Saturday, August 04, 2007


Heading home this afternoon from Evanston, after a wonderful conversation with a friend, my mind strayed randomly to something I read once about Chagall's Self-portrait with Seven Fingers. It was this:

The mysterious extra fingers on his left hand can be explained by a Yiddish saying, whereby to do things with seven fingers means doing something really well and with all one's heart. [1]

Not so random, I guess, because the conversation of the morning was about exactly that: deciding to do a thing and then pouring your whole heart into it. Owning it. Giving it your full talent.

Because to do less it to set yourself up for later regret.

And then tonight, a Flickrite commented randomly on a photo that I posted a couple years back (July of 2005 -- it's rare that photos that deep in the stream receive attention) with a question about provenance. I pulled up the image to answer his question, and realized that here, in the impression of hands left by a Mayan artist around about 1000 B.C.E. -- were seven fingers.

Who knows if the artist intended the seven fingered impression, or if his hand just slipped. But for me, this night -- with Jung as my witness -- I took it to heart as a telling punctuation mark.

[1] From Phaidon's biography: Chagall

Above: Self-portrait with Seven Fingers by Chagall; Mayan artist unknown.


anniemcq said...

Wow. That's eerie.

Lolabola said...

now that's an exciting moment

A said...


that is truly within jung's very specific definition of synchronicity: an internal psychic event (thinking of chagall's seven fingers) and an external correlating event (getting referred back to the old photo of the seven fingered handprint) that appear connected, but for which no rational causal relationship can be established.

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