|Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #88
Exegesis Digest Wed, 24 Nov 1999
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 20:09:18 +1300
From: Janice & Dennis
Subject: Urania, Jung, imprinting, pattern, holism
I stumbled out of bed before dawn some months ago, trying hard to get my left brain to formulate a profound concept that in a dream my right brain had been telling me was profoundly important. This is what I wrote: "they have to be(come) combined before they can become generative, then (the combination must be) made active".
Normally I would add time and date to allow any consequent astro analysis of synchronicity, but was obviously too groggy on this occasion. There was no sense of context in the dream, I felt I was grappling with archetypal principles. You can see the struggle I had to make the insight specific. In retrospect, it seems to have been a message from Urania, the muse under whose auspices we operate.
Most auspicious, then (an auspice being an omen). But you know how quickly the essence of a dream fades, often, even in the first few moments after you awake. All I can do now is guess that perhaps it refers to the consequence of the interplay of yin and yang. Manifestation. Perhaps the number archetype 1, which Smuts called the active, formative, principle of holism, operates at the most cosmic, fundamental level, whereas the 3 operates at the higher level consequent of duality.
If, then, yin and yang actively generate processes in nature via their combination (interaction), we ought to be able to document this by observation and analysis. Sex produces new generations, the child being 3 to the yin/yang 2/1 combination of mother and father. That accounts for the animal sector of life, but I wonder if similarly compelling evidence can be obtained from plants, ecosystems generally, and at the scale of solar system and galaxy. Perhaps a productive line of enquiry is the relation of domains to boundaries. Natural forms emerge in structures (Saturn) which define their space by means of boundaries (Saturn). Trees, and most plants, anchoring their structure in Earth, below the plane (of Gaian manifestation and of) the horizon, grow towards the Sun/Sky. They live by breathing the Air of Sky above, using the incoming Fire (energy) from Sun above, plus flowing ground-water in Earth below and rainfall from Sky above. Their life thus incorporates a trinitarian structure of domain relations. Like us they live on Gaia's surface, a boundary domain, but they also live in the earth below and the sky above.
In ecological relations, an organism has a primary vital dependency relation to its ecosystem, plus a secondary vital relation to Gaia, providing a trinitarian holarchy. Extending the principle, we astrologers use the horoscope, a diagram of the bipolar macrocosm/microcosm relation. However these major frames of reference are used to depict and interpret the structural and evolutionary dynamics of the relation of the (process-initiating) event: the zodiac, the axes and houses. Encoded in these frames of reference are the holistic relationships of the event/entity to our home planet, to our solar system, and to our galaxy. Another trinitarian spatio-temporal holarchy.
Having just disputed Patrice's assertions, further to the subject of Jung the astrodabbler is this information copied from the Jungian newsgroup...
"In _The Life and Work of C G Jung_ Aniela Jaffe wrote that Jung originally thought that early humans had projected archetypes onto the stars and rather than being directly influenced by the stars, it was through synchronicity that the moment of birth affects us with archetypal qualities. But in 1951 Max Knoll presented evidence at an Eranos meeting that the planetary aspects influence the occurrence of electromagnetic storms (sunspot periods), and after this Jung thought there might be direct causal connections. In a 1958 letter he opted for a "mixed explanation," that both causal and synchronistic factors were involved. At any rate, he used to refer new clients to astrologers and go over their natal charts with them, so he apparently thought there was something to it."
Bypassing the confusion evident in the first sentence of this quote, it is clear that Jung's views did evolve with passing time, as I have stated here before. It is also significant that Jung's daughter became an astrologer, and she seems now to be the primary source of his birth time.
Bill Tallman responded (Ex4/86) to my query ("Impressed on what?"):
> >Whatever is manifest at the moment. Patrice has selected the word
> >"impress"; I have used the word "imprint" from a decades old notion of
> >"initial imprinting" that became pop psychology at one point.
OK, then my question becomes "How?" Patrice stressed a difference between the meaning of these two terms, and I agreed to the implication that the imprint concept seems unlikely. However imprinting does actually happen, as noted in this quote from alt.psychology.jung:
"a horse is instinctively afraid of snakes even when a horse never saw a snake before. The horse has the image of snake as an archetypal image as part of its instinctive data. Likewise, ducks hatched and raised without parents can tell the difference between a crow flying by and a hawk circling in the sky above looking for a vulnerable sitting duck. Ducks have the archetypal image of a gliding hawk in their instinctive data."
