Exegesis Volume 07 Issue #091

In This Issue:

From: Dale Huckeby
Subject: [e] Re: Physics, Biology & Astrology

Exegesis Digest Mon, 28 Oct 2002

Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 11:56:18 -0600 (CST)
From: Dale Huckeby
Subject: [e] Re: Physics, Biology & Astrology

On Sat, 26 Oct 2002 Dennis wrote: that I wrote:
 > >>Dennis and I, too, differ about synchronicity. I think those who use
 > >>it tend to perceive it as an explanation when actually it's a request
 > >>for an explanation - these two things go together but we don't know why.

and he responded:
 > >Many astrologers, I agree, cite sychronicity as an explanation without
 > >explaining why it is. Their intuitive recognition suffices for them.
 > >It's clear to me why synchronicity & synchronization go together.

Symbolic aptness appears to be your preferred explanation, but I think it's seriously inadequate.

 > >>The drama in Dennis's metaphorical high-speed photo is the sense of
 > >>aptness, but I think this sense of aptness is misleading, that a better
 > >>guide to whether or not a celestial factor and a terrestrial factor go
 > >>together is that they be observed to do so (regardless of whether or
 > >>not we think they should) over and over again.
 > >
 > >Ideally, I would prefer this too. But I believe this preference is due to
 > >our education. Science taught us that only repeatable things are reliable.
 > >We need to transcend this view, due to its inherent limitations. An event
 > >is categorizable with others if classifying criteria are used - typically
 > >one or more qualitative features. Populations of events are then countable
 > >in the traditional manner, allowing scientific treatment via quantitative
 > >analysis. But, as Rudhyar often pointed out, astrology is based on events
 > >that are qualitative in experience, and unique in their overall quality
 > >composition. Adopting a reductionist approach seems therefore unwise.

Do you expect the sun to rise tomorrow? Have we been expecting it to do so only since the advent of science? Surely the notion that repeatable things are reliable greatly predates science and is part of the bedrock on which it's built. If we know that A occurs only when B occurs and vice versa, then knowing when A or B WILL occur means we also know when the other will occur. If this is not so please explain in plain English why not. Yes, the events we're interested in are complex, and this is why reduction is indispensable. Since what happens at a given time is in its totality absolutely unique, by definition we can't know by experience or observation what it's synchronous with. But transiting Mars hard-angle its natal place, transiting Saturn hard-angle natal Venus, and transiting Jupiter hard-angle the Sun ARE repeatable, and when these and/or other factors coincide with each other it's possible in principle to know what each CONTRIBUTES to the totality of what's going on at that time.

 > >. . .
 > >
 > >>. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . If you want to call whatever the
 > >>baby has been genetically programmed (via evolution) to look for and be
 > >>receptive to "the mother archetype", I have no problem with that.
 > >
 > >What else would you call it?? But I find the aftermath of Jung's use of
 > >the term in psychology to be unsatisfactory, particularly inasmuch as it
 > >contributed to sloppy thinking by astrologers in the '80s.

If "archetype" was used in a more limited fashion, and clearly defined, I might call it that. In the absence of such a desiderata a narrower term or expression, like "genetically programmed receptivity", would be better.

 > >>>If you liken your `motivational pattern' to a web of simultaneous inner
 > >>>promptings, only some of which enter into consciousness at any moment,
 > >>>then each node or nexus in that web represents each astrological archetype
 > >>>(in respect to how it is operating in the context of that time & place).
 > >>
 > >>The pattern in motivational pattern doesn't refer to different transit
 > >>rhythms but to the (possible) complexities of a single one. That is,
 > >>I would refer to the motivational pattern of Saturn transiting hard-angle
 > >>Mercury as a single conceptual entity. Naturally, it won't occur by
 > >>itself, and if you consider where Saturn is in relation to each of the
 > >>natal planets, where Mars is in relation to each of the natal planets,
 > >>etc., all at the same time, then each motivational pattern can be seen as
 > >>a node or nexus in a web. Again, I have no problem with you referring
 > >>to that as an archetype, although I have no such urge myself.
 > >
 > >Hmm, but avoiding the label just begs the question of what produces each
 > >node/nexus in the pattern. Why would one want to refrain from embracing
 > >the opportunity to identify the fundamental agent?

