What Is Serendipity?

If you’ve read even a little bit of Jung, you are familiar with the term, “synchronicity“. Wikipedia defines this as, “the experience of two or more events which occur in a meaningful manner, but which are causally inexplicable to the person or persons experiencing them.” Serendipity refers to finding something unexpected where you were not even looking.

Imagine walking on the beach at night, just enjoying the moonlight, looking up at the night sky and just by chance catching a rare full eclipse of the moon. That’s serendipity. Now, imagine this same night was already an especially significant day in your personal life. It could be an anniversary, a wedding night, or a even birthday. This would be a very rare synchrodipity. Your psyche links up all the events, related casually or not. You experience a brief rift or dimple in time.

The historical etymology is very interesting. As with many things mystical, the root of the word comes from Sanskrit – the great spiritual language of the world. This is from the Times of India:

A dictionary defines ‘serendipity’ as: The faculty of making happy chance finds. Serendip, a former name of Ceylon. Horace Walpole coined the word (1754) from the title of the fairy-tale ‘The Three Princes of Serendip’ whose heroes ‘were always making discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of’.

But that’s not the whole story. Serendip is the Arabised (and thence Anglicised) form of the original Sanskrit Swarna Dweepa (the abstract form was created by adding the suffix -ity (-tvam in Sanskrit to make Swarnadweepatvam to mean, literally, ‘gold-island-ness’; swarna (gold) is etymologically related to ‘sovereign’).

Comments (1):

  1. Wilma

    August 2, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    A “dimple” in time???

    Reply

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