Exegesis Issue #14

Exegesis Digest Sun, 05 May 1996 Volume 1 Issue 14


Date: Sat, 4 May 1996 19:14:21 +0000
From: "Francis G. Kostella" <fgk@ix16.ix.netcom.com>
Subject: Re: Dale's "Rhythm" post in Issue #11

In Issue #11, Dale Huckeby wrote: [Dale's message]

A consideration of the diurnal cycle might help clarify the question of causation. Does sunrise cause us to want to get up? In a way it does, but would we want to say that the sun beams down wakefulness or would it make more sense to say that we've _evolved_ to become sleepy or wakeful on a 24 hour schedule?

I question how universal is the "24 hour schedule" in most people's lives. I, for one, work on a 25+ hour schedule and constantly need to correct my pattern to match the rest of the human world. Some of my tangential reading suggests that 24 hour-day/night pattern of modern society is perhaps not the norm.

Is the "24 hour schedule" a learned pattern? Or is it somatic? At which point can we discern the workings of the social structure (i.e., the agrarian society, the industrial society) in the diurnal cycle?

In the latter case the sun can be said to time the cycle but is _not_ the source of its content.

It is not clear from your remarks WHY this should be the case. If I assume that the 24 hour schedule is "natural" in humankind, then why cannot I assume that the Sun is NOT the source of the pattern? That is, can we not say that the Sun does indeed "beam down" light, which causes wakefulness or sleepiness? Just because we have some degree of control over our sleep patterns does not mean that the Sun has none.

Later, you remark that it "a condition that life has adapted to", but life has also adapted to the mixture of gasses in the atmosphere. Why should light be a factor in astrology, but the level of Nitrogen not?

The source of its content would be biological evolution.

But that's no explanation to me. It is not clear to me that "biological evolution" means anything beyond a description of how species change over time. And it is a theory still hotly debated. Where the evidence that "rhythm" is an evolutionary input? I don't doubt that such evidence may exist, but invoking "biological evolution" is an appeal to vague authority to my eyes. I'm not a biologist, and have yet to hear anything that would convince me that the historicism/scientism view of "evolution" is anything beyond a nice tale for "keeping the masses in line".

And astrology is not limited to biological processes.

So far as I know, we don't use radiation or any other physical manifestation of Mars or the other planets in a similar fashion.

Right, and here is where the real problems begin.

Yet I believe we do manifest rhythms that correspond to their movements.

Yes, we're all astrologers and subscribe to this idea, albeit worded differently in some cases. To borrow a "mode" from Ken, this is axiomatic to astrology.

With this in mind I think it's worth postulating that life needs rhythm in order to live. How can processes dovetail in their timing so as to coordinate with one another unless they're organized in time? But if they are how does life know when the cycles are supposed to turn? How does life keep time? My supposition is that life *uses* planetary rhythms as a temporal skeleton around which to organize itself. Thus we have not only 24 hour and 28 day rhythms, but also 22 1/2 months, 12 years, 29 1/2 years, etc. rhythms.

But how can "life", which you do not clearly define, "use" something like planetary rhythms? The implication is that "life" has some ability to grasp what is at hand and apply it to a "purpose".

Now, the patterns of the Sun and Moon, as applied to the natural cycles of seasons and tides, which *do* have some physical basis, are easy to see. But why would "life" choose Mars? We do not know of blatant physical manifestations of Mars, so why would "life", which one assumes would only use what is available in the environment, choose to use the Mars cycle as opposed to the Sunspot cycle, or any other recurring pattern? The implication is that "life" finds special significance in the cycles of Mars, enough so that it emphasizes it over other, more blatant, cyclic occurrences.

From this perspective Saturn's effects aren't intrinsic to Saturn itself but are simply the result of evolution developing processes which match that wavelength. If the planetary periods were different the periods which characterize life on earth would also be different. Nor are the rhythms that correspond to Saturn's periodicity the only ones that _could_ have evolved. If the evolutionary clock were set back to zero we'd again evolve a temporally (and functionally) coordinated set of processes, but not the same ones. Finally, this view assumes that organisms are able to "see" the planets in some sense and track their movements, but is agnostic with respect to how they do so.

Are you suggesting that it is all accidental? That through some mysterious means all the important cycles *just happen to* correspond to the planetary cycles? As I said, I'm skeptical about evolution, why should planetary cycles be important and not some other arbitrary rhythm? To me this implies a causal connection. But we've already (in this thread) dismissed "influences". From here, it looks like a restatement of the problem, not an answer to the problem.

If the "clock" were reset why would the EXACT same patterns NOT emerge again? If the development of rhythm tended toward the planetary cycles then how can they not do so again? If the development of rhythm tends toward some arbitrary pattern, that just so happens to correspond to our planetary cycles, then why study the planetary cycles and not the "essential" rhythm that would be behind the rhythm in any case?

And "organisms are able to 'see'" and "track" the planets seems like a description of "influence", even if this seeing is "agnostic". Again, this seems to be a restatement of the problem of "influences". We can already say "there is an influence at work, but we do not know how it operates, or what exactly it is; we are agnostic to how this occurs and accept this as an axiom", why do we need to posit "the rhythm supposition" if it does not improve upon this?

Part of the difficulty in our being able to imagine an adequate theory of how astrology _could_ work is our habit of associating with a given chart those events and developments that _affect_ that person rather than those events and developments that are in some way outcomes of processes _centered_ in that person.

Ah, but it is difficult to say what is "centered" in the person and what is not. Descartes be damned, I see no fine distinction between internal and external. I was sitting at my desk last Spring, looking out the window when a bolt of lightning struck the big tree that my window frames. Did the tree have a Uranus transit? Was it important to the tree? It sure as hell was significant to me. I can show charts for this event that have personal import and require no stretch of imagination to read. But where's the seed of this event?

If we assume that the developments relevant to a given chart are those developments, and _only_ those developments, that can in some sense be said to derive from the person whose chart it is, _then_ we

It is not clear why the rhythmic patterns should be concerned with people, or simply organisms. The lightning chart was significant, but we never think of lightning as an organism. What I'm getting at here is that astrology deals with things beyond biology, and as such, we need a description beyond "evolution".

can imagine a way astrology could work that doesn't do violence to common sense or existing canons of causation.

"Canons" have been upset before.

p.s. I'll deal with some of the other questions you asked, and some of the implications of the view presented here, in subsequent emails.

Good! I enjoy your posts and look forward to discussing the ideas you've brought up--and playing the Devil's Advocate, too! ;-)



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