|Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #93
Exegesis Digest Thu, 02 Dec 1999
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 11:11:10 +1300
From: Janice & Dennis
Subject: reality, doubt, matrix, synchronicity, event charts
Andre's new moniker, Andr=?ISO-8859-1?Q?=e9_Donnell_?=, is most impressive. Latest fashion trends in implant technology sure do provide a multidimensional hue to one's identity! Looks great, but I'm not sure about the pronunciation. Which star system is it from?
In 4/87 Andre wrote: "the findings of cognitive memory research are tantamount to developing the transformations between observers (although, if one doesn't know the exact history of interactions the person has had since the event then no transformation can be applied. So yes, memory is unreliable). The point of both these things is that our changing knowledge and understanding alters what we perceive facts to be. This is as it should be. But they have not - so far - altered that there _are_ facts."
Where? In the minds of some, apparently. Efforts to document agreement between these believers in facts tends to be only partially successful. Thus apparent facts tend to be demonstrable as opinions.
"Post-structuralist positions, and the contentions of my own field of discursive psychology, do indeed question the status of facts, but I submit that such epistemological positions are more true of - to put it rather crudely - "human" reality. It is true of course that the only reality we can know is the reality we construct. If we are fundamentally uncertain, subjective, and able to argue; then what we "know" and "see" cannot be any less uncertain! But our ability to argue the meaning and the factuality of everything, and the proposition that we do so, does not mean that whatever lies beyond our constructions is itself similarly embarassed."
Hmm. Is this Einstein's realism dressed up in other clothes? I have tended to side with Bohm and Einstein in their minority dissenting from the view of the majority of theoretical physicists (interpretation of the Copenhagen school, Bohr's doctrine). We may not be able to ascertain objective reality, but it is there. This seems to be what Andre implies above, so I agree. However the practical issue is that people will dispute whether facts are true. Therefore they are doubtful.
"as a critique of the kind of position I have just spelt out, I like your archetypes far more Dennis. At least they would offer hope that some kind of real "communication" can actually occur, because there might then be some truly common foundation all humans share to make it possible. However, I take the general melee of intercultural, intergroup and interpersonal misunderstanding that prevails among our kind as somewhat defeating the notion of archetypes, or at least the notion that we are mentally or psychically linked to them in any direct sense, or at least that language is the tool for the job."
Well, I think it is simply a case of layers of social reality covering the archetypes. This effectively prevents their becoming conscious to us, whilst not preventing their formative influence from occurring, sometimes to the extent of appearing to dictate our choices and actions. Language is the only tool available, so far as I can see.
"I note that doubt over the status of facts rather dents the idea of consensus too. Of what do we develop consensus over, exactly?"
Couldn't see any use of the term in the quoted section. However, a relative consensus allows language to convey shared meanings, despite the idiosyncrasies of interpretation that subjective reality causes.
"Adopting a northern hemisphere perspective, it seems to me we can understand the cardinal points quite easily in terms of the challenges and opportunities attending each season."
Yeah, Ptolemy used that logic and Rudhyar, in "The Pulse of Life", produced quite a persuasive elaboration of it half a century back. The merit of the zodiacal archetype as a metaphysical concept is that it is pan-hemispherical. Surprising that Rudhyar, rather a smart cookie, didn't figure this out.
"in the nearly 25 years I've been practicing astrology, and the 3-4 years I've been participating in lists such as this, I don't believe I have learned _anything_ new, sufficient to justify that time. (There are exceptions of course, such as the work Dale has performed). I can only conclude our approach is wrong. My fear, going back to the start of this post, is that perhaps we are mostly talking past each other, and don't even know it."
I do empathise, Andre. Been in a similar psychic state once or twice in the past, courtesy of my inner sceptic. A reframing may help. Mind you, easy for me to say, never having bought the party line in the first place. So, when you say "our approach", I instinctively exclude myself, having always pursued lines of enquiry dismissed as too hard by most astrologers and retained firm beliefs that scare them. It is certainly true that most astrologers talk past each other, but here the difference between formal and informal interactions is crucial. The primadonna motivation causes them to proclaim idiosyncratic beliefs and techniques at conferences, in defiance of convention. However the conversations around the tables and lounges in between formal sessions is characterised by mutual agreement. Andre would probably say this is often delusional, and I agree, the feel-good factor in a community disinclines participants from exploring nuances of difference of meaning. My point, originally, was that the astrological language is sufficiently communal to produce some lively, sometimes scintillating, group discourse.