Begs what question? "Archetype" no more explains what's happening than "synchronicity" does. The inner clock congruent with and periodically reset by, say, the Mars/Mars rhythm, IS the fundamental agent. I refrain from embracing the term archetype as a referent because 1) astrologers are all over the map in what they mean by it, and 2) astrologers tend to assume, or act as if they assumed, that by using that term they've made sense of the phenomenon and can stop there.

 > >>>The symbol
 > >>>functions to induce the same meaning in each viewer. It is a medium for
 > >>>sharing communal meaning. Expert opinions seem to differ on whether the
 > >>>sign is functionally equivalent to the symbol. From where I stand, the
 > >>>bipolar relation between symbol & archetype is the main item of structural
 > >>>significance in the psyche.
 > >>
 > >>I think we can go in intricate circles discussing what symbols are,
 > >>when the relevant question for me is how they function in astrological
 > >>usage. I think they mislead the astrologer and subvert empiricism.
 > >
 > >I gather that the field of semiotics emerged by virtue of a growing
 > >agreement by various distinguished academics, not just philosophers, that
 > >certain functional uses of language required clarification - if not
 > >discovery. It may not be easy, and it may seem obscure, but I'm inclined
 > >to now accept that fresh insights are possible when this perspective is
 > >brought to bear on our field of endeavour. I do agree that the use of
 > >symbols by astrologers is often delusional and self-defeating.

Semiotics is indeed an important field, but talking about semiotics to the exclusion of _what astrologers do_ is a formula for obfuscation rather than clarification. Understanding the relation of symbols to the things they represent is one thing, but what astrologers do is symbol-ISM, a special kind of symbol usage that I think subverts a more empirical kind of practice. You illustrate such subversion, in my opinion, when you speak of "transcending" the empirical practice of simply observing which celestial and terrestrial factors regularly coincide with each other in favor of a criterion of aptness which offers no basis for predictability or testability and therefore no means of separating sense from nonsense.

 > >>>Signs are cultural artifacts that represent symbols, I think. However,
 > >>>it is true that some symbols are equated with their signs. Example:
 > >>>Saturn, the archetype, is recognised intuitively once one learns the
 > >>>signs that signal its manifestation in particular circumstances.
 > >>>Crystal, wall, bones, etc. . . .
 > >>
 > >>This is where the problem arises for me. I DON'T think Saturn stands
 > >>for, in any valid and useful sense, crystal, wall, and bones. I prefer
 > >>to observe what typically happens at 6-7 and 28-29, for instance, and
 > >>infer what motivational force is consistent with those developments,
 > >>rather than employ a scattershot of words and images that supposedly
 > >>equal Saturn in some sense. The latter can be and typically are used to
 > >>account for a wide range of events that are otherwise unrelated, not
 > >>part of a natural order.
 > >
 > >Clearly subjective aesthetic considerations make us different in this
 > >respect. I was originally inclined to adopt your empirical stance, probably
 > >due to my scientific education and innate scepticism. What changed? To
 > >rationalise it, perhaps my right brain defeated my left! More precisely, it
 > >put in it its appropriate place; which is not the rule-maker of the
 > >psyche - rather, it is the servant.

I don't think my antipathy for such keywords is a matter of aesthetics. It's a matter of logic. The plasticity in the way we use words - noun, adjective, adverb, different senses - to connect celestial and terrestrial factors, and the plasticity in the wording of our description of the event itself, means that symbolism has the same "function" as a multitude of factors. We can use any chart, so long as we think it's the right one, to account for the event. And we can make any event, again so long as we think it's the right one, fit that chart. I'm not against right- brain thinking, as long as it doesn't involve throwing out left-brain thinking. I think that in my Uranus/Neptune research I was emphasizing the right brain in looking for and seeing a pattern in history, "the same thing" at 171-year intervals, and the left brain in seeing the implications of doing it that way. (You inadvertently contributed to that research, by the way, or did I already tell you that?)

 > >De-conditioning was required (to transcend education) but I eventually
 > >discovered that intuition is a truer guide to what's real than reason or
 > >logic. Recognition of the astrological archetypes is intuitive, once
 > >learnt, it seems to me, much like driving a car. Actually a better
 > >analogy is recognition of faces. Babies learn this real early. Pattern
 > >recognition is the basic modus operandi of the right brain, apparently.

