Exegesis Volume 08 Issue #011

In This Issue:

From: Bill Sheeran
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V8 #10 - Joan

From: "Jan Sar"
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V8 #7

Exegesis Digest Wed, 06 Aug 2003

From: Bill Sheeran
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V8 #10 - Joan
Date: Thu, 07 Aug 2003 00:56:05 +0100

Joan wrote::

 > >Yes, I tested astrology.

Hello again Joan I'm not sure this is quite the same thing as practising it. I suppose though that it is a Catch-22 type of situation. In the sense that those who practise will often be doing so because their experience of astrology passed whatever tests they set. That's certainly true for me. My tests were based on taking astrology on its own terms rather than trying to fit it into some other framework. I imagine my consciousness must be suited to it, as I find it extremely useful.

 > >If it depends on the astrologer, then there are a=20
 > >lot of very bad ones.=20

This is true for any discipline - the best are always in the minority. Creative scientists are rare animals too. They are conspicuous by the extent to which they use their imaginations.

 > >However, historical and alchemical aspects are interesting.

I would wager that there were just as many very bad astrologers in the golden days of astrology as there are now. Are you interested in the human capacity for delusion? I'm wondering on what level you find the historical aspects of astrology interesting. =20
 > >
 > >I am very interested in the archetypes. I don't think I have seen that=20
 > >discussion here.=20

Check out the archives. If you are interested in archetypes and think they are significant in terms of reality as we experience it, I think you will be hard pushed to find a tradition which gives such a rich language for exploring the emergence of archetypal forms in phenomena as astrology. That's one of the reasons why Jung was interested in it, and why James Hillman gives astrology the time of day.=20

 > >This list has been very quiet. I have heard the zodiac=20
 > >relates to archetypes in the form of the sons of Jacob (the 12 tribes of= =20
 > >Israel) and to the 12 apostles.=20

These are relatively superficial cultural mappings onto a cosmic framework. In this respect and apart from anything else, the inexact but nevertheless real division of the year into 12 months (or moons) is worth reflecting on. For example, Israel (Sun) divided into 12 Tribes (Moons). Or Jesus (Sun) and his 12 Apostles (Moons).=20

 > >In addition, would you define "postmodern"?

There isn't a strict definition of 'postmodern'. I think it was first used in the context of architectural style and aesthetics, and is best considered at this stage as a wide ranging cultural mindset that encompasses varying attitudes which have one thing in common - a scepticism towards certain philosophical implications and consequences of modernity (i.e. from the 17th century to the 20th), humanism and various fruits of the Enlightenment project. Despite this, it is not retrogressive=20

Depending on where you're coming from, different postmodern themes loom large. For example while the Enlightenment focused on the central cultural importance of the individual (giving rise to positive developments such as the abolition of slavery), a postmodern sociologist would critique the detrimental impact of individualism (and its off-shoot liberal free market capitalism) on community. They would reject the notion that western values are inherently superior to any others and extol the virtues of adopting an approach which acknowledges the value of other traditions (multiculturalism).=20

Another feature would be scepticism concerning the value of over-arching and all-encompassing theories (Grand Narratives such as Marxism, Christianity, scientific materialism and so on) which present certainties and absolutes while at the same time excluding alternative perspectives. In this respect, postmodernism is refractory to dualism, which is a consequence of certainty of belief. A postmodern Christian would accept that Islam has a spiritual validity, for example .=20

In science and mathematics, postmodernism emerges by default due to the recognition during the latter half of the 20th century (though the seeds were sown in 1892/3 by Henri Poincar=E9) that the non-linearity in the dynamics of reality ensures that certainty is unattainable and reality is ultimately unknowable. Postmodern scientists would be working in fields which make use of Chaos and Complexity theories, for example. Symptoms of the impact of postmodern science would be the discrediting of reductionist and objectivist perspectives.

Postmodern ideas generate a very strong critical response, and a lot of it is either thought provoking or quite valid. An equal amount is reactionary, fear based, and prone to exhibit wilful misunderstanding. It is often argued that the effective deconstruction of objectivism theoretically has created a space where an unbridled relativism can flourish. Should this state ever be attained (an impossibility in my opinion, just like absolute objectivity), society would be without morals and without any concept of stable truths or anchoring points. The tone would be anarchy and chaos - the end of civilisation as we know it, etc. I would tend to trust the natural order of things, which indicates that as a norm, the emergence of alternatives with functional value arise on the basis of self-organisational dynamics coupled to cultural selection pressures.=20

As for astrology, among other things a postmodern astrologer would ask questions about the nature of astrology's predictive power and inhabit a middle ground between certainty and total unpredictability. Instead of attempting to predict end states, the goal is to make statements about future system behaviour. Attention becomes focused on the importance of context, scale, and the ambiguity which is an innate aspect of symbol interpretation. The tendency to slip into literalism would be avoided as much as possible, and astrology's abstract nature would move to the fore in consciousness. For example, planetary symbols would be considered as referring to co-ordinates in a framework rather than to physical entities. And so on.

