|Exegesis Volume 3 Issue #7
Exegesis Digest Tue, 27 Jan 1998
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 17:27:30 -0800
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #6
Francis G. Kostella wrote:
> In Volume 3 Issue 2, Debbie G wrote:
> And, in Volume 3 Issue 4, Geo wrote:
> The story is that a few years ago I was involved in a number of intense email
> conversations with astrologers that I felt were much too good not to share. These
> conversations were decidedly NOT about NewAge(tm) astrology,
I'll have to start using that. The worst is that the majority of people (including astrologers) think that the current NewAge(tm) astrology is the only existing form of it!
> but about the collision
> between the modern era and the ancient philosophies surrounding astrology, about the
> history of science and the fall of astrology, about the beautiful culture of astrology and
> lack of respect for astrologers. Well, maybe I'm being dramatic... or romantic, I can't
Perhaps, but you're mainly just addressing important aspects concerning astrology that are far too often ignored (argh!)
> I know that the digest format places a certain burden on participants, but I believe this
> is a good thing. I do not think that the ability to quickly respond to a posting means
> that the quality of writing will improve, in fact, I believe that the exact opposite
> occurs. As much as I desire that the list be a place for ongoing thoughtful conversation,
> I place more emphasis on "thoughtful" and less on "ongoing".
Makes a lot of sense, given to the fact that I know from first hand. Whenever I've been reading a digest by the time it comes to respond, I am much more picky about what I write than if it was individual posts. It was a bit annoying for me at first, but I am slowing beginning to accept it and get used to it.
> What kills off the "flareups", as I
> have noticed, is the second problem.
> There is always some one that posts
> what amounts to a 10,000 word essay,
> that may or may not be any more than
> a diatribe.
> A few points in response: First, a diatribe can be 300 words as well as 10,000. Second, a
> diatribe might be informative and useful (when one doesn't get emotionally attached to
> it). Third, "flareups" and "dieoffs" may be natural parts of the cycle of discussion.
> Finally, the inability of participants to have a topic or conversation survive beyond the
> posting of a diatribe, a long essay, or an extended and verbose conversation is not
> necessarily a condemnation of the "offending" postings. It may simply mean that those who
> stop posting to the thread prefer to only listen or are perhaps not willing to make an
> extra effort to post themselves. A large posting does not "crush" other postings by
> itself, that requires sloth on all our parts.
> A lot of people put a lot of effort into trying to mainstream astrology, or prove that
> their variety is superior, but I've been recently wondering if that approach is completely
> incorrect. Perhaps what astrology needs is to celebrate why it is NOT mainstream. Maybe we
> should celebrate the diversity and subjective value of each unique "school" of astrology.
> Perhaps this is a good thing for astrology, what do people think about that idea?
I completely agree! From what I have seen each form, faintly similar to the way different religions (though I am not about to imply that astrology is a religion!) have their own different view of the 'truth'. Much the same way as different forms of science do.
> My one issue with your writing above is the use of the phrase, "creation of a science to
> support astrology", which I believe puts the cart before the horse. We have no reason to
> believe that we will be able to create a real science out of, or surrounding, that which
> is so clearly not scientific. I suppose my concern is more that the word "science" is such
> a loaded word that it easily causes misinterpretations of meanings where other terminology
> might not do the same. Astrology used to be a science, but the requirements for being a
> science have changed. Instead of constantly raising the confusing issue of what is "real
> science" in order to attach astrology to the form we desire, I propose that we adopt
> neutral language and focus on the issues at hand.
> And I don't subscribe to the idea that the shorter you make a point the better.
> And most teachers frown on the concept of grading essays by tossing them down a flight of
> stairs, under the theory that good ideas weigh no more nor less than bad ideas. The
> suggested method is to read the entire essay itself, THEN draw a conclusion about its
> merits. I've met more than one person who has a lot of interesting things to say, but
> cannot avoid prefacing their writing with a lot of tedious verbiage.
This also applies to scripts or literary works. It drives me insane when certain people just assume it can't be any good because it's only a quarter of an inch thick as well as one that is as thick as the average Webster's dictionary. Every read Kafka's Metamorphosis or Barker's Imajica? Length shows nothing about the quality.
> One need only pick another book from the same genre as comparison, I prefer Einstein's
> "The Evolution of Physics" written in the early 1930s, to see some truly excellent writing
> about a difficult topic. The book is neither small nor condescending and Einstein expects
> you to pay attention. In return he teaches you about why physics became what it was, and
> how the (then) latest theories fit into the scheme. And he does it in a very even-handed,
> clear and respectful manner. Sixty or so years later, and this is still not only a much
> better read than Hawking's book, but will actually teach you something about physics.
> What I am saying is that brevity is only a STYLE POINT and has
> nothing to do with the essential content. Advertising is especially brief, but lacks
> substance. Joyce's "Ulysses" is dense and daunting and very long, but is considered one
> of the great works of literature of the English language. Measuring writing off with a
> ruler simply tells us how many words there are, not how useful or informative the content
> will be, nor how long it will endure. Learning is not about "sound byte" writing. Complex
> ideas require complex treatment. Undecided issues require a lot of discussion and
> attention. Sometimes we have no choice but to plod through a lot of bath water in order
> to see the baby.