Getting back to reframing. It is essential for us here to mediate between paradigms. This is pragmatism: we live in cultures in which the ruling paradigm is in transition. Adopting a personal posture outside of the traditional astrological paradigm as well as outside the hitherto prevailing scientific paradigm is the most likely productive way to get ahead. I don't want to sound smug in saying that I did this right from the start: it's a tough road, fraught with boundary issues. If you actively engage with the respective communities, you will be treated like the barbarian at the gate, if not the heretic. Depends on your personal horoscope, to gauge a suitable degree of community endeavour. I'm the kind of fool who rushes in where angels fear to tread (guess the hero archetype as described by Joseph Campbell can be correlated with my natal Sun position), determined to be St George rather than Don Quixote. I did 8 years on the executive committee of the Astrological Society of New Zealand, including some years as vice-president and some as editor of the journal. Some dragons got severely gored, but none slain, and the windmill is still there!
No regrets, and I learnt lots about the common inadequacies of others, plus one or two of my own. One must supplement book learning with real life experience to get a measure of true wisdom. The other reframing suggestion I'd recommend is to look at lots of exact event charts. Personal events, accurately logged, are the best database, presuming one has a reasonably reliably-timed birth-chart. The best database for consensual research is accurately-timed events of wide political or cultural significance. This is the arena where astrologers ought to have pooled their enterprise.
Patrice wrote "I would like that Dennis to be kind to explain to me and us what he is meaning by "Matrix"." Certainly, although I have already done so. Used as a mathematical concept, it is the 12-fold division of an archetypal cycle into phases of equal duration, analogous to 12 equal subdivisions of a circle. However I prefer to describe this archetypal cycle in metaphysical terms, as a matrix of 4 elements distributed via 3 modes of manifestation. These need to be understood as complementary descriptions of the same thing, the metaphysical component providing quality at the archetypal level, and the mathematical component providing quantity. This gives natural time cycles with 12 unique equal phases, when the archetype is mapped into local space/time by solunar and planetary relationship cycles. I first published this theory in '86, and it appears as component of a comprehensive contemporary theory of astrology in my book "The Astrologer and the Paradigm Shift", 1992.
"Of course there are not 12 "planets" (I've never said that) : for me definitely 10 (including the Sun and the Moon). And even there are 8 houses for me, as the first Greek theory show it. (But see the second edition of C.U.R.A. : Dec. the 10th).
Just wanted to check that you weren't advocating the 12-letter alphabet, Patrice, an erroneous concept. However your writing does seem to include the planets as part of a matrix, which I cannot accept. Cyril Fagan published a description of that early 8 house system, but surviving evidence is sketchy. I suspect it derives from quadrant bisection, much as Rudhyar promoted the significance of fixed sign midpoints. Those early houses were usually more closely modelled on the signs of the zodiac than today. Some sources equate the two, some use analogy. How can we "see the second edition of C.U.R.A. : Dec. the 10th"?
"Aries is not Mars, as Saturn is not Capricorn : but they are the equivalent archetype according to 2 views of the consciousness."
No way I would ever agree with these misleading equations! Whose 2 views are you referring to?
"the Matrix is also another thing in my mind - UNDERLIES the four astrological STRUCTURES that I've named "Planetaire" (10 planets), Zodiac (this is not my invention), "Dominion" (8 houses, as the 8 spacial directions) and "Cyclade" (the cycles, ages... But the Structures themselves are variable. (The Greeks knew only 7 planets for instance). And the MODEL that an astrologer get (if he has got one, I repeat that) is always an interpretation of the Structures. I've made this distinction between Model - Structures - Matrix. The model is known, the structures are unknown, the matrix is somewhere unknowable."
If you have conceived the matrix as a pattern, you may be able to export it to other minds. If you can show that it manifests as spatio-temporal structures, others are more likely to agree. You have not done so yet. What you call Structures, Patrice, are merely categories. The category of Planetaire contains 10 (Sun, Moon & planets), the category of Zodiac presumably contains 12 signs, the category of Dominion only 8 houses/direction, and Cyclade is not even defined by number. This set of 4 categories is your model of the astrological belief system, I gather, but when you say the "model is known", I must say that it is only known thus by you. Not by the rest of us.
The weakness of the model is that it is arbitrary and lacks consistency with the main body of astrological tradition. Recognising 12 houses, even if only by analogy with 12 signs, would at least allow detection of an underlying mathematical structure in common to the two categories of cosmic division. Recognising Ptolemaic aspects as another such category would allow you to extend the same pattern to three categories. Describing this common pattern underlying all three types of time cycle division would enable you to identify a genuine mathematical matrix. Your model and mine would then be very similar and potentially identical.
Having consulted the dictionary, I realise Patrice may intend us to understand his usage of matrix as non-mathematical (womb, ground, perhaps even context). This sense seems valid but much less productive to me.
I wrote: "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." Bill Tallman responded in 4/90...