This seems like a deprecation of logic in order to justify a practice that you apparently can't justify logically. As I suggested above, the right brain and the left brain are best used together.

 > >>>The symbol translates the individual experience of the archetype into
 > >>>communal code. It is a vehicle for sharing meaning.
 > >>
 > >>This is what YOU mean, and my problem with it is that I don't think
 > >>astrological symbolism is valid. I still don't know what Patrice means,
 > >>though.
 > >
 > >Well I hope he agrees with my description, but I won't hold my breath. I
 > >don't mind acknowledging that I have been so disgusted with the incompetence
 > >of those writing in the astrological media that I wondered if the symbolism
 > >itself was mere fantasy. I spent some years in the mid-'80s checking out
 > >the possibility. I found that the strongest evidence to support this view
 > >lay in the historical record of astrologers. Is there a baby in the
 > >bath-water? Despite the disinformation both past & present I decided that
 > >there actually is.

The symbol is a vehicle for shared meaning. With symbolism that shared meaning is the illusion of knowledge. Our historical predecessors have shared and passed down the means of creating this illusion. That doesn't seem like evidence to me. There's a baby in the bathwater, but it isn't symbolism. Symbolism is the bathwater. The baby is the empirically discoverable relationships the bathwater obscures.

 > >>Postmodernism as I've seen it is an intellectual fad, not a rigorous
 > >>discipline. The authority of physics is hardly historical, since it has
 > >>changed and continues to change over historical time. It's authority
 > >>is that it works. More to the point, physics is part of the conceptual
 > >
 > >Rocket science. That was my point, mere technology.
 > >
 > >>web called modern science that has been remarkably successful in not
 > >>only describing the phenomenal world but in making predictions that
 > >>actually work out. Quantum physics, despite violating our intuitive
 > >>sense of how things are, has been hugely successful in precisely this
 > >>sense.
 > >
 > >Yeah, yeah, big deal. A discipline that gives a scientific priesthood the
 > >esoteric answers that they are trained to look for. Terrific. Ask people
 > >to tell you how much this enriches their lives by giving you specific
 > >examples.

I don't know what experiences you had as a science trainee that turned you against science, but the fact that you don't like it and/or don't find its output enriching is irrelevant to the question of whether it's good at coming up with answers to questions. I may not be as interested in the questions that interest physicists as I am in the trajectories of human lives and their relationships to planetary periods, and I may not like all aspects of the modern world, but I'm not oblivious to the effectiveness of the modern sciences and have tried to see what makes them effective and how they differ from their earlier, less effective predecessors. That's because I want to know things and want every advantage I can get.

 > >>. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I'd rather say
 > >>that it is astrology that needs to change to fit the rest of the world,
 > >>rather than that the rest of the world must change to fit astrology.
 > >
 > >Surprise, I agree with you here!

Hot damn!

 > >>>. . .
 > >>. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I'm pretty much a proponent of novelty
 > >>and newness, but I don't carry it to the point of thinking New Age razzle-
 > >>dazzle is superior to existing science and deserves to overthrow it. It
 > >
 > >Surely you don't believe I do?? I would've hoped that by now you'd know
 > >me better than that.

You're more substantive than most, and certainly more rigorous, but much of the work you cite approvingly strikes me as fringe science whose most obvious attractions are newness, incompatibility with existing science, and apparent compatibility with various New Age-ish idea systems, including astrology, that are deprecated by mainstream science. That's the general source of my IMPRESSION that you think science needs to change to fit astrology, not vice versa.

 > >>seems to me the bottom line is how we _do_ astrology, not the intellectual
 > >>pyrotechnics we produce when we discuss it, and in that sense, as in your
 > >>earlier Hiroshima example, you seem to me to be defending rather than
 > >>transcending astrology's _ancien regime_ paradigm. You've offered some
 > >
 > >Actually the Hiroshima example was, for me, an illustration of my (unique?)
 > >approach to the subject. Other astrologers always give me feedback to the
 > >effect that such an approach is highly unusual. Even Nick Campion does not
 > >exhibit such fidelity to the facts. I remember publishing a critique of his
 > >(otherwise extremely good) Book of World Horoscopes in 1989 that detailed at
 > >least half a dozen wrong national charts, with specifics to prove each case.
 > >It is very rare for astrologers to be diligent in establishing precise data
 > >for events, getting the chart right is too hard for many, researching major
 > >world events is done by few, and the accurate correlation between event
 > >meaning and planetary alignments achieved by just about nobody. Traditional
 > >astrologers certainly never did. Goddam William Lilly even got the
 > >execution of King Charles I wrong by 2 hours. A major public event in the
 > >city where he lived attended by a large crowd, including people he knew, who
 > >reported the time it happened. Pathetic.

