good part of his life studying meaningful coincidences. He's a practicing psychoanalyst with a deep interest in philosophy. He has roots as a de facto Jungian, and he diverged from that path to more deeply explore the pragmatic significance of synchronicities.

audio download / 2 hours long

NOTE: If the audio link is finicky, try refreshing this page. Or, to download directly to your hard-drive, simply click on the DivShare logo (at the right) and then click on the big ARROW labeled "Download Original"

This life-long fascination culminated in his book published earlier this month, Demystifying Meaningful Coincidences (Synchronicities), with the sub-title: The Evolving Self, the Personal Unconscious, and the Creative Process.

Unlike an academic, but very much like Jung, he interjects his own life and his own deeply personal experiences as a framework within this book.

I was good for me to have a conversation with an academic. I am so wrapped up in my creative side, that this was a chance for me to listen as Gibbs outlined a formalized set of ideas surrounding Synchronicities. His conclusions dovetail with my direct experiences.

Despite the presumed academic framework, this might be the most delightful podcast I've ever done. Really lively and insightful.

To my surprise, I found out that Gibbs has worked closely with Budd Hopkins, sitting in on abdutee sessions in the role of therapist.

We both share our impressions of this pioneer in the realm of abduction research. It was very interesting to get Gibbs' opinion of some of the folks involved in the UFO research community. I was hypnotized by Budd in 2007, and not much surfaced, but I found my time with him intensely valuable.
An abbreviated Bio
Gibbs A. Williams. Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst practicing in New York City. His choice of profession is an outgrowth of three major interests - philosophy, depth psychology, and spirituality. He received a B.A. from Columbia University, majoring in philosophy; an M.S. in psychology from Yeshiva University; and a Ph.D. in vocational rehabilitation counseling from New York University. His dissertation topic studied the relationship among male heroin addicts, selected treatment programs, and ego weakness.

His website: Gibbs On-Line

During the discussion we talk about a very interesting paper, ENCOUNTERING ALIEN OTHERNESS by Michael Zimmerman, a philosopher and faculty member at the University of Colorado.

He was interviewed (more formally than this), on the topic of synchronicities on Shrink Wrap Radio (a double pun).
I apologize for a slight audio disturbance in the beginning, the sound gets better during the conversation. I encourage you to listen. We both share some curious stories and we ponder the deeper meaning behind these experiences.


James said...

I had stumbled on the paper 'Encountering Alien Otherness' on the web some time ago.

From that paper:

"Jung's concept of "synchronicity" (an acausal process involving meaningful
coincidence) enables us to acknowledge that the behavior of alien abductors is morally
reprehensible, while also agreeing that abductions may contribute to psychological and
spiritual advancement for humankind. Even if we suppose that the aliens have no regard for
human advancement, there may be something more than accidental about their arrival at this
particular moment, in which humanity is arguably in such dire need of transformation.

The alien-human encounter may have arisen through cosmic processes or patterns that are
not discernible in terms of the history, causal trajectory, or self-understanding of either
aliens or humanity. Nevertheless, through this unanticipated human encounter with a
powerful and possibly evil alien adversary, humankind may rise to a more integrated

Synchronicity is I think a rather 'imposing' concept. Without context it is meaningless and trying to define in some 'universal' fashion proves to be problematic.

Koestler, in 'The Roots of Coincidence' referenced the work of Paul Kammerer and his notion of 'Seriality'. From Wikipedia:

"Kammerer's other passion was collecting coincidences. He published a book with the title Das Gesetz der Serie (The Law of the Series; never translated into English) in which he recounted some 100 anecdotes of coincidences that had led him to formulate his theory of Seriality.

He postulated that all events are connected by waves of seriality. These unknown forces would cause what we would perceive as just the peaks, or groupings and coincidences. Kammerer was known to, for example, make notes in public parks of what numbers of people were passing by, how many carried umbrellas etc. Albert Einstein called the idea of Seriality "interesting, and by no means absurd", while Carl Jung drew upon Kammerer's work in his essay Synchronicity. Koestler reported that, when researching for his biography about Kammerer, he himself was subjected to "a meteor shower" of coincidences - as if Kammerer's ghost were grinning down at him saying, "I told you so!"

Anyway all of this post is intriguing and I look forward to listening to the conversation with Gibbs Williams.

Peter Bernard said...

hahaha you asked the Universe for answers about relationships then almost got crushed by two rutting elk! That's a great story.

Very interesting interview, he has such an oldschool NYC accent, he talks the same as Tim Beckley. Thanks for uploading it!