The question is how an imprint of the cosmic pattern is made into the entity born in the moment, that's what we need, even if it is only an hypothesis.
A Jewish woman contributed this quote from the Encyclopaedia Judaica to another newsgroup: "Jewish Philosophy: ...In their philosophy of nature, as in other branches of philosophy, Hellenistic and medieval Jewish thinkers were influenced greatly by the current general philosophical doctrines. Thus, for the most part, they adopted the view that the universe is governed by immutable laws; that all objects in the sublunar world are formed out of combinations of four basic elementsearth, air, fire, and water; that the celestial world consists of a fifth element..."
In traditional esoteric philosophy, so far as I have gathered, this 5th element was called quintessence. But most ancient cultures describe fire as the element of heaven, it being the only one not common to experience and essential to life. Thus the Prometheus myth. The ancient Chinese seem to have theorised a 5th element by subdividing earth into metal and wood.
Note the use of that word sublunar, which flags a major structural division of the ancient cosmos. Everything below Luna changes, everything above is eternal. Which is how the Moon came to rule the ebb and flow of life, and tides were the primary evidence of that. Which is why scientists for so long refused to accept the relation of Moon to tides as anything other than an ancient discredited superstition.
Is there good reason to theorise a 5th element? Something that links heaven and earth? In contemporary terms, it would have to mediate between natural forms and their archetypal basis. Sheldrake's morphogenetic fields were conceived to explain this relation between potential and manifestation. Actually, there is a relevant concept that provides something essential to the manifestation process that the 4 elements do not, and that is pattern.
I wrote "Latent potential can be described in archetypal terms, so if you are Barbara Watters doing the horoscope of the Empire State building, several decades ago, you do not need to have it sitting across the desk from you in order to do a reading. Despite what most astrologers think." Bill responded "I presume you refer to Barbara Walters, the television interviewer?"
Huh? You never heard of Barbara Watters, Bill? Author of "Sex and the Outer Planets", "Horary Astrology and the Judgement of Events", and "The Astrologer Looks at Murder" (all of which I have) and the 1969 jacket of this calls her "Washington's leading astrologer". When I encountered her chart of the Empire State Building, for decades the world's tallest man-made structure, I was both taken aback and impressed. The inner sceptic was still reluctant to credit horoscopes for humans, so the idea that you could do a horoscope for the origin of anything took me awhile to stretch my mind to encompass.. The novice astrologer was however immediately struck by how appropriate the chart was (things culminating, can't recall what).
Trying to explain how synchronicity relates to temporal process, I wrote: "The solar system coordinates all of its component parts in unison, just like we do. Synchronicity is merely conscious experience of this synchronous process. Look, you jump in the car and go somewhere, is it any surprise that others see all your bodily parts arriving simultaneously? The whole coheres. The apparent separate development of any bunch of parts is an illusion."
Apparently Bill doesn't get it: he wrote "Your point, Dennis?". The point is that when two parts of the whole present themselves to us simultaneously, we either dismiss it as coincidence or call it synchronicity, choosing to either recognise the signal or not, fastening our attention on the two phenomena rather than the process that the meaning of the signal ought to be directing our attention to. Many of us have now learnt to recognise that the experience of synchronicity flags archetypal qualities in the moment. Some, not just astrologers, have produced media commentary on the effective equivalence of the term synchronicity with the hermetic maxim `as above so below'.
However, astrologers have yet to follow Rudhyar's suggestion and develop this into a contemporary framework for their beliefs that incorporates the theory of holism provided by Smuts. So I produced my book to show them how this can be done in a way that preserves consistency with the credible elements of our tradition. Rudhyar wrote in 1936 that astrology is "holistic logic" (p56 "The Astrology of Personality"). Despite spelling out a fair bit of that logic, Rudhyar's initiative has for 63 years lacked follow through from other astrologers. Their collective performance in the interim has been pathetic.
Denial of the relation between synchronicity and the synchronous operation of the solar system seems perverse. It certainly is a major impediment to progress. Progress for the astrocommunity requires recognition that our perception of synchronicity is the natural and inevitable consequence of our experience of passing time, our relation to our environmental context, and the holistic coordination of all parts of the solar system in unison.
