Exegesis Issue #21

Exegesis Digest Mon, 17 Jun 1996 Volume 1 Issue 21


Date: Sun, 16 Jun 1996 18:52:10 +0000
From: "Francis G. Kostella" <fgk@pgh.net>
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V1 #18

On 17 May 96, Joanna M. Ashmun (in Issue 18) wrote:

[Fran:] But I do have a jaundiced view of speculation about human activity before historical records. If they existed for two or four million years does not matter, we know so very little, and seemingly can know so little that I find speculation here useless. No matter what they knew, it is of no use to us if none of that knowledge survived the ages. To my view that era is essentially blank.

This is fascinating in its self-revelation --your declaration that if you can't read about it, then it is blank and void--but it doesn't clarify the questions. How do you know "if none of that knowledge survived the ages"?

That's the essential problem, I can't say WHAT knowledge is pre-historical, in terms of astrology. For all we know, beings from Sirius "revealed" astrology to the ancients, and no observation of the heavens took place at all before this epiphany. Now, I don't think this is the case, I'm just biased that way. But I do think that our "modern" attitude may bias us towards seeing certain things as natural and obvious--that ancient people's created astrology by a mixture of awe, observation, and storytelling about the sky. We don't know if that is the case and this is not the type of thing where we can apply a bit of voltage here and measure the results, we have only bits and pieces of history from which we may attempt to build some structure that seems reasonable to us. My point of view is that we just don't have enough information to say anything useful. We can speculate all we want, but we shouldn't forget that it is speculation.

My take on it is that even cultural things are "natural", *everything* is "natural".

I agree that it appears to be natural for humans to make culture, and that, therefore, the effects of human activity are natural. But that isn't the context Dale used.

Right, and I had hoped that Dale would post a reply to my objections as I find this whole idea of a evolutionary "force" too ambiguous.

The issue here, to me, is that it seems highly unlikely that biological systems, as of yet unspecified, would happen to create an awareness of multiple cycles that correspond to planetary cycles, and that this idea would not be considered the same as claiming that there is some unspecified "planetary beams" that directly create these cycles in the biological systems. It is occult "influences" with a "cycle" interjected between the "influences" and human behaviour.

I'm not exactly sure what this last comment is about, but from my point of view the problem is the "awareness" and not the multiple cycles that might correspond to planetary cycles. There is such great diversity in biological systems that some of them are bound to coincide.

Right, but we are examining the idea that the primary cycles used by astrologers just happen to correspond the primary cycles in the patterning ability of biological systems. Unless I've totally misunderstood Dale, he's suggesting that biological systems "see" the planetary cycles and use them in a big way, not just a few random coincidences.

My remark was not about evolution; it was about: "To me this implies a causal connection." That's where the logic is faulty.

My point is that the planetary cycles, which are very regular (and according to my reading in astronomy, the solar system is so stable that the positions of the planets can be predicted to a high degree over vast stretches of time) and predate the occurance of life, coupled with the dominance of these cycles in the biological systems' "seeing" the planets, suggests a causal connection: different planets, different cycles--same planets, same cycles. The problem is that we don't have a solar system to experiment with.

Evolution as a scientific theory seems pretty reasonable, but the baggage it carries as a creation story and as eugenics is bothering. Yes, I know this is not part of the scientific theory, but it IS part of the real world aspect of evolution--something I cannot ignore. As a "story we tell ourselves about ourselves" I find it damaging.

I understand your reservations here, but this is a moral objection, not a scientific or logical one.

Right, but just to be clear, a moral objection is not invalidated simply because it is not scientific or logical.

We need to discuss the "story we tell ourselves about ourselves" but we need to separate that from discussion to clarify the facts; they can be reunited.

I agree, but this is counter to the whole thrust of the modern scientific approach. Where to start?

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?

"Arbitrary" is probably not what you mean here--or, if it is, for mysake, please specify whose discretionary choice determines this pattern.

You are correct, I apologize for the poor choice of words. I've been contemplating this for a month and haven't come up with a better word than "arbitrary". The fact is, I have no idea "who" is making the choice, or if "who" is not a gross misuse of the language. I think that Dale was talking about some "natural" physical process, but following that trail leads one down a slippery path. The idea that some sort of selection goes on implies some organizing principle. I have no idea what that principle might be.

The thing that matters in this context is how many different chart configurations would you accept as accurately describing the event?

Very few. It must fit the symbolism.

Would you prefer to try listing all the things that won't fit the symbolism?

At one point somebody suggested to me that Rex Bill's book was a dictionary of astrological meaning. They then proceeded to argue about the absurdities of astrology based upon the accelerated combinations of meanings drawn from Bill's book, that is, given 12000 meanings for Saturn, we must find Saturn everywhere. My point is that Bill's book is NOT a dictionary of meaning, but is rather a reference for looking up written associations with any given symbol. That astrologers develop an internal understanding of the symbols that is likely non-verbal, and that part of the process of working with the symbols is to attempt to articulate these nonverbal symbols within a given context. For anyone to list meanings does not guarantee that they will convey anything about the symbols. To list those things that do not accord with a symbol is even more misleading, as, by use of the counting principle, I can simply modify each item to generate another item for the list. I can create "infinite" lists of useless information.

But I've wandered away from the point. I should not have chosen my "lightning" example as that was too personal. My point was that astrology is not limited to natal astrology and that any theory of why astrology works must account for non-natal astrology.

Sorry about the delay in the response, I'd hoped Dale would post his reply, and I got tied up being a full house-husband & working full time. But we've got some help now, so I'll probably respond in a more timely fashion.



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