Letters Volume II

To H . J . Barrett

Dear Mr. Barrett, 26 March 1957

Thank you for your interesting letter.

The probability of a very impressive parallelism between individuals is considerable inasmuch as the possibility of divergence and variations is rather limited owing to the fact that we belong to the species Homo sapiens and the subdivision of white man.

Beside the enormous similarity or likeness the differences are so slight that to a complete outsider they almost disappear.

So when you look at a crowd of Chinamen for the first time, they all look the same and you can only make out individual characteristics by a careful scrutiny.

If anybody is born on the same day and possibly in the same hour, he is like a grape of the same vineyard ripening at the same time.

All the grapes of the same site produce about the same wine.

This is the truth stated by astrology and experience since time immemorial.

Thus it is very probable that you have quite a lot of things in common with Mr. Percy who was born on the same day as you.

If you go critically through your list you will find a number of points in common not only with Mr. Percy but with any amount of other individuals (f.i. the Buddhist trend).

There are many contributions to the New Republic, there are also many students at Harvard, and so on.

I regard such a case not at all as a Doppelganger, which would be to me an unaccountable phenomenon, but rather as a peculiar
synchronistic fact, if anything at all.

I am not dense enough to overlook the curious fact of the considerable number of coincidences and particularly not the remarkable fact of swallowing a stone, but I hold that there are quite a number of individuals born at the same time with an equally remarkable biographical likeness to you.

I remember having read a case of a man born in the vicinity of Buckingham Palace on the same day and at the same hour as Edward VII.

His life was the most ridiculous and close-fitting caricature of the King’s

I don’t want to offend you but I should like to call your attention to astrology, which has dealt with such phenomena for about 5000 years.

I don’t know whether you know the little book I have published with the physicist Prof. W. Pauli : Nature and the Psyche, where I make an attempt to cope with phenomena of this kind.

I am afraid it is not quite simple apparently, but there are some physicists that seem to understand it.

In a Swiss journal recently an article appeared about an interesting case of coincidence: a man celebrating his birthday; his wife had given him a new pipe as a present.

He took a walk, sitting down on a bench under a tree.

Another elderly man came along and sat down beside him, smoking the same kind of pipe. Mr. A. drew Mr. B .’s attention to the fact that they both smoked the same pipe, whereupon Mr. B. told him that he was celebrating his birthday on the same date and had received the pipe from his wife.

He introduced himself and it turned out that both had the same Christian name Fritz . – The rest is darkness!

Mr. A. had the feeling that possibly a superior intelligence was
at work.

It would be most desirable to know a lot more about the psychology of the two fellows and what the possible reason was for this coincidence.

Sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 353-355.