Tacit recognition can be gleaned from the cryptic references of astrologers to their core belief, as in the following few samples copied at random:
"As above, so below; as in the whole, so in the parts." ["Cosmic Loom", Dennis Elwell, 1987, p129] "As above, so below, because it is all essentially one thing." [from Rob Hand's "The Emergence of an Astrological Discipline"] Interpretation: the unifying cosmic pattern manifests in signs in the sky simultaneously as it also manifests in events on earth. "This unity of, and relation between, man and the universe is really the only assumption upon which astrology is based." ["Astrology, Psychology & the Four Elements", Stephen Arroyo, 1975] And "the principles of the planets seem to be subdivisions of one main principle or driving force behind everything." ["The Modern Textbook of Astrology", Margaret Hone, 1951/78] She intuits the ellipse-master, cosmic conductor of the planetary orchestra.
At the turn of the last century Alfred Barley wrote, in "The Rational Basis of Astrology": "The first principle upon which the science of astrology rests is, that the whole universe is what the term implies - a unity.. our own solar system being in itself a complete whole, those laws which are operative amongst the major constituents of that system, viz., the planets are also in force among the lesser components of the same system - to wit, ourselves, and the other objects on this earth". Nicely anticipates the yet-to-arrive philosophy of holism, but fails to signal the fact of coordination, nor the simultaneity depicted by the horoscope.
Interestingly, the ancient hermetic doctrine of cosmic correspondence can be shown to have transcended astrology. Historians tell us that "the Christian notion of the individual soul made in god's image.. came from a theory which was deep-rooted in the earliest human psychology of all nations.. God had created man in his own image, and in his image he had likewise created the universe.. it followed that the universe and human life follow the same pattern, that the macrocosm was identical to the microcosm." ["One Day Telleth Another", S&M Ionides, 1939, p267]
Plotinus, the founder of neo-Platonism, settled in Rome in 244 AD with the support of the Emperor Gallienus. "In his Ennead he states that `it is abundantly clear that the motions of the heavenly bodies affect things on earth, and not only in bodies but also the disposition of the soul'. Like many Christian writers, however, Plotinus finds unpalatable the idea that all human actions are caused by sidereal phenomena and he attacks the Gnostics for believing that the planets and the spheres over which they rule exercise a terrible tyranny over men. Thus Plotinus finds himself in a dilemma familiar to those who attempted to theorise about astrology. He recognises that the stars have an influence on human affairs yet he is unwilling to surrender freedom of will to them. He resolves the dilemma by concluding that the stars and the affairs of men are both symptoms of a more fundamental pattern arising from the fact that the universe is a single being between whose parts there is a relation of perfect harmony. Celestial movements, therefore, are signs rather than causes of the future. This is a doctrine which was used by many later theorists. Carl Jung, for instance, argued something very similar in his theory of `synchronicity'. Thus Plotinus removes one of the commonest objections to astrology and arrives at what was to be the general medieval Christian position regarding it. plenty of room was allowed for astrological prediction while at the same time the Christian could rest confident that through the exercise of his will he could remain master of his fate." ["The Astrologers and their Creed", C McIntosh, 1969, p69/70]
The following illustrative quotes from Smuts ("Holism and Evolution", 1926) signal the key holistic features of natural self-organising processes. Some refinement and elaboration is needed to complete the bridge-building to astrology that Rudhyar began so long ago. The concept of holarchy as elaborated by Koestler and Sheldrake is also essential, but given that scientists have proven just as inadequate in rising to their similar challenge as astrologers, the opportunity to out-flank them still awaits...
"At the start the fact of structure is all-important in wholes, but as we ascend the scales of wholes we see structure becoming secondary to function, we see function.. as a correlation of all the activities of the structure, and effecting new syntheses which are more and more of a creative character."
"We find thus a great unifying creative tendency of a specific holistic character in the universe. This creative tendency or principle we call Holism. Holism in all its endless forms is the principle which works up the raw material or unorganised energy units of the world, utilises, assimilates and organises them, endows them with specific structure and character and individuality.."
"Activity in time, energy multiplied by time, `Action' as it is technically called in physics, is the physical basis of the universe as a whole, and nothing else besides. The universe is a flowing stream in space-time."
