|Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #13
Exegesis Digest Tue, 16 Feb 1999
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 19:47:02 -0800
From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Silence here is sad.
It is interesting to note that even though this email list has a subscriber base in the low three figures (so I've been given to understand), there are long periods of inactivity. Does that mean that everyone is waiting to listen to what someone else has to say? What does that have to say about the subject of astrological theory and philosophy? Is it unimportant? Is it ineffable? Unknowable? Irrelevant? What???
Nevertheless (and not because I have nothing else to do), I shall persevere.
At this point, it appears that we have established a few insights that are of value, I think. The original question in this present thread, however, is still unanswered.
What appears to be true:
1) There *is* an astrological "mechanism", a function, if you will, by which celestial configurations are linked to terrestrial phenomena. Although it would be easy to assume that this function is of a cause-effect nature, it seems prudent to avoid doing so. The reason we know that the function exists is because it is necessary to use an ephemeris to practice astrology, which means that a knowledge of the celestial configurations is primary to the process. If this were not true, then a random sort placement of the planets, etc. would serve dependably, and if the tradition of astrology has any validity at all, this is not the case.
2) As a part of the terrestrial sphere, we ourselves are part of that function, at least to the extent that we can be aware of the influence of the effect, and especially if we magnify that effect in any way by our behavior, etc. Even if there is no awareness, it must be assumed that we are affected, and so should be able to discern, somehow, something of the experience thereof. Of most relevance to the bulk of the astrological community of practitioners is the probability that such awareness not only does exist, but can be enhanced and cultivated by astrological practice. The result is that, for very many people, it is the *experience* of the astrological effect that *is* the essence of astrology. Such an assumption appears to be a commonly held article of faith, and apparently not without solid basis. Rog has made a compelling case for this.
2a) It seems that most practitioners are satisfied to limit themselves to the astrological investigation of the human experience of the astrological effect, leaving it at least tacitly, if not explicitly, understood that they are not interested in pursuing more fundamental astrological issues. We are left with the impression that most practitioners, therefore, are content that astrology remain, at least in most common usage, a subset of psychology.
3) It is still not clear whether or not the presence of sentience (life?) is required for the astrological mechanism to function.
Historically, astrology has yielded to science in the effort to discover what the astrological mechanism(s) might be. The function of the Moon in the affairs of earth are well understood in large part, primarily as a result of the discernment of the existence of the gravitational effect. The function of the Sun is understood as well, primarily as a result of both gravity and EM (radiation=heat). As these discoveries occur, they are wrested from the realm of astrology and placed within the body of science; the reasons for this are of central concern to astrology and astrologers. I suggest that a rigorous interpretation of the word astrology mandates the inclusion of *all* such effects, whether or not they are understood by science. Astronomy concerns itself with the stars (and planets) in their own right, and should not have oversight of how they affect the earth, which is the concern of astrology.
I suggest that the question I have put is at or close to the center of this issue, and as such, should be of a nature that can be addressed by science on behalf of astrology. If it can be determined that the astrological construct can derive significance concerning phenomena involving *non*organic matter on earth, we can begin to suppose that astrology has obj ective existence apart from the empowerment we tender the astrological construct itself; we can contemplate the proposition that we did *not* invent astrology (and the mechanisms thereof) but did in fact discover it's existence and develop a means of gaining insight into its significance in our lives.
If this can be done, then we can begin to use good science in the investigation of the nature of astrology. We can use data the can be demonstrated repeatedly as matters of fact to search for insights that can yield testable hypotheses, and at that point, we can argue on solid ground that we must be accepted as appropriate for scientific consideration. When we can do that, we can look the rest of the world in the eye and say: "Yeah, we *don't* know, but we *are* working on it!" And we can command the respect of the general public as a result.
And, of course, there's one other thing that, as far as I'm concerned, is of profound importance: we *may* finally begin to have some sense of when we do and when we do not know what the hell we're talking about!!!
So again I ask: does astrology require life (indeed, does it require human life), or can it be discerned in the absence thereof? Mary Downing has asserted that it does not. Most others either disagree or consider the question of little concern. Is there *anyone* out there who is willing to step forward and look at this with me. Is there anyone who can see why the question has value?
Are we to allow astrology as a fundamental concept to disappear, absorbed by a recently developed subdiscipline of medicine? Are we ready to acknowledge that astrology has no inherent and objective validity in its own right, that it is totally subsumed in a particular usage? It would seem so!! If this is the case, then why don't we rename this practice astropsychology, or some such?
Silence here is sad.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 4 Issue 13
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