|Exegesis Volume 3 Issue #20
Exegesis Digest Thu, 26 Feb 1998
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 00:36:32 +0000
From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Some questions.
It seems that most astrologers, if those who post on this list are a fair sample, are not interested in being anything more than operators of astrology.
Let me explain: an operator is someone who uses a device or system to perform a task. A driver of an automobile is an operator; the driver need know nothing more than the use of the controls of the device in order to make it function to an intended purpose, the transportation of said operator from one location to another being an example of such a purpose. Deeper knowledge of the automobile may be useful but not necessary to the successful operation of the vehicle.
An astrological operator is someone who uses, ie., performs tasks with, the astrological system for some intended purpose. It is not necessary to have competence beyond the manipulation of the astrological mechanisms and the application of the appropriate astrological lore to be successful as an operator of astrology. In both cases, it is specifically unnecessary to understand the theory or mechanisms of the device or system of interest. We can drive an automobile without understanding why it works, and we can practice astrology without understanding why it works.
Eventually, though, an operator is confronted with some aspect of the device or system that lies beyond the competence of the operator. The most common aspect is probably the malfunction, signified by results obtained that were unexpected. At this point, the operator is required to perform an action that defines the operator's limits of competence.
The operator either a) does not recognize the malfunction and so produces invalid results that may potentially be dangerous, b) recognizes the malfunction and the limits of their competence, terminates the operation, initiating some new sequence of events: 1) calls for assistance, 2) declares the operation impossible at the moment, 3) some other action or lack thereof to indicate such recognition, or c) proceeds to investigate the malfunction with an intent to contribute to its resolution.
The first option may demonstrate a lack of competence as an operator, as a result of lack of skill, poor attitude or lack of experience. The second option demonstrates limitation of competence to the status of operator. The third option demonstrates the possibility that the operator possesses a competence beyond that of simple operation. In most any situation in real life, these options are listed in order from least to most desirable; the third option contains the most promise of a successful conclusion of the operation, as the first contains the least promise.
One might conclude that it is a virtue to possess more skill than that of the operator, though maybe not. In most situations, the device or system is the product of some amount of human effort and energy, such that it is the result of some development in understanding and inventiveness in the field to which the device or system is intended to contribute. Someone, presumably, knows how it works and can fix it if it is broken, modify it if that is appropriate, or assist the operator in achieving resumed operation.
And so we who drive cars know to take them to a mechanic if they have a problem; we know to take them to a gas station for maintenance, we are aware of tires and brakes, exhaust systems that sound loud, and sundry other things about cars that can cause problems in their operation and at least inconvenience, if not worse, in their use. Most of us know because we were taught by others what to do, largely as a matter of following suggestions and learning what does and does not work by the experience of trial and error.
But then there are those of us who know something about the workings of their car, or cars in general, knowledge that extends beyond what is necessary to operate the vehicle. While this knowledge doesn't always guarantee better fortune with the automobile, it seems to better the chance of achieving it. The individual who can actually work on his or her own car is usually in a much better position to deal with its malfunction, such that the process of getting it functional again is likely significantly aided.
But there is another aspect of operation that this extra knowledge usually confers, and that is the ability to discern the appropriate limits of usage, and the more optimum manner of operation within those limits. In the main, this can promote better service of the automobile, but it can also make the difference between success and failure at the boundaries of those limits. And at those boundaries, that knowledge can be a matter of life, rather than death. Knowing what a car can and can't do because of knowledge of how and why it works is something we can all understand. While those of us who don't have this knowledge buffer ourselves by avoiding these extremes, sometimes they are thrust upon us, and more often than not the deeper understanding can make a real difference. And this is something we can understand, as well.
Why, then, is there no value in understanding why and how astrology works? What is the difference between such deeper knowledge in most other activities and that of the practice of astrology? The answer is not at all clear, I suggest.
We may say that this whole line of thought is irrelevant because we believe that no one knows, or perhaps can know, why and how astrology works. That begs the question, I think. The question that I am posing is: would it make any difference in the practice of astrology if the practitioners did, in fact, know something of the whys and hows of astrology? We can say that we don't know, and that's a valid answer (most probably because it appears to be true). What we cannot say is that we know that it would not make a difference.
If it can be shown that a) it makes a difference in most analogous cases, and b) why and how it would do so, why would we assume that it would not in the matter of astrological practice? I suggest that we do so because we don't think that pursuing those whys and hows can bear fruit, and so we don't want to waste our time. I also suspect a deeper reason is because we don't want to admit that we are less than committed to the best interests of astrology itself, and that the suggestion that we would be more diligent in our support of, if not pursuit of, these whys and hows if we *really* were committed to the Art's best interests has more substance than we find comfortable, is certainly something we would not want to admit.
I think a more responsible position for any practising astrologer is the admission that such pursuits are indeed warranted and inherently necessary, even if the practitioner is not disposed to personal involvement. That means that statements belittling the pursuit of astrological philosophy and theory by a practicing astrologer is at least questionable, and I would submit that it demonstrates the possibility of reduced competence on the part of the practitioner/ operator.
In almost any other field I can think of, the attitude that experience is the only necessity for successful operation severely limits if not eventually terminates a professional career. For any device or system, indeed, any field of endeavor, to remain successful, it must dependably treat what it is called upon to address, regardless of any changes of situation or conditions, etc. Anyone with successful operation experience has a ready store of at least anecdotal evidence of the changes and developments in the field of interest. And anyone with such experience can tell you that they have succeeded in proportion to the extent to which they have been able to successfully respond to those changes. And they will most likely be proud to disclose that they have learned somewhat of the whys and hows in order to make that response.
Why does this not apply also to astrology? Can anyone of us explain to the lay person why astrology is exempt from this sort of phenomena? If we cannot, are we then to suggest that this person's question and concern is irrelevant (at least), or an example of the devotee of scientism's kneejerk trashing of astrology (most likely, it is sadly apparent).
Does anyone on this list see these questions as having no relevance here, and if they do, would they be so kind as to demonstrate to me the fallacy of my thinking? Otherwise, I submit that we do not do acceptable diligence for astrology until we accept the appropriateness of astrological philosophy and theoretical research.
It may well be useful to argue the effectiveness of different techniques, but if we don't know why and how they work, I submit that all we are doing is blowing hot air, *unless* we have solid clinical data to support the existence of the question, and the suggested existence of an answer.
I pay a flat rate for connectivity and so bandwidth is only a matter of personal inconvenience for me, but I am not disposed to waste my time dealing in hot air; how much more true this may be for those who do pay for bandwidth, I don't know. Someone else might venture an opinion there.
Can we get on to the task at hand and come up with some constructive ideas as to how we can promote the building of that bridge? I suspect that simple operators will not be interested in making contributions here, but I also suspect that most of the people on this list are far more than just simple operators of the astrological system, whether they know it (or like it), or not.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 3 Issue 20
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