|Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #41
Exegesis Digest Mon, 31 May 1999
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 00:35:13 -0700
From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #39
> It has long been evident to me that building the bridge between astrology
> and physics requires innovative endeavour in the arena of metaphysics.
> Reality is bipolar in our minds: our personal reality is the reservoir of
> subjective knowledge, and our collective reality is the reservoir of
> (relatively) objective knowledge. Human society is built upon the framework
> of the latter, discounting the validity of the former.
I think I'd argue against this last statement. Very much of the basic construct of any culture rests upon the recognition of the existence of commonly held subjective reality, and one of the basic considerations thereof is that subjective reality is an individual matter. Thus we get the fundamentals of individual interaction that set the boundaries between that which is private and that which is public in nature.
> People have always
> agreed that social reality must be a vehicle for collective wisdom.
> Understanding nature has always been the requisite key to survival.
> Therefore any community's model of nature is a paradigm providing for
> collective security and the definition of reality that prevails in that
> collective. An holistic model of social reality thus recognises that any
> human collective generates its own group mind on a consensual basis. The
> universal mind of the human race contains a multitude of such components,
> all more or less based on the collective reality of life on this planet.
> These models of nature function as paradigms, in both the Kuhnian and the
> dictionary senses of that word. Our problem is that a millennial tradition
> indoctrinates astrologers with an operating program that is too divorced
> from reality to be viable next century. The good news is that the ancient
> astrological world-view has substantially more common philosophical ground
> with the emerging paradigm of science than with the Newtonian paradigm that
> most of us were educated into.
I think I would suggest that we not assume that the readers on this list are familiar with cited works.
What do you mean by "operating program"? I assume that it is not a term taken from computer science. At first glance, the usage would seem intuitively obvious, but at second glance I wasn't so sure.
By "Newtonian paradigm" do you mean a mechanistic view of the universe, such that one assumes that everything is eventually (potentially?) knowable? Perhaps I am out of touch with the mainstream of knowledge, but it has long seemed to me that science, especially theoretical physics, had been forced to step away from that view decades ago. I know that the tools of Newtonian physics are still powerful in our scale of cosmos and are still taught as such, but I did not know that the last century of development in physics has yet to perculate through to acceptance by academia.
> So what is the phenomenon that Bill refers to above? Most obviously, it is
> synchronicity, encapsulated in that pithy piece of hermetic doctrine `as
> above, so below'. I have located this phenomenon in the mostly readily
> appropriate contextual framework, using Bohm's concept of the holomovement
> along with the number archetypes. See "The Astrologer and the Paradigm
> Shift" (1992).
Again, I have a problem with the use of the term synchronicity as explanative and definitive. Jung originally used (coined?) the word to label an apparent effect, and its first appearance in a popular work was in the Forward to Wilhelm's translation of the "I Ching". No doubt it appeared in his writings before then. Since that time, it seems to me that no one has applied this label to a process that defines, to any extent whatsoever, the fundamental linkage between contemporaneous phenomena. As far as I know, none of the types of linkage are specifically implied by the use of the word "synchronicity", except that, apparently, it is meant to imply a linkage other than sequential cause and effect.
Bohm is the late David Bohm, the physicist? Again, citation here is probably not productive, unless the source material is correctly included. Could you explain holomovement, with special reference to the manner in which it elucidates the astrological mechanism?
We really do need a website, I think.
> I have discarded the view that influence comes from the stars. It seems too
> partially correct to be more than misleading. I now believe that the
> influence comes from the co-ordinating effect of the operation in nature of
> the primal number archetypes. How this happens is described at length in my
The notion that the astrological mechanism is simply a direct influence of the stars is unacceptably simplistic. This is the sort of statement that that unfortunate book by Bart Bok and Larry Jerome used as the basic astrological statement. The implication is that the celestial bodies exert direct influence upon the biosphere, and this is neither necessary nor sufficient, and it doesn't satisfy Occam's Razor either. It constitutes a conclusion of the nature of the mechanism absent any supporting evidence other than anecdotal observation.
Your observation that it seems partially correct is insightful, however. That is why I have used it to define the fundamental function of the astrological effect, whatever it proves to be. The important point here is that the mechanism and the function it serves are two different things. It must be assumed that the mechanism provides the function, but that may not be all it does; we don't know. In fact, I think we must assume that it does indeed serve more than the function we call the astrological mechanism, and it would be very good to know what else it does, I think.
Perhaps you could share with us an outline of your view of how the coordinating effect of archetypal numbers in nature provides that mechanism of linkage.