"things of which we are aware in nature are active energy systems in space-time."
"When we make activity instead of matter the stuff or material of the universe, a new viewpoint is subtly introduced.. there is more in bodies, things and events than is contained in their structures or material forms.."
"Wholes are therefore composites which have an internal structure, function or character which clearly differentiates them from mere mechanical additions or aggregates.. this internal element which transforms a mere mechanical addition or sum of parts into a whole shows progressive development in nature. Wholes are dynamic, organic, evolutionary, creative."
"The whole thus appears as a marked power of regulation and coordination in respect of both the structure and functioning of the parts.. all the various activities of the several parts and organs seem directed to central ends; there is thus cooperation and unified action of the organism as a whole instead of the separate mechanical activities of the parts. The whole thus becomes synonymous with unified (or holistic) action."
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 06:39:06 -0800 (PST)
From: Dale Huckeby
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V4 #77
In 4/76 I said:
> >>I think devination has dominated over the two plus millenia that
> >>horoscopic astrology has existed, and that devination in general is a
> >>way of being "right" when you don't know very much, but that it also
> >>allows for a gradual accumulation of empirical content if there's any
> >>to accumulate....
to which Bill Tallman replied in 4/77:
> >It seems apparent that divination is often unusefully vague, and so it's
> >easy to conclude that it is basically a cover for ineptness or ignorance.
> >There are other reasons that divination does not produce the sort of
> >conciseness we would like to require: it has traditionally had a special
> >language, although it was based in the current common tongue. It can be
> >considered as a semi-technical language, I think. In consequence,
> >translation is necessary at the very least, and a more desirable solution
> >is to gain some comprehension of it's linguistic requirements from an
> >understanding of why they exist.
I would suggest that devination's vagueness is not at all unuseful to its adherents. It's part of what makes it seem to work in the first place. As for gaining some comprehension of its linguistic requirements, I believe I already have, but my arguments seem to be opaque to those who have more than a little experience as astrologers. A number of people, for instance, have seen some version of the following argument, but I'm not sure who if anybody has gotten it:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Obviously, we have too many ways of being "right", and the most obvious culprit is our large number of factors and techniques, which give us more "right" answers than there are things to be right about. But I think our multiplicity of factors and techniques is itself the product of a mode of reasoning whose most characteristic manifestation is astrological symbolism. Here's how it works. In *The Horoscope as Identity* Noel Tyl delineates the chart of a man with Saturn opposite Neptune from the 11th to the 5th who commented that his sex life had tapered off normally during his mid-thirties. Taking the opening line from Grant Lewi's *Heaven Knows What* description of natal Saturn square or opposite Neptune ("Ambition has a way of going to sleep on you") and noting the 5th house association with sex, Tyl exclaims, "Ambition *throughout the sex spectrum* [Tyl's emphasis] had fallen asleep!" And with that clever play on words career ambition, which was what Lewi was talking about, becomes sex drive.
Tyl borrowed Lewi's words but not the meaning he was trying to convey. Lewi studied people with Saturn square or opposite Neptune to see what (if anything) they had in common. The words he used were simply a means of conveying what he thought he had observed:
Ambition has a way of going to sleep on you. A sense of your own power works subtly inward giving you a peculiar brand of good opinion of yourself, which likely as not you don't get around to doing anything about. A sort of mystic faith pervades your thinking--you know you could do it if you wanted to, but you have to fight to want to. This will prop self-confidence if other things show aggression, but it will forestall accomp- lishment if you do not integrate your purposes and translate them by will power and a set goal, into action.
With symbolism, however, the words associated with a planet or factor are treated as true in and of themselves, regardless of what they're made to say. Thus, Tyl used Lewi's words to account for a development Lewi didn't observe, while failing to evaluate or apply his actual observation, that people with Saturn square or opposite Neptune tend to hold themselves back from career accomplishment by being imbued with and satisfied by a sense that they could do it if they wanted to. Symbolism's conceptual plasticity is one of the primary means, along with a multiplicity of factors and techniques, by which we unwittingly guarantee ourselves enough "right" answers to cover all bases. Used symbolistically, "ambition" can be made to refer not only to career or sex drive, but also gluttony (gustatory ambition), a sense of humor (an ambitious practical jokester), meanness (an ambitious bully), even laziness (an ambitious malingerer) - just about anything a facility with words will enable us to justify. Our tendency to proliferate explanatory possibilities is embedded in the very way we use language to generate astrological meanings.