Okay, you see your uniqueness in terms of your rigor. You are in fact far more rigorous than the average traditionalist, but you are no less traditional than they in terms of the logical structure of your approach to interpretation, including the fact that it IS an interpretation and not an observed regularity. Your Uranus-MC Hiroshima-bomb interpretation was also traditional in that the connection between the two was purely verbal, and in your (characteristic of the traditional paradigm) inability to see that because YOU described the event and the symbolism you were in a position to MAKE them fit each other, as I pointed out in detail in Exegesis 4:43.

 > >>nice thoughts about biological clocks in some of your previous posts,
 > >>but I don't see those insights affecting how you actually _do_ astrology.
 > >>How we do astrology as a result of our philosophical analyses is what
 > >>I'm interested in.
 > >
 > >Like Rudhyar, I use astrology as a language. His interpretive style was
 > >too traditional & esoteric for me though. At any time the sun/moon/planets
 > >make a configuration. I have ended up using only multiples of 30 & 45
 > >degrees as significant aspects. Some such transits are in the sky at any
 > >time, & I read them as endowing qualities to that period of time. Each
 > >planet manifests its archetypal affect modified by the archetypal nature
 > >of the sign it is currently in, and each blends its archetypal nature with
 > >that of those it aspects in the manner characteristic of each aspect.

First, I don't think signs exist except as a measuring device, so from my perspective there's nothing there to have an archetypal effect. Second, I don't think each planet has an archetypal effect, either. If that term has any meaning, it's in reference to the RHYTHMS that correspond to the various planetary periods, not to any imaginary effect, archetypal or otherwise, that the planet itself has. I speak of the characteristics or nature of a given rhythm (not planet) or aspect, and it seems to me you're simply using "archetype" as a profound-sounding synonym for such terms.

 > >. . . . . . . . . . The main thing is that the operational configuration
 > >is readily interpreted by means of the right keywords linking into phrases.
 > >That's the utility of the language.

Keywords linking into phrases is a characteristic traditionalism. The utility of language is that it can be used this way and in many other ways, which doesn't mean that this is the most fruitful way to use it.

 > >. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The discipline of the interpreter
 > >is required to emphasise those currently most `influential', the selection
 > >criteria being partly the relative exactitude of aspect, partly the number
 > >of aspects made by each nexus.

Aspect exactitude as an arbiter of significance is also traditional, as is the reduction of astrological practice to the analysis of charts, as is the perception of astrologically meaningful events as point-in-time events (which facilitates the use of charts for everything as a preferred mode of analysis). In all this you are not only traditional but moreso than most astrologers.

 > >. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . When a moment is examined (rather than a
 > >time period) the picture becomes more specific as it usually represents
 > >an event, and the configuration usually aspects the local horizon and/or
 > >meridian, making a more complex reading. Nonethless, application of the
 > >interpretive language is in principle just as simple.

When a MOMENT is examined it's because we already know what the event is and when it happened, otherwise we wouldn't know which moment to examine. When we know what happened, and when it happened, and write the description of both the event and the symbolism (which means they can't help fitting each other if the astrologer is reasonably imaginative), we stack the deck in favor of the appearance of validity. Before the fact, however, that particular moment and that particular event DON'T stand out. All moments seem significant and all events can be made to fit the symbolism, an embarrassment of riches which requires (in terms of the traditional paradigm) that we not try to predict but limit ourselves to accounting for the event after the fact (while not seeing that we could have accounted for any event with any chart). And all of this, which I have previously described as necessary blind spots, is characteristic of the traditional paradigm.

