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True skepticism does not begin by being anti-anything. The processes of open consideration and examination (i.e., research) will ultimately establish whether something exists or not. ~ Ingo Swann

The Synchronicity of Encountering Jacques Vallee
by Paul H. Smith

How unusual would this be? You are on a visit from America for a few days in a European city of ten million inhabitants. One afternoon early in your stay you stroll down a relatively obscure alley when, quite unexpectedly, you find yourself face to face with a person you know. It happens you were both in town for an event, but the event is now over, you are miles from where you last were together, and there were no further plans to meet (and he is not following you!).

That’s exactly what happened a week ago this past Sunday in the Latin Quarter of Paris, France when Jacques Vallee walked down a crowded, cobblestone alley toward my family and me as we munched on crepes.

There was no mistaking Jacques. Tall, white-haired, with wise, piercing eyes, he seemed as surprised to see me as I was to see him when I spotted him in a clot of vacationers and waved him over with one crepe-filled hand. Jacques, you may recall, is a widely-known pioneer in the computer world, who made important early contributions to the predecessor of today’s Internet. He is also a successful venture capitalist and respected UFO researcher I had wanted my family to meet Jacques, but no opportunity had presented itself. Yet abruptly this chance cropped up in the middle of this unlikely place.

The four of us chatted pleasantly for only a few minutes. Jacques, it turned out, was on his way back to the apartment he still maintains in Paris after a visit to his son and grandchildren. Our encounter could only have happened thanks to a convocation of a wide variety of coincidences working out just right. For him to be walking down that street at precisely the same time we were walking up it would have required him to have left his son’s at just the right time, make the right Metro or bus connections, choose just that precise route out of many possibilities, and have all the necessary traffic and pedestrian crossing lights to turn green or red at the right times.

On our part, we had to have taken just the right amount of time to buy our crepes, to have chosen to walk up just that one out of all the many twisty little cobblestoned ways in the Latin Quarter (of many different directions we had already walked that day) during that particular five-minute window. But this part was only a minor miracle. If not for a particular hiccup in our overall schedule that day we would have been nowhere near that street at the time necessary. We had left our hotel that morning about half-past ten to attend the meetings of the local Mormon congregation, held in a courtyard building just around the corner from the Pompidou Center in the middle of town. But a hand-written sign on the door told us that meetings had unaccountably been canceled – a rarity for Mormon congregations.

Mulling over what to do next, we decided to head south across one branch of the Seine River to the island on which Notre Dame Cathedral stands. A fifteen minute walk brought us to the front doors of the building. We arrived in the middle of Sunday mass, but were allowed to quietly explore the inside periphery of the edifice so long as we and the hundreds of other sightseers didn’t disturb the services. After more than hour of wandering the interior and admiring the remarkable art and architecture, accompanied by ethereal choir and organ music, we exited. Amblling around the outside, we noted the leering gargoyles, ornate windows, and flying buttresses that are standard for a monumental European cathedral. In an almost aimless fashion we found ourselves fully across the river on the Left Bank and growing hungry for crepes. You already know the story from there.

Contemplating this interesting turn of events led me to some thoughts on the nature of coincidence. And not just coincidence, but synchronicity, or “meaningful” coincidence, as psychologist and philosopher C.J. Jung had it.

For a coincidence to happen, the likelihood of it occurring can be as remote as you please–it just can’t be impossible. After all, unlikely coincidences happen all the time; they just aren’t meaningful. Every other encounter we had with someone that day involved a coincidence as well, whether it was the cranky older gentleman in the camelhair coat who feigned offence at my thoughtlessly blocking the narrow sidewalk while waiting for my crepe to be cooked (but who broke into a friendly grin at my apologetic smile) or any one of the school-aged kids on holiday who were milling around through the tight streets enjoying the adventure of being in a city with a history measured in millennia.

What made our encounter with Jacques significant was not the coincidence in it, but the meaningfulness of it. To be sure, the probability of our chance meeting was less negligible than under other circumstances. Jacques and I were, after all, in the same city (something that hadn’t happened since the 2007 Las Vegas remote viewing conference), since we were both invited speakers 


Copyright, 2011, Paul H. Smith, RVIS, Inc.

(May be quoted from or used in its entirety with attribution and link to http://www.rviewer.com)

at the IRIS/IRVA Paris remote viewing conference that had been held the day before (you will hear more about this in a later article). But even at that, the likelihood of our encounter was still very small.

Jacques Vallee in Paris with family members of remote viewer Paul H. Smith

What contributed to the important element, the meaningfulness of it, was the fact that we knew each other; that I had wanted to make him and my family acquainted; and that I had regretted not being able to properly say our farewells after spotty opportunities to visit in the press of all the demands for our attention during the conference.

Did my sense of incompleteness contribute to our synchronistic encounter? Did my desire somehow operate subconsciously to “manage” reality in a way that made this thing happen? Or was non-local awareness, in the form of extrasensory perception – ESP – involved? Perhaps an unspoken, non-aware subliminal communication between Jacques and myself brought our two vectors, which could easily have been otherwise, together in that snap of Time’s finger on that particular Sunday afternoon on a particular street out of the thousands that make up one of the great cities of Europe.

Jung’s idea of synchronicity doesn’t explicitly acknowledge ESP; yet ESP seems implicit in it. Barring the occasional truly coincidental “synchronicity” that bears its meaningfulness only by accident, why couldn’t ESP be a factor in bringing synchronicities to occur? This naturally implies that the universe is at least somewhat arranged so as to allow human consciousness and intention to manipulate it. But then, anyone who has ever seriously been involved in remote viewing already knows that.

Of course, remote viewing, as a form of ESP, is the focus of the majority of what I do. So someone might suggest that I am perhaps just more sensitive to these kind of synchronistic occurrences. Off and on over the past many years I’ve tried to keep a log of the numerous synchronicities I seem to encounter in my life. I clearly notice them when they happen, but quickly forget about them if I don’t write them down (and so far, I’m afraid, there are more gaps than substance in my list, since I so often fail to remember to record them). I really seem to have encountered them more regularly and more often in the years since beginning my long engagement with remote viewing, and I don’t think it is just because I have become more aware of them.

So that brings me to the question: If indeed non-local consciousness is a factor in bringing synchronicities about, might it be possible that they will increasingly happen the more we cultivate our own consciousness and intentionality? By that I don’t mean a studied effort to bring about synchronicities themselves. As with many other subtle human-related phenomena, the trying to make a synchronicity happen is more likely to suppress meaningful coincidences rather than promote them, it seems to me.

Then what else can we do? First, is it desirable, or even a good idea, to encourage synchronicities in our lives? At least for me, the answer is yes. Anything that reminds us that the universe reaches deeper than our paltry science believes or our trivial daily preoccupations allow is beneficial, maybe even vital to our sense of who and what we really are. Synchronicity can add richness to life, and reminds us that, wether we recognize it or not, life does not have to be random, but contains meaning if we can only find it.

So instead of merely trying to “make” synchronicities happen, perhaps we could come from a different angle. Maybe we can merely seek instead to deepen our own connection to non-local awareness. If we extend the depth and breadth of our individual human consciousness, along with the power and strength of our own intentionality, might we open a doorway that is now barely cracked, and invite more of these meaningful coincidences across the threshold and into our lives? All I can be sure of right now is that – for the time being at least – you are likely now to be more aware of your own “Jacques Vallee” moments. And that in itself is progress of sorts, don’t you think?


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