> >A well known example of a divinatory form is the I Ching, and the
> >language is that of ancient Taoism as interpreted by Confucianists.
> >It's pretty specialized and if one doesn't understand the terms,
> >syntax, etc., it also is easily considered unacceptably vague. Given
> >some reasonable understanding, however, (in my experience, and I'm
> >far from alone in this) the I Ching can be frighteningly specific
> >in its insights, etc.
Symbolistic astrology also seems "frighteningly specific" to those who have, via exposure to paradigms, learned to think in ways that make it seem so, as outlined in my argument above. But people who've learned to think that way are thereby inoculated against this kind of argument. It's part of what they, of necessity, have learned how not to see (because otherwise astrology wouldn't seem to work the way the novice thinks he or she sees it working for others).
> >The assumption here is that a system of divination has its own
> >structure, and this is largely true, although there are some well
> >understood exceptions. In general, a divinatory system is not a
> >compilation of empirical knowledge, but a construct the architecture
> >of which spans the visible (known) world and the hidden (unknown)
> >realms, whatever they might actually be. In this regard, it is not
> >useful to repudiate the possibility of "other" realms, because they
> >are by definition not known (not unknowable, however...); it's better
> >to accept that they must exist (because they are not specifically
> >proscribed) and will probably wind up being quite different from
> >any extant expectation, old or new.
Are you implying or suggesting that we should accept the existence of _anything_ that can't be disproved? That seems to me intellectually self-indulgent and an ideal way _not_ to get to the bottom of things.
< snip >
> >>"Understanding" is empirical, "interpretation" symbolistic. That's
> >>the difference, it seems to me, between traditional astrology and a
> >>modern astrology that has not yet fully emerged. I think this emerging
> >>astrology will be based on what actually, observably exists in nature
> >>that has astrological import, most obviously natural cycles whose
> >>intervals and timing correspond to planetary periods. I think it is
> >>equally necessary that we understand what astrology cannot do, but
> >>which it has seemed it can do due to reasoning processes that subvert
> >>empirical control. I don't think it can predict nonhuman events
> >>(earthquakes, explosions, sky-rocks falling through one's roof), nor
> >>do I think it can predict what happens _to_ people, as opposed to
> >>predicting, on the basis of psychological rhythms, where a person
> >>will be "coming from" during a given period. Neither do I think it
> >>can predict, on the basis of _my_ chart, the fortunes of those I care
> >>about. I think it can only predict, in principle at least, how I'm
> >>going to be motivated during a given period
> >Dale makes a very fundamental point here: whatever else astrology may
> >be, it is rooted in the celestial sphere. He says this conditionally,
> >but I say it succinctly.
Actually, Bill, this is something on which we appear to be in perfect agreement. What was conditional in my statement was the involvement of natural cycles, not the involvement of planetary periods, and I was conditional about the former only due to my habitual caution. I was reluctant to _insist_ that natural cycles are it as far as terrestrial correspondences to planetary periods are concerned, although I do in fact think that is the case. But more to the point of your comment, as far as I'm concerned if planets aren't involved it's not astrology. Period.
> >Dale also makes the point that we need to determine the defining
> >boundaries of the "astrological effect". I think we really do need
> >to determine whether astrology can address non-human events. My
> >original question in this current thread was: does the astrological
> >effect require life to exist? We haven't even considered whether
> >this is a valid question. I infer that Dale thinks so, because he
> >gives an opinion in that regard.
You infer correctly. In addition I specifically addressed this issue in [4/53]. My argument there was that there _are_ inorganic events that correspond to planetary periods, but that the tides, for instance, are understandable and predictable not via charts and symbolism but only with respect to the material forces that actually cause them. You can call the latter "astrological" with no argument from me, but it doesn't appear to be what you've had in mind when you've implied that the astrological effect doesn't require life to exist. When you indicated several months ago that you had predicted earthquakes it wasn't material forces you referred to but charts and symbolism, but I still don't see how planetary (and other) _meanings_ can cause a fault to break loose, as opposed to plate movements and possibly lunar and solar gravity. You can undercut my argument from implausibility simply by showing _that_ earthquakes are predictable via chart and symbolism by accurately predicting some before the fact and/or sharing with us the configurations, signs, etc. that'll presumably enable us to accurately differentiate when earthquakes will occur from when they won't. Differentiation between event and not-event is what astrologers regularly fail to do or grasp and is why after-the-fact explanation works so much better than the before-the-fact prediction.