 > >. . .
 > >>>It means that the internal organization has several poles of
 > >>>differentiation, and when it comes a planetary transit, lived as
 > >>>"impressional", just an effect of the astronomical signal on the living,
 > >>>psychic, matter, the representation mind of the astrologer interprets
 > >>>or translates it as a certain meaning.
 > >>
 > >>I would say it's the internal clock that has an effect, that the planet
 > >>merely resets it and originally existed as a periodicity that life was
 > >>able to use as a "temporal template".
 > >
 > >This view seems afflicted by a rather terminal inadequacy: it fails to
 > >incorporate, or even to acknowledge, the dimension of quality. The
 > >temporal cues of the planets are not merely triggers, identical, neuter.

We deal with quality when we discuss the nature of, say, the Saturn age cycle. My point is simply that the planet Saturn is not the source of this quality. The source is evolution, resulting in biopsychological processes with a particular wavelength. What I mean by "a particular wavelength" is that the motives I associate with this rhythm come to the forefront at regular intervals, and recede into the background in between. This rhythmicity, this wavelength, is what differentiates one structure of the psyche from another, for instance the ego from the id, or Maslow's esteem needs (7 1/3 year rhythm) from other need-structures. But the planet that resets a given clock/rhythm, if I'm correct in thinking this happens for more than just diurnal rhythms, does not itself impart any quality to it. The quality is already there, imparted by evolution. If evolution started over from zero, but the planetary periods remained the same, I assume biopsychological processes with wavelengths of 7 days, 3 months, 5 1/2 months, 3 years, 7 1/3 years, etc. would evolve, but they wouldn't be the same processes we have now.

 > >To conclude, I'd like to revisit the issue of apparent planetary
 > >compulsion/organization. I see life as having evolved in attunement with
 > >the temporal environment, and imagine there are biological coordination
 > >systems of which currently know cellular clocks are just the most easily
 > >identified. The psyche obtains unconscious timing cues and qualitative
 > >developmental promptings from these internal sytems, I suspect. This
 > >is the picture of the `planets within', the microcosm, put into
 > >scientifically accessible terms.

Not bad. I agree with the above, if I'm not misunderstanding you.

 > >This "internal organization" (Dale's phrase) seems analogous to, say, a
 > >bicycle's gearing system. When you free-wheel, you exercise your choice
 > >to disengage (the drive power and) the gearing system. This analogous
 > >to exercising your free-will to flow for a time rather than striving or
 > >meshing with circumstances. When society presses demands upon us, or gets
 > >hectic, many of us disengage. Its often a good option for our future
 > >health & success. Sometimes circumstances won't let us do this. That's
 > >fate. Sometimes I have been in this situation and been well aware of the
 > >current planetary configuration seemingly applying compulsion. The
 > >correlation between real-life circumstance & one's expert reading of the
 > >local cosmos tends to impress one (particularly when one seemed on top of
 > >things, in control, confident of managing the tasks and demands of one's
 > >current circumstantial requirements). Perhaps then it is not an either/or
 > >scenario, and complementarity is what applies. The cosmos may seem to
 > >apply compulsion, when our cultural environment presents us with some.
 > >Our internally organized attunement to the cosmos may gear us up for the
 > >demands of the time, or we may not cope, and consequently seek time out.

Your analogy is not a happy one in all respects. I don't think these rhythms can be disengaged. I think certain issues will come to the forefront during the 1 to 2-year period of the Saturn Return, REGARDLESS of what we do about them. Different issues, or discomforts, will come to the forefront at 5 1/2 month Mars intervals, again regardless of what we do about them. The "what we do about them" part is where free will comes in, in my present opinion. External events that impinge upon us, such as losing a job, breaking a leg, or in a more general sense finding ourselves in a given social climate, tend to be filtered through these rhythms. If an athlete breaks a leg during his Saturn Return he might take it as a challenge to overcome, or he might abandon his trade. Grant Lewi felt that free will was maximized during the Saturn Return. I'm inclined to generalize this to all hard-angle transits, to say that during these periods we feel a need to make changes or decisions, and that what we decide determines our "fate" until the next turning point in the cycle. In between hard-angle transits we tend to coast along, continuing in the pattern (in the terms of that rhythm) laid down during the most recent hard-angle transit in that cycle.



End of exegesis Digest V7 #91

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