Thanks to the excellent Answers With Joe for this concept. It really intrigued us—the nature of coincidences in life and how bizarre they seem. As if it’s more than chance. Such as the case of plum pudding and Monsieur de Fontgibu.
Émile Deschamps & Monsieur de Fontgibu
Émile Deschamps (1791-1871) was a French poet. He made an incredible claim in his autobiography, that he encountered an Englishman on every occasion he came across plum pudding.
This is covered in the above clip at 6:50 onwards—point nine on the list. But the story goes as follows:
- In 1805, Deschamps received some plum pudding from a man called Monsieur de Fontgibu (he was, apparently, English).
- A decade later in Paris, the poet went into a restaurant after seeing plum pudding advertised. Remembering the moment from 10 years previously, he fancied trying some. But the restaurant was out, the last piece going to Monsieur de Fontgibu who was eating it merrily before Deschamps.
- In 1832, at a dinner party, he saw plum pudding on the menu. He remarked to a friend he only needed Monsieur de Fontgibu around to make the moment complete. The Englishman then immediately walked into the room having arrived at the wrong address.
Deschamps apparently exclaimed:
“Three times in my life have I eaten plum pudding, and three times have I seen Monsieur de Fontgibu! A fourth time I should feel capable of anything… or capable of nothing!”
Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung (1875-1961) wrote of such incidents. He introduced the parapsychological concept of synchronicity.
It theorises that events are meaningful coincidences when they happen with no causation, but are related in some way. Synchronicity is, basically, a meaningful coincidence in time.
His 1952 work Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle covers the concept—if you’re interested in reading it. In the work he claimed:
“Since psyche and matter are contained in one and the same world, and moreover are in continuous contact with one another and ultimately rest on irrepresentable, transcendental factors, it is not only possible but fairly probable, even, that psyche and matter are two different aspects of one and the same thing. The synchronicity phenomenon point, it seems to me, in this direction, for they show that the nonpsychic can behave like the psychic, and vice versa, without there being any causal connection between them.”
Now you can claim Jung is a bit stupid if you want, that’s if you disagree with him (Well, why not? We once saw someone online claim Stephen Hawking was stupid due to his atheistic leanings).
Jung used various examples in his work and the case of Monsieur de Fontgibu was one of them.
Should we factor in Deschamp’s memory on this? Time can distort the true nature of events. But as Joe Scott’s video demonstrates, far stranger coincidences have occurred.
And we have an example from our lives. Several years ago, our friends travelled to Paris. We were supposed to go, but after another alien abduction we were deep in space so couldn’t.
We had intended to meet our friends in Paris and had discussed this with our intended travelling troop.
With us not there, that meeting was seemingly over. However, our friends just happened to bump into the Parisian friends who we’d talked about. After chatting it dawned on them they all knew Mr. Wapojif. A fine chinwag followed.
Happily, ever since a long friendship between the sets of friends has blossomed.
It may seem like a remarkable chance, but various factors are there to consider. It was at a major Tour de France event in the centre of Paris, it just so happened they were standing near to each other.
There are mathematical equations for this sort of thing, but we’re not going into that! We’re far too dumb.
But in the 1973 Princeton University press editorial preface of Jung’s book it states:
“When a young man, Jung saw a solid oak table suddenly split right across. Soon afterwards a strong steel knife broke in pieces for no apparent reason. His superstitious mother, who also witnessed both these events, looked at him significantly, and this made Jung wonder what it was all about. Later he learned that some of his relatives had been attending seances with a medium: they had been wanting to ask him to join them. For Jung and his mother these occurrences, apparently separate, became linked together in a meaningful way. It was unlikely that the split table and broken knife were caused by the thoughts of his relatives or that the medium was seeking to impress him magically with her powers. However, that these happenings stimulated him to join in the seances and that he subsequently undertook research into occultism bear witness to their effect upon him. Jung introduced the idea of synchronicity to strip off the fantasy, magic, and superstition which surround and are provoked by unpredictable, startling, and impressive events that, like these, appear to be connected. They are simply ‘meaningful coincidences.'”
And there you have it. Think of the coincidences in your life and then think of Carl Jung.
Or just order some plum pudding and wait for Monsieur de Fontgibu to turn up. Shouldn’t take too long.