> >In addition, Dale addresses astrological interconnectivity: is
> >resonance possible between two (or more) astrological horoscopic
> >entities, and if so, can that resonance deliver interpretive
> >significance such that can be discerned and appropriately applied.
> >I think the practice of astrology makes it very clear that such a
> >resonance can (and quite often, does) exist. The question is whether
> >that resonance can be influential. The more arcane astrological
> >techniques specify that they not only can be but by their very
> >nature *are* influential.
Arcane astrological techniques may specify it, but does anything resembling scholarly research _demonstrate_ it? Again, the processes I've described above and elsewhere will make it _seem_ that your chart accounts for developments in the life of a loved one, or that a composite chart yields valid answers, so of course the practice of astrology makes it very clear to _you_ that the kind of resonance you're talking about exists. I'm not aware, however, of objective evidence that leads to this conclusion.
> >>I have nothing to say about archetypes or maintaining order in
> >>patriarchal society, but astrology/astronomy and mathematics do appear
> >>to be part of the same natural cluster. T.S. Kuhn talks about this in
> >>"Mathematical versus Experimental Traditions in the Development of
> >>Physical Science", from his _The Essential Tension_.
> >Undoubtedly Kuhn addresses the processes by which new tools give rise to
> >the possibility of new investigation, which produces the insights and
> >understandings that make possible new tools. Although it is clear that
> >any given individual is likely to have strengths and weaknesses that
> >dictate his manner of working, I think this is a bit overvalued as a
> >factor. For example: Rutherford was, of course, one of the stellar
> >examples of a strong bias, but he had to have a strong competency in
> >mathematics in order to do what he did in the lab.
And this helps illuminate what happened around the time of the last Uranus/Neptune conjunction when parts of the Baconian cluster and parts of the mathematical cluster began to coelesce into a new discipline, physics. Kuhn points out that the people who mathematized the Baconian fields between 1800 and 1825 all either taught or were students at the _Ecole polytechnique_, a new kind of educational institution established in the 1790s in which Baconian fields were taught alongside classical ones. Evidently, in this setting some mathematicians found Baconian experiments and phenomena relevant to their interests, and some Baconians were able to appreciate the clarifying power of mathematical reasoning. For mathematicians and exprimentalists to cooperate with each other, with the former basing their theories on experimental findings and the latter basing their experiments on current theory, they had have an appreciation for what each other was doing and no doubt a subdominant competency in the other's strong suit. The two sets of individuals who contributed to physics were arguably a subset of those who earlier contributed to either the Baconian or classical clusters, being those experimentalists who could relate to math, even though it wasn't their strong suit, and mathematicians who could relate to experiment, even though they weren't skilled experimentalists.
> >Modern physics makes a reasonable and useful connection between the
> >experimental and theoretical aspects of science, as he noted. These
> >are both necessary parts of any general line of investigation and this
> >has always been so. In lay terms, one goes out and takes a look to
> >see what is going on, and then takes the time to try to figure out what
> >one has actually discovered. The first is experimental and the second
> >is theoretical, approximately.
True, but the split Kuhn was talking about was between experiment and math, not experiment and theory. There was no comparable split between experimentalists and theorists in the Baconian sciences. It was only after the Baconian fields became fully mathematized between 1800 and 1825 that experiment and theory diverged (in terms of the mentality each appealed to) so much that no one could hope to be eminent in both. The integration of experiment and theory, of absorption in "irreducible and stubborn facts" and the weaving of general principles, came earlier. See Alfred North Whitehead's _Science and the Modern World_ for some interesting comments on these matters.
> >The history of science demonstrates the rather linear development of
> >precision in the several types of tools used. While this is perhaps more
> >obvious in laboratory equipment, it is also true of the theoretical tools,
> >specifically mathematics. Greater precision in observation tools makes for
> >more detailed measurements, etc. Greater precision in mathematics makes
> >for more descriptive theory. To some extent, there is a sort of leap-frog
> >phenomena here, but that's probably incidental.
