Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #5

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #4

Exegesis Digest Wed, 13 Jan 1999

Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 00:56:48 -0800
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #4

Rog says:

 > William,
 > I'm sorry to have mislead you in some way; I don't agree that there is
 > any astrological *mechanism*......I don't think that there is any astrology
 > in the non-human world. The mechanics of nature certainly seem to exist,
 > that is why we can objectify concepts like DNA with a higher degree of
 > certainty; whereas astrology is a subjectively sensed pattern and thus a
 > case of a more individually structured set of biases at work. And, these
 > biases of an individual's perceptions are the naturally occurring phenomena [snip]

I have acknowledged that, absent any ability to demonstrate the "mechanics of nature" that are responsible for these "subjectively sensed pattern(s)", we are left with exactly what you describe; that does not, however, support the conclusion that they do not exist. It simply means that we cannot demonstrate them.

For many people, the current state of astrology is enough; apparently, you are one. I am not. Have you never wondered why these patterns exist and why they can be sensed? I have.

 > ............................... William...not the imaginary *mechanism* of the
 > *astrology-makes-me-tick-like-a-clock* astrologers.

Well, you have very clearly demonstrated a problem here. Your idea of an astrological mechanism is, as you express it here, entirely deterministic, apparently drawn from the image of a clock mechanism with its inexorable measure of duration. In no way do I intend to imply that an astrological mechanism has any implicit definition. You say that your experience is that of a subtle sensibility to patterns, patterns that seem to correspond to the cycles of the planets (?). What causes those patterns, and why do you sense them rather than note them as a matter of observation, or is that in fact what you have done?

I understand your opinion that the tradition of astrology should be susceptible to testing, and I guess I have to agree that it must be, at least in theory. The question I ask is: if this is possible, then why hasn't it been done? There seems to be some (growing?) concensus that it probably cannot be done for whatever reason; my suspicion is that there are things we don't know, or if we do, we don't see how to use, without which we can't make those tests.

I have asked questions that seems to be too difficult to even consider, it seems. Apparently, astrologers would like astrology to remain a magical practice, such that no one can tell why it functions, if indeed it functions at all. I propose simply that we see what can be done to help it into the realm of science so that it *can* be accepted when the means to do so develops.

There is a valid (I think) notion that until there is some theoretical base upon which an hypothesis can be developed, no test will be useful. And it seems *very* clear that the simple assumption that "astrology works" does *not* constitute such a base.

Finally, I don't think there is sufficient reason to assume that astrology is only a "human phenomenon". Certainly, we have invented the construct itself, but I don't think we have demonstrated that we need to be involved for the phenomenon to manifest. It seems to me that you have chosen your position as one that suits your temperment and is convenient for your world view, and that you have chosen as well to disregard any other. Or am I mistaken?

Mark says:

 > I think you are drifting away from the core issue into matters of
 > astrological lore, such that will not be confirmed or refuted except by
 > massive statistical efforts. The core question is: *if* the astrological
 > phenomenon exists, how is Saturn involved? To the extent this can be
 > answered, perhaps we can see how to understand the astrological lore
 > regarding Saturn. So, no, I don't think this serves the search for the
 > astrological effect, at least at this point.
 > No. It is entirely within the core issue that I started with the
 > Eskimos, progressed to with the Kansan clams, and finished with the
 > Saturn cycle. In the first, there is a direct and measurable physical
 > influence. It made the Eskimos stay up all night playing baseball,
 > whereas I followed my temperate latitude habits. The same physical
 > influence affected me differently from the Eskimos, and also the plants
 > and wildlife. Most people would not call this astrology but perhaps
 > sociology.
 > There is a question about whether the Saturn cycle is coincidence or
 > astrology. Is it real? If you can't answer that you simply do not know
 > enough about astrological phenomena to study it.

Well, that's the question, isn't it? From the astrological perspective, the evidence seems compelling. The cycle has been noted by a number of other writers that have not asserted the astrological language. I can discourse on the various views of the Saturn cycle from pretty far back up to and including Rudhyar... I stopped there, actually, as most of the stuff since then seems to be a rehash of older views. But that doesn't mean that all those observations and opinions actually demonstrate that Saturn is responsible for the 29-30 year cycle; they all rest on the assumption that it *is* responsible.

What if the cycle of Saturn and the cycle of interest here are related, but not by cause and effect? What if there was some "senior" force that is responsible for them both? Are we to conclude that the relationship between that force and these two items of interest (the cycle and the planet) are the same? On what basis do we conclude this?

There are other ways in which this connection can be expressed, ways that have nothing to do with cause and effect. And we haven't a clue (or do we?) about any of these questions!

What do we say to those who ask whether, and if so, how astrology works? Do we tell them that we don't know and don't care? Do we tell them that the question is irrelevant? Do we tell them that it actually doesn't work and that (the practitioner) is a psychic reader? Or do we tell them that we don't know, but we are actively interested in finding out, because our experience is that it *does* in fact work!!

 > This will be my last submission to this List.
 > Mark A. Melton

Mr. Melton decamps, apparently.

Anyone else out there think this subject is worth discussing?



End of Exegesis Digest Volume 4 Issue 5

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