> "From the standpoint of scientific investigation, we need to understand that
> it is this mechanism we seek if we are ever to be able to validate [snip]
> not advocating a mechanistic approach to astrology; I seek to know why
> astrology exists in the first place."
> The mechanism is indeed metaphysical. That is to say, because it is a
> consequence of the holomovement, it involves the generation of forms in
> space/time by the archetypes of nature. Primal qualities emerge from the
> realm of potential.
Okay, one of the fundamental attributes of a hologram is that the whole is contained in any part. The smaller the part, the less detail there is, but the overall pattern is available in any part, presumably no matter how small. The theory was developed sometime in the forties, as I recall, and the problem was that it required a coherent energy (light) source to create. It was basically demonstrated with broad spectrum light that was collimated and I forget what else, and the results were just perceivable, enough to demonstrate the principle. With the advent of lasers as a powerful source of coherent energy, holography rather quickly proved to have some interesting results, and it is now one of the kitchen scientist's repertoire of tricks... advanced kitchen science, to be sure.
Since then, the idea of a holographic universe has intrigued many fine minds, principally due to the unique quality of basic pattern scalability. I must confess that it has been too long since I read through Bohm's work, and so I don't recall the specifics of his take on this. One of Bohm's ideas, thought somewhat radical at the time, was that of Complimentarity (an idea developed as a part of the Copenhagen model of the structure of the atom, etc) expressed as implicity and explicity; he called these qualities the Implicate and the Explicate. Since all this is pretty much philosophical in nature, we can probably get away with couching it in more understandable, if more limiting, terms. We can see implicity as that which is potential, and explicity as that which is manifest. One of the interesting ideas that has circulated around this is that it is only the Explicate which is described by Einstein's equations and are hence bound by the speed of light as a constant. That means that the Implicate is not so bound.
Now, one of the possible duals here is that between content and significance. Content, as something that is real and manifest, is bound by the speed of light. Significance, which is ideal and potential, may not be so bound. What this all adds up to will be interesting to see, if anything. But it is these sorts of ideas that probably are the stuff that needs looking at if we are going to discover the astrological effect.
If I'm way off base here, I'd be grateful if you would set me straight, Dennis.
> Scientists remain averse to quality, since retaining
> tenure of their careers and reputations requires them to conform.
This is so true. But there is another parameter here, and that is the measure of the process by which findings become part of the literature to be passed on to future workers in the field. That is, by its very nature, a process that is complex and so takes time.
The other thing here is that science is not concerned with quality. That is the proper realm of philosophy. What is needed is a way to bring philosophy up to date. It has long been perceived that our ability to do science, which rests on the availability of necessary instruments (which rests on the state of technological advance), has significantly outstripped our ability to comprehend the significance of its findings. This is a very real problem, because philosophy is intended to provide and define our wisdom, which is supposed to guide our lives and our actions. With an exponential increase in the power provided by our technology, we need the appropriate corresponding wisdom, and we don't have it.
What has happened in many cases is that scientists themselves have passionately responded to this problem and assayed to provide relevant philosophical material. They are acting outside their competency when they do so, unfortunately, but their reputation for intellectual prowess provides them with uncritical audiences who regard them as priests in the temples of scientism. This is tragic, I think. I have no answers, and neither has anyone else, so far as I know.
It may, in fact, be that there is a point at which philosophy cannot be expected to keep up with science; it's an idea that has been bandied about occasionally but never demonstrated.
> Scientific philosophy has begun to address form in nature in the last decade
> or so, but this is recreation for the more adventurous scientists.
> Nonetheless, metaphysical concepts have always been part of the foundation
> of physics. Force is one. Fields another. Such primal things are as real
> as one deems them to be. We agree on sensory evidence of their effects.
> Likewise the archetypes of nature.
Okay, this indeeds seems to be so. Now, I want to caution everyone about the use of the term metaphysics. I think Dennis understands it correctly, but I want to make it very clear to everyone what it is about.
Metaphysics is *not* the same as, or even has anything particularly to do with, psychism or spiritualism or newage idealism or indeed any of the pop-psychology maunderings that litter the bookshelves these days. It is a traditional subset of Greek philosophy which deals with that which lies beyond the current scope of scientific investigation. What was current then is not what is current now, and so what the Greeks did with metaphysics may or may not be relevant now. It is clear to the investigator that those guys were pretty perceptive, and where they got to is close enough to workable now that we disregard their work at our own potential loss.