> >For astrology [I assume you mean _astronomy_], the more sophisticated
> >observation equipment was the telescope, and the more sophisticated
> >descriptive equipment was, of course, the calculus.
Just to set the record straight, though, the telescope played no role in the revolution in astronomy, which (like the revolutions in the other classical fields) was due not to new instruments and additional data, but to a conceptual shift in which scientists viewed long-familiar facts from a different perspective, as if they had put on a "different kind of thinking-cap", as Herbert Butterfield famously put it in _The Origins of Modern Science 1300-1800_.
> >I guess I would recommend some thought along these lines as applied to
> >the business of astrology: What observation tools do we have, and what
> >are needed? What descriptive tools do we have and what are needed?
It depends on what you take our subject matter to be. It comprises, in my opinion, the study of people's lives and of history, so among other things we need to be able to read histories and biographies and draw accurate conclusions from them. In the process of doing this I've worked out a number of rules of thumb. One is that in studying a person's life it's best to draw on three kinds of accounts, an authorized biography, a critical biography and an autobiography, in order to get a balanced picture. Another is that the biographer and historian should see and articulate the patterns that strike me as having astrological significance, because they presumably don't have an astrological ax to grind. That's why I was so thrilled when I discovered in Erwin Panofsky's _Renaissance & Renascences in Western Art_ a list of cultural turning points falling at Uranus/Neptune intervals, because there's no reason to suppose that he consciously or unconsciously included or excluded historical episodes in order to fit astrological expectations.
> >It's perfectly all right for people to specialize, but all need to
> >understand that there are other aspects of the process that are just
> >as necessary and integral thereto. The challenge in astrological
> >investigation is more basic than choice of specialization, though.
I think it's both important to specialize, in order to go deeper into a subject matter, and for different specializations to interact fruitfully, as has happened historically in the evolution of the sciences, and which happens also in the development of every child.
> >Incidentally, experiment and mathematics are not the only two major
> >parts of the scientific process, and can indeed be said to comprise
> >together only half thereof. They both involve tools and are more
> >straightforward than the other parts, but that's another story......
So what's the other half? Consider this an invitation to tell that other story.
Date: Sat, 20 Nov 1999 09:00:14 -0800 (PST)
From: Dale Huckeby
Subject: Long lines & (ugh!) wraparound text
I hope I'm not out of line, Fran, but your post in 4/85 affords me the opportunity to respond to something that regularly bugs me on online discussion groups. On the theory that a picture is worth a thousand words, even if it's made of words, here's what your recent post looked like on my mailreader:
And so on. It looks that way because my mailreader, and I may be mistaken but I think this applies to most mailreaders, is only 80 columns wide. Anything beyond that gets wrapped around to a short line following the long one, as you can see above. Since your mailreader, perhaps because you're using Netscape's or Internet Explorer's mailreader, is obviously more than 80 columns wide, I had to go to some trouble to edit it so you and others with wide screens can see it as I (and I suspect others) see it.
I don't know about others but posts that look like that are for me not only difficult but aesthetically painful to read. Thus I do a _lot_ of editing of Exegesis digests, which given the length of many of the posts turns into a significant amount of work. Please understand I'm not criticizing you or anyone else whose posts have lines longer than 80 columns, because I'm sure it looks just fine on your mailreader and you probably don't realize how it looks on others. With this in mine I'd like to request that Exegetes limit their line lengths to less than 80 columns wide. In fact, I try to limit mine to 70 or so because quoted material often wraps around when the angle brackets on the left push the lines past the 80 column-width limit. I don't want anybody to go out of their way to pander to my aesthetic sensibilities, but if it isn't any trouble I hope everybody will consider it.
Regarding the substance of your post, Fran, I've always found you a conscientious, considerate and fair listowner. I have no problem with any of your rules or practices, and in fact think you've demonstrated something of a Midas touch in creating the kind of list you had in mind. As you might recall, when you started Exegesis I was adamantly opposed to the digest-only format. I _hated_ it, in fact. Later, I came to see it as a stroke of genius, because that format apparently has, as you suggested, facilitated the kind of thoughtful, in-depth posting style that is so characteristic of Exegesis. Fran, you've done a helluva fine job in creating and maintaining the most interesting and profound astrological discussion group on the internet. Keep up the good work.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 4 Issue 88
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