Red Pill Junkie said...

The interview gave me hope, in the sense that the pain of my god-damned 'Jesus years' will be over eventually ;)

Spell Check Nazi said...

"...analyses syncronicities..."

Perhaps, analyzes synchronicities?

Analyse or analyses is ok, being the older British spelling or derivation, but analyze or analyzes is more common. Less confusing, also, as in the plural of hypothesis being hypotheses, analyses could be misconstrued as plural of analysis, which is different from analyze or analyzes, even though similar.

But you left the "h" out of the second word--see Gibbs Williams book cover image. Just a note. Carry on...

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Gibbs is unique, for sure.

Christopher Knowles said...

This looks great- thanks for uploading this!

Merlyn's Apprentice said...

I love when people take a good hard honest approach to this stuff.

Having had witnesses to some events that have happened in my life, i can say that not all of what i have experienced can be put into the box of "my brain is manifesting these synchronicities and events as a way to explore my deeper self and find my place." but some of that line of thought does still have serious merit.

I will say demystifying these manifested coincidences still does not take away the awe... nor does it take away the feeling that it was orchestrated by "others" (even if that other is a highly creative and immensely intelligent super version / alter ego of my self.

As i am sure you are aware... it is VERY difficult to share synchs as stories. Here is a paraphrased go at one (sorry if i shared it already - i'm starting to lose track of what i have posted):

At somewhere around the age of 19 i stopped weekly at my Grandmother's house to do lawn care, bring her to the grocery store etc. After finishing the lawn i sat and drank a generic cola and stared at this statue she had of the Virgin Mary in her back yard. I went off on some serious internal debate about the reality of saints and demigods etc.

As these thoughts occurred (perhaps the deepest i had ever had at that point in my life) a huge raven swooped down and landed on the statue and cawed at me over and over. It stared into my eyes and i got a sense of its conscious mind. it was very profound.

A few days later i was at my home and was struggling to fit what had happened into my mind. it wasn't "just" a bird. it was constantly at the forefront of my thoughts. I decided (very unlike me for the time) to sit under a large oak tree in our yard and close my eyes and meditate on the bird.

After some time i got up and felt the urge to walk. Not just any walk. i felt the urge to go far. I found myself miles away at a mall and went inside to cool down. I then found myself at a book store. i decided to pick a random aisle and a random book. I picked "The 21 Lessons of Merlyn: A study in Druidic Magic and Lore"

At that point, the only thing i thought i knew was that they had maybe built Stone Henge? i was clueless. It sounded like a fun book so i bought it. It was the first book i picked... and that was my internal agreement.

I got home and started the book. Not two pages into it and there was a scene with a raven (Merlyn) cawing at a boy (Arthur). The synchs didn't end throughout the whole book.

(to be continued - i am exceeding content limit of blog)

Merlyn's Apprentice said...

There was a chapter regarding blue glass filters on candles ... i broke my sunglasses and my friend handed me a spare pair (obnoxious blue lenses)

There was a point in the book where Merlyn handed Arthur a blue stone (the Blue Stone of Ioun) and they discussed placing it under an oak tree (to call Merlyn whenever Arthur needed help)

within the hour my friend handed me a polished bluish / black stone and said "oh hey, check this out. you can have it. i've been meaning to give this to you."

Anyhow... it was just insane. We were rowing across the lake (where my friends and i were vacationing) and i felt like i had been chosen for a giant secret. It was so overwhelming. I started to doubt everything.

Then it happened. I realized that while i was a freshman at college i had painted the entire scene i was now in. The boat. The two figures in the boat (me and my friend) coming out of a stone henge arch. The cabin we were in. All in the painting. There were mountains in the background and i had hidden a face on the mountains. My college room mate had asked me "what's with the face in the mountains?" and i remember i had replied "some wizard i guess. Merlin?"

The painting was not great. I had thrown it out, but i remember the painstaking attention i spent on it and how weird it all seemed and how forced the composition felt cuz i just HAD to get all the elements in.

If THAT has some sort of scientific/psychological explanation... i am all ears. I love psychology. I spent some college electives on the subject because of my interest. I've read Jung / Freud etc. Good luck explaining it without getting a little mystic about it. I mean... i painted the damn painting before it happened. ha! i suppose if you were desperate you could say all those elements were random and i was applying meaning to them post facto... but that sounds like a desperate attempt to cling to a reality that i no longer subscribe to. If you are really desperate you could say i am flat out lying. That's seems desperate as well.