Naturally, within the astrological community this kind of approach has its critics too. Which reflects the dialogue occuring in many other fields of discourse in society.=20

 > >And finally, I do have a list, where we discuss all sorts of things, but= the=20
 > >main focus is calendars, myth, astronomy, and time history. =20

All very interesting areas. Do any of your list members cross the line and consider the experience of time and change in subjective and qualitative terms? Are they interested in the perception of cultural climates (zeitgeists) for example, such as the counter-cultural movement during the mid 1960s? If so, you might like to suggest they take a look at astrology.=20

 > >FYI, in view of the interesting semiotics, here is an article relating = time=20
 > >and physics.
 > >http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-07/icc-gwi072703.php

That's a very interesting article given what I've just written (prior to accessing the link) about time and subjectivity!.=20

I thought these sentences were intriguing:

"There's no such thing as an instant in time or present moment in nature. It's something entirely subjective that we project onto the world around us. That is, it's the outcome of brain function and consciousness."=20

This is not too far removed from an imaginal notion I entertain; that what we experience as time is an emergent property of change (as mentioned in my last post to Dennis). That change (or what Peter Lynds calls continuity) is primary and the time sensibility is constructed by consciousness. Hence my interest in cognition in relation to the astrologer's process.

By the way, that article is quintessentially postmodern.

 > >If our view of time changes, could that change things=20
 > >associated with time? I just read somewhere that time evolved into the=20
 > >present linear model, but I can't quite perceive how another view would=20
 > >work.

Well, Peter Lynds' paper suggests that the evolution of time sensibility (and therefore its modelling) is a subjective process, So the ability to conceive of time systems is a function of consciousness.

If you mean linear time as in 'a time-flow heading in one direction', that evolved as I recall from an earlier cyclical time sensibility (the 'Myth of the Eternal Return). Time has only been perceived solely in quantitative terms for a few hundred years. Looks like that is about to be re-appraised if Lynds' theory gains acceptance. As soon as subjectivity is in the frame, the consideration of quality moves closer.=20

At some stage during this century, astrology is going to attract a lot of attention.



From: "Jan Sar"
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V8 #7
Date: Thu, 07 Aug 2003 03:29:47 +0000

...this is in answer to Digest V8 #7...

There may be many different points of view and anyone who is seriously involved in this 'funny' subject of astrology will have their own unique experiences of it. Within this group of individuals, we have a small number who we might say are a bit eccentric. We may leave them to one side; they do not represent a majority. How about first trying to answer the questions, whom is it we could call an 'astrologer,' how is one accepted as such? We have to decide if everyone who is capable of setting up a horoscope should be called thus. In our present day this could be almost anyone with a computer, or a popular handbook - both which come with interpretations. Also, is this perhaps a person whose main objective is to make a living from astrology? Is this a Fortune-teller? What qualifies one to the title of astrologer? Who is most able to make related decisions? What should an astrologer know? Or, should they as well, be psychic? Let us leave all this psychic 'business' to one side. In my opinion this is not what makes an astrologer - even a good car mechanic should be to a certain extent "psychic", along with so many other so called regular professions. There are very few books on the subject we may consider worth reading - books that are trying to approach astrology on a more serious level are not published, as there is relatively no market for them. We should not put all the blame on the person who is unguided, who works or his/her own or is trying to copy what someone else has just mindlessly repeated. “Everything you've heard about astrology is nonsense, just like those newspaper sun sign 'horoscopes' on the funny pages. (They're right where they belong!) You share your sun sign with about a half-billion other people, which is why sun signs so richly deserve their 'for entertainment only' disclaimer. Take it from a certified professional astrologer: what generally passes for astrology today is a sham.” (Richard Nolle, astrol.) It is worth repeating: "What generally passes for astrology today is a sham"... and frequently this is the basis for all the How-to's... We also have to ask the questions: 'who is attracted to this subject, who will study it? What are the educational bases, the expected readiness and the understanding of other subjects central to life, of this person?' Astrology encompasses more problems than "will he love me, or not?" or "will I win a million?" I have had a unique chance to get involved in astrology in two entirely different surroundings, practicing in Canada and lecturing in Poland. In short: there is a general lack, everywhere, among participants. Among those with both some educational background and interest in learning. People are more looking for a magic formula, for the miraculous. 'Harry Potter' is nothing new here; some are unhappy people, some have lost direction in life, others want to have a feeling of power and to be able to say to others what they know and think ...and so on and so on. Can we, under such circumstances, think and talk about 'serious astrology?'

Jan-Sar Skapski

Canada - 1238 Premier St., North Vancouver, BC, V7J-2H4 tel: (604) 987-6237 Poland - ul. Lubicz32/8, 31-512 Krakow, tel: (012) 431-1036

 > >From: Listar
 > >Reply-To: Exegesis List
 > >To: exegesis digest users
 > >Subject: exegesis Digest V8 #7
 > >Date: Sat, 02 Aug 2003 22:45:01 -0500 (EST)
 > >
 > >exegesis Digest Sat, 02 Aug 2003 Volume: 08 Issue: 007
 > >
 > >In This Issue:
 > >#1: From: "Dennis Frank"
 > >Subject: [e] reflections on the status quo
 > >
 > >----------------------------------------------------------------------
 > >
 > >From: "Dennis Frank"
 > >Subject: [e] reflections on the status quo
 > >Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2003 16:39:21 +1200
 > >
 > >The current hiatus in this mailing list has been even longer than usual, so
 > >I'll toss in a few meandering reflections that may give the list at least a
 > >semblance of life.
 > >
 > >

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End of exegesis Digest V8 #11

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