|Exegesis Volume 3 Issue #25
Exegesis Digest Mon, 09 Mar 1998
Date: Mon, 09 Mar 1998 01:11:35 -0500
From: Jens-Ole Paulin Hare
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #24
Hi! As an astrologer - and a writer - in Aarhus, Denmark, who has just published a minor book on astrology in which I deal with its relation to science I have read the latest contributions to the list with great interest. I find that many astrologers resist this discussion, as if something sacred in astrology would be hurt if it were to 'compete' with scientifical terms. I'm pleased to see that somebody looks at this comparison as a challenge.
It seems to me that this idea about a fundamental difference between art and science was born long after the creation of astrology. Sure there has been a difference in both theory and practice between the two, but nevertheless an astronomer in the 16th Century could also be - and were supposed to be - an astrologer, interpreting the symbols of nature. There were no fundamental distinction between 'exact/objective' knowledge on one hand and 'intuitive/subjective' knowledge on the other hand. And so the difference between art and science (subjective/objective) was not seen as 'natures doing', but rather as a result of 'human weakness'. Isn't this ancient (and common) knowledge what W. Tallman refers to when he says that "any process can produce art in the hands of an artist"?
Asking the question whether astrology is an art or a science may very well be a symptom of not listening close enough to what this ancient 'tool of knowledge' has to tell us. Astrology is founded on symbolic values. This foundation is not (poor) science, nor is it (fine) art. It is a message to both of them that 'nature has to be interpreted' - and thus the distinction between subjectivity and objectivity, on which so much of our modern way of thinking depends, is to be seen as an illusion we create in order to make nature easier to handle. If this message is true relativity reigns, and what you see depends on the methods you choose for your investigation. These are the conditions when looking at the horoscope, and by setting these conditions the horoscope could be said to imitate nature - as a very precise image of our relation with it and our ability to explore it and realize it. And symbolic values from this point of view becomes the appropriate starting point for describing and understanding ourselves and the world around us, whether it be as a scientist or as an artist.
In my (danish) book on astrology I have claimed that astrology can be seen as a science that places no fundamental discrimination between subjectivity and objectivity. The important thing here, I think, is not whether to call it art or science, but to make it possible to define 'science' (or 'art') on astrology's premises - not the other way round. Wasn't it modern science that precluded itself from art by claiming objectivity as a reachable goal and as the only valid rule of conduct for our understanding of nature?
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 3 Issue 25
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