I make this statement about metaphysics here because there is, unfortunately, apt to be astrologers that read this list who really don't know that metaphysics isn't just all about NewAge dreams and visions, etc. School ain't what it usta be, and stuff we considered as elementary is no longer even part of the education of too many of the teachers who are teaching today. So for those who don't know, it's really not your fault if you don't, but it will be your fault if you now don't at least look into it.
> I hear you describing sensitivity to the tides of time, Bill. Those who
> live in tune with the flow are more instinctively aware of the qualities of
> the moment. We can learn to resonate with the archetypes, as they manifest
> in passing time. I grew up attempting to apply my will in order to prevail
> over social circumstance. A long learning curve ensued, in which the ratio
> of success to failure turned out not as I had expected. The macho approach
> of the mechanistic paradigm required us to impose our operating program upon
> the schedule of natural time cycles and natural development processes.
Yup. This is a fair statement of the experience of many of us. This is what we were taught, and how the game was (is?) played in our culture. The assumption is that everyone on the street doing business (and that includes a career as well) is on their own, and that everyone else must be considered a potential adversary. Well, the basis of this is that there must be many more ways in which agenda diverge than they coincide, and so we must be prepared to do battle when necessary to both defend ourselves and further our interests. Clauswitsian diplomacy at the personal level.
So, here we are with our armor and impassive invulnerability because any perceived weakness will be attacked. And they tell us there is no other way. What is assumed by too many men is that this means that a macho stance is a fundamental necessity: scare 'em into submission before they attack!!! Nope, all it does it attract an attack, which is really very inefficient. What to do?
There are examples of a better way in most all cultures and societies, and probably we do best recognizing it as the essence of Taoism. The one who can detect and follow the flows will always be at the place where the fulcrum of the universe exists, and the slightest effort produces an enormous effect. The problem is, one is constrained by the nature of the flow one is following. This means that one has to achieve and retain an ongoing harmony with one's environment, and we think this is not easily done.
Well, this is both true and not true. It's more easily accomplished than one might think, but it takes more personal effort to mold and control oneself than one might imagine. I depends on how one couches the idea. A rather traditional one in our culture is that of the gentleman, or gentlewoman, who not only does not offend anyone, but is genuinely liked and actively accepted by one and all. Being a gentleman requires, from the point of view of the recent angst driven generations, an almost impossible amount of effort and willpower, etc. But when one recognizes that all one has to do is give up one's considerations of ego defense as of paramount importance, one finds that the comportment of a gentleman is strikingly similar to the holy men of the east who follow one or another versions of The Way.
Now, of what relevance has all this to our discussion of astrology? Just this: we don't have in our times any accessable models of how to achieve a state of coherence with ourselves, our environment, our universe. And if we can't do that, then the probability that we can benefit from our sensability of the astrological effect is greatly diminished, I think. So, I've provided a model, out of date in our time, but still recognized and knowable.
> Yes. Astrology is a belief system ripe for deconstruction, to use Cynthia's
> terminology. I understand this to mean taking apart, but to enable
> reconstruction, not destruction. When I learnt it, during the last
> Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, I consciously saw astrology as a junk-heap
> within which could be found gold nuggets that weren't apparent to sceptics.
> I took only the nuggets, leaving rulerships and the other antiquated
> artificial constructions where they belonged. I didn't realise at first
> that most astrologers saw the subject as an operating
> program with which they had to indoctrinate themselves.
As far as I understand it, your view of deconstruction is correct. It obviously needs doing, but to then leave it scattered about and useless is destructive, actually. As far as selecting the "nuggets", I would be really interested to know how you went about doing this. I submit that this process does no one justice, least of all astrology, unless it is very well proven and understood, and is robust beyond the requirements of the task.
As far as astrologers living their lives by the stars is concerned, this is a long and well observed tradition. Very early on in my career, I had to include a seminar at the end of my class series entitled "Beyond Astrology", where I pointed out in some detail that astrology was, as a study, a learning tool. It was, as such, intended to be an expansion of awareness, and not a crutch. One practiced it to make it available to others, but if one had to live one's live by constant observation of current positions and configurations, one really had not learnt the lessons astrology was intended to teach. Some of them got it; others did not.
> Consequently my 11th house planets didn't have an easy ride in the astro
> community, despite my early entry into global interaction. However, I
> remain no less convinced that my approach was correct. I suspect that such
> deconstruction, together with assimilation of relevant concepts from other
> fields, will be the sole viable path to a future which provides the
> rehabilitation of astrology in mainstream society.
