Ron Colone: On the subject of all those scars


We had some friends over for dinner the other night and, naturally, during the course of the conversation, as we were eating and drinking and relaxing around the table, we started sharing personal stories; in particular, ones that involved bizarre coincidences.

Like meeting someone halfway around the world who grew up on the next block from you;

Like finding out that a student in the class you’re teaching is a close relative of the family that took you in and housed you and fed you many years ago while traveling in a foreign country;

Like seeing someone walking down the street wearing the one-of-a-kind bowling shirt you donated to the Goodwill store — in another state;

Like walking into a bar and grill in a small town in the middle of the country and seeing somebody playing the guitar you once owned;

Like getting a sign, a premonition, of someone who then calls, or appears, or dies.

“How does this stuff happen?” exclaimed one of the guests. “I don’t understand it!”

“It’s synchronicity,” I said, as if that explained anything.

“I know that,” he said, “but how? Why? I mean, if I had turned left instead of right, or had I gone to the bar next to the hotel instead of the one across the street, none of this stuff would’ve happened.” To which I answered, “because we are conductors of synchronicity.”

I hadn’t thought about it like that before, but I posed the idea that just as some materials conduct electricity and some don’t, likewise, some people are conductors of amazing coincidences.

“Now that makes sense to me,” he said.

I don’t know if it does or doesn’t, but if we are to give any consideration at all to the notion of "conductors of synchronicity," then perhaps it is worth taking a look at: What makes something a conductor of electricity?

For one, all conductors allow the flow of electrons within and through them. By contrast, insulators, which are not good conductors, resist the flow of electrons within and through them.

If we make a direct analogy, it would seem to suggest that the occurrence of remarkable events, and how often we experience them in our lives, may depend on whether we allow or resist the flow. Only in this case, it’s not a flow of electrons we’re talking about. So what then? I’m going to say liveliness, wonder and meaningful connections.

This raises the question: Can we affect our status or designation as conductors, or is it a characteristic trait, like eye color and hair color?

In physical matter, electrical conductivity is a characteristic property, but we are more than just physical matter; we are thoughts and feelings and memories and imagination, and we, at least potentially, possess the capacity for free will. Besides, even in physical matter there are factors that affect conductivity, such as temperature. What if, similarly, there are factors that affect the experience of synchronicity in our lives?

Attitude comes to mind, for I can easily conceive of a mechanism by which desire plays a role and how actively looking for connections might determine whether or not we find them.

Had each of us, in the incidents we related, not probed for information with questions about where and when and which and how, then we might not have ever found out about these amazing connections. And had we never found out, would that make them any less amazing?

The answer, I think, is “Yes,” for if these things were not known, then they could not be recalled and related, shared over dinner with friends, and that would make for a little less wonder in the world.

This, for me, represents a spontaneously-arrived-at (if not unrelated) insight, in support of the idea that reality needs a witness, and the sound of a tree falling in the forest requires an ear to hear it.

Ron Colone can be reached at

Recommended for you

Load comments