Well, you said that much better than I ever could (and tried)!
'The purpose of living is to discover the purpose of living' --Plato
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 00:48:56 +0000
From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #6
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 22:17:27 +0000
From: "Francis G. Kostella"
> My one issue with your writing above is the use of the phrase,
> "creation of a science to support astrology", which I believe puts
> the cart before the horse. We have no reason to believe that we will
> be able to create a real science out of, or surrounding, that which
> is so clearly not scientific. I suppose my concern is more that the
> word "science" is such a loaded word that it easily causes
> misinterpretations of meanings where other terminology might not do
> the same. Astrology used to be a science, but the requirements for
> being a science have changed. Instead of constantly raising the
> confusing issue of what is "real science" in order to attach
> astrology to the form we desire, I propose that we adopt neutral
> language and focus on the issues at hand.
I understand your point and it is probably appropriate from your position as the moderator. That this is so is sad and disheartening to me. What it implies, it seems to me, that we will continue to acknowledge that astrology is a fringe interest of no demonstratable worth in the eyes of the public at large.
That we are expected to quail before one of the fundamental notions of modern times is not a commendation to astrology or astrologers. Until we are ready to take ourselves seriously as members of the modern world and deal with these issues as every other subject of interest or body of knowledge has had to do, we cannot expect anyone else to take us seriously.
You say and I've heard this elsewhere, that astrology *used* to be a science, but is no longer. You say that astrology is clearly not scientific, so that no science can be generated of or for astrology. This is apparently the current agreement by astrologers at all levels of expertise, even those who are published and whose works are well regarded. When I look up the word science in Webster's, I find that it simply refers to a systematic knowledge acquired in an orderly and dependable fashion. If astrology is not a systematic knowledge so acquired, then what is it?
I suggest we would have no astrology if the Greeks had not systematized and organized the study. I suggest we would have no astrology if it had not been submitted to an ongoing testing and development. All of this is part of science, by the basic definition of the word.
What is happening here is that we have permitted the powerful industrial and economic mythology of technical scientism to decree that we are not a legitimate profession and that astrology is not a legitimate study. If we submit to this decree by refusing to address this issue as relevant to astrology, we will be agreeing with their mythology. I, for one, will not do so.
It used to be the church that wanted astrology repressed, and for the same reason. The existence of astrology was a threat to their reality. The church could not duplicate or control the validity of astrological reality, and technical scientism fears that a validation of astrology will falsify its basic premises. Both of these institutions have had the power to cause astrology and astrologers to suffer; nevertheless, the fate of astrology rests in the hands of those of us who will either submit and allow astrology to drift farther into irrelevance, or stand up and bootstrap ourselves into a fuller expression of our potential.
If this list supports psychological mollycoddling of the process of making these hard efforts, those efforts will eventually stagnate into meaninglessness. What we would gain in avoiding this subject is ephemeral comfort, and what we would lose is any chance to contribute to astrology's potential as a major contributor to our world.
> The rules here call only for a clear
> presentation of ideas, such that
> they can be recognized and tested,
> and that they have some basis in
> an accepted and generally well-
> understood foundation of data,
> information and knowledge.
> That's very reasonable, but I think it is hard to avoid the fact
> that astrology tends towards violating a number of "accepted and
> generally well-understood" concepts of the mainstream intellectual
I agree. It is precisely this tendency that promises to make astrology so powerful. The astrological reality does violate some of the more basic deterministic tenets usually thought to have firm basis in modern science. The fact is that those tenets have a firm basis in 19th century scientific philosophy, not modern science.
This is not the same thing as accepted and generally well-understood foundations of data, information and knowledge. Concepts of attributes of objective reality are not the same thing as concepts of subjective meaning and significance.
> Given that, I believe that we must give a bit more leeway
> than would be tolerated in a strictly academic setting.
> since this is not a professional organization I think that we should
> allow participants who think on their feet the luxury of developing
> ideas as the conversation progresses.
This is probably a much better expression of the point I was trying to make to Mr Reder. I suppose the idea of whether or not this is a professional organization isn't really relevant, but I guess I suspect that anyone who professes expertise as an astrologer (can cast and interpret a natal chart?) is seen by the general public as a professional, whether we like it or not.
The idea of participants thinking on their feet is exactly what I had in mind when I warned that this process would not be concise and orderly, that it would be organic and often messy, requiring effort to order and organize the results of these exercises.
> The rule I *try* to apply to
> myself is to not say aloud what I will not defend or at least admit
> may be wrong.
Hear hear!! This rule will do very well. We are all fallible, but there are standards to which we need to aspire, lest we become obstacles to the process.
You have made it clear that this list is for the purpose of discussing a wide range of issues not dealt with elsewhere. You have also suggested strongly that a primary purpose here is to build a bridge to some indeterminate place that will support astrology in modern times and make it relevant in present efforts to understand ourselves and our universe. Are you suggesting that this primary purpose provide a reference point for the relevance of topics of discussion?
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 3 Issue 7
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