I think it is very clear that if astrology is to become acceptable, it must demonstrate sufficient interface with related disciplines such that there was an acceptable amount of translatable terminology. What Cynthia pointed out was that astrology appears to have forfeited its own and stood in need of some, presumably to be supplied by these other fields. It is also quite clear that astrology already has a very rich technical vocabulary, but there is a very serious problem.
Very few people, even practicing astrologers themselves, truly believe that astrology is a valid practice in its own right, that it actually works as advertised. Therefore, the technical terminology of astrology is also considered invalid and inappropriate for usage in public. To wit: if you are going to use it, do so in private and wash your hands afterwards!!! Sorry to have to be so graphic and blunt, but that's just about the way it is. And that is the real tragedy of modern astrology: too few of us believe in the craft we practice, and those who don't have to forge some other basis for what we do: it's a psychic or spiritual thing we aren't meant to understand, or it's a subset of modern psychology that is not yet understood, and so forth.
The state of modern astrology as an orphan without a language is our fault, and only we can fix it. I am tempted at times to offer the challenge: if you don't believe it really works, then don't use it!!! Astrology would be much better off with fewer practitioners, all of whom recognize that it works as advertised, and are proud of what we do.
Dale Huckeby said:
> Hi Andre. Hi William. Glad you showed up, Dennis. And I'm glad to
> see the other new voices who've chimed, who are evidently less reluctant
> communicators than I. Right now I want to talk about something that
> seems to me to have been overlooked. The 76 or 80 minute time lag for
> Saturn, as an argument about apparent versus real positions, is a
> non-starter. The idea apparently is that if I see Saturn rising it's
> not really there, because what I'm seeing is where Saturn was about
> 76 minutes ago (using Andre's figures), when the light that I'm seeing
> _as_ Saturn left on its journey to Earth. But in the meantime the
> Earth has rotated about 20 degrees, so despite what I appear to see
> Saturn is actually 20 degrees above the horizon.
Dale!!!! Welcome aboard the SS Exegesis, destination unknown!!
> Or is it? Here's a way to picture what happens. Draw circle A
> near the top of a piece of paper, and let it be Saturn. Draw circle B
> directly below it and let it be Earth. Draw a line connecting the
> circles. Let it be the pathway of light leaving Saturn and arriving at
> the Earth 76 minutes later. Now imagine B is rotating and that a
> point on the right side, about 20 degrees from the top, will arrive at
> the top just as the light from Saturn gets there. To the observer just
> arrived at that position, Saturn will appear to be directly overhead,
> whereas it's actually . . . directly overhead. The image just arriving
> is in an almost direct line with the one just leaving Saturn. Almost
> because in the meantime Saturn has moved about six seconds of arc, and
> as far as I can see that's the _only_ difference between its apparent
> and actual positions. The change in position vis a vis the horizon due
> to the earth's rotation doesn't involve a timelag because the movement
> that causes it occurs at the Earth's surface, not millions of miles
> away. If that still seems counterintuitive, consider this. If Saturn
> and the Moon can be seen conjoined on the horizon, is Saturn really
> almost 20 degrees further from the Asc (or Dsc) than the Moon, or is
> there a flaw in the logic that implies that it should be?
I guess we'll all have to think this through, Dale. I think Dennis is right, however. The problem is deciding just what that means. What is at issue here is whether the part that a planet has in the astrological effect operates on a superluminal level. Andre suggest that gravity might be involved; is the effect of gravity superluminal?
Elsewhere in this post I ruminated about Bohm's metaphysics and wondered if significance may not be bound by the speed of light, so maybe this is a possible key for a line of investigation. We know from the work of Alain Aspect, et al, in the 70's (forget when, exactly) that there seems to be compelling evidence that information is not bound by the speed of light. The idea was to propogate two particles in opposite directions such that their combined velocities exceeded C, and then see if there was anything other than random chance in their matching each other in terms of spin (I think), the relevant number was around 26 as I recall and they came up with 35 or thereabouts. Andre can explain this much more easily than I can. At any rate, they figured that this was compelling evidence of superluminal communication.
The problem is: what does this have to tell us about the nature of the astrological effect?
Incidentally, I would like to announce that Project Hindsight has now got enough of a handle on the Hellenistic practice of astrology that they are giving demonstrations lectures of the use. It is said to be very powerful stuff. It is probably somewhat costly, and they recommend attending at least one of the seminars. I think I respect Rob Schmidt's scholarship enough to recommend that this at least be looked into by someone who lives nearby. If the Hellenistic or Hermetic practices prove to be powerful, then that's more good data. Email me for details.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 4 Issue 41
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