"Ah, ask and ye shall receive!!! A question, and almost certainly the central question of the matter of astrology itself. Dennis hits the bullseye here and no further contestants need take a shot if this question can be successfully addressed... well, that's probably hyperbole, but I think I've made my point!"
Had to chuckle.. didn't expect any impact.
"Some comments: When you ask "how", you are requesting an understanding of process, I suggest. A process is made of functions, which are complexes of mechanisms that perform a definable operation on whatever flows through the process. When you get to the point where you understand the workings of the mechanisms, you can achieve a comprehension of the functions and so of the nature of the process itself (independent of what is processed)."
Certainly scientists would expect this extent of description, but I'd be happy with explanations of general principles.
"Someone at some point said that God is in the details (God *is* the details?). Someone else said (Paul Dirac, actually..) that God was a mathematician, and the thought occurs that mathematics might be usefully described as the only tool that can adequately address the details. If both of these are true, then God is where he belongs, presumably. These statements are couched in terms that are pan-culturally acceptable: God is everywhere responsible for everything that we don't know and so cannot create the illusion that we can control."
Well I'd always heard the devil lurked in the details, but I guess God can be devilish to unbelievers, huh? Give them maths exams, for instance.
"I'm back to the same point that has been in contention here from the beginning: there are
< snip > In any case, it appears that Hebbian connectivity is well regarded now as the actual mechanism involved, etc."
This angle is new to me, Bill. Thanks, it looks promising.
"seems to me that this sort of process of modification might be generally the case in the function of the body (brain/mind/soul/whateverelse..). One can envision incidental contemporaneous organic/biological events of like kind becoming linked thereby, made possible by a brief state change available to both (all) such events in process. This is a strategic speculation, not a tactical speculation; it addresses a global process type that has a defined function, but does not address any specific example."
How does this relate to neural nets? Brain cells getting in synch in an instant, producing psychic states, it would seem.
"If this conjecture has any validity, then we can suspect that type of process is responsible for a variety of abilities to change in response to change in environment, and in this case we are specifically looking at the subtle (inobvious) changes in the environment caused by the changes in the configuration of the solar system. Incidentally, the use of the word "caused" here does not mean to imply that the linkage is entirely causal in nature: regard it as a convention of usage, please. In all this, the operative quality was the coincidence in time, which is nicely described as "synchronicity", I think."
Yes, that is the most commonly understood meaning of synchronicity, regardless of Jung's various definitions.
"What each individual makes of these sorts of changes depends on the individual's experience, and history thereof. So we cannot expect to dependably define the sorts of experiences that exhibit synchronicity, I suspect. But we can assume the possibility of a real process that is a function of coincidence in time, and so we can assign the concept of synchronicity to a probable biological function of some sort(s)."
Well, only perception, so far as I am aware. Hang on, though, what about intuition? Or feeling? Looks like any psychological function may be involved.
"That's the best I can do with the concept of synchronicity, but at least I've put forth a possible definition of what it is. The importance of this is that it serves to show that the recognition that is the phenomenon of synchronicity by present usage is not arbitrary, that it has a potentially real basis for existence."
Inasmuch as Bill has sketched a link between synapses, psyche, and environment, perhaps so. It does seem that Bill prefers to have something grounded in the physical before acknowledging that it is real. I share this bias, though not to the same extent, while being aware how antiquated or scientific it may seem to others. Those with a background in social sciences tend to take synchronicity at face value, no problem. For them, just the fact that so many these days agree that it is a typical experiential phenomenon suffices to make it real. Those who live in the postmodern universe now out-number the moderns. Well, in (pseudo-)intellectual circles, at any rate. Lurking in alt.psychology.jung this year has frequently given me interesting discussions of synchronicity and the archetypes, though the invisible walls preventing multi-disciplinary perspectives are always in evidence. Several physicists have published books on these subjects, and I find their perspective more fruitful.
Digest 91 just arrived, in which Bill responds to this comment from me:
> What first becomes evident here, signalled by the term `psychic-astral', is
> an apparent assumption Patrice has made. He seems to have assumed horoscopes are birth-charts. This is not so. Most horoscopes in use depict
> human births, but many do not. The term `psychic-astral' links states of
> the psyche with states of the stars, leaving mundane circumstances out of
> the equation. Patrice seems to have implicitly rejected the most ancient
> element of the astrological tradition. Horoscopes have always been used to
> divine events, which is why they are diagrams of the holistic relations of
> the event to the cosmos. The most popular class of events chosen by users of the system happens to be human birth-charts. Defining the system only in
> relation to this sub-class is a strategic error.
"I must say I am astonished to read this. This is the first time I've seen *any* other opinion that astrology is not inherently about human beings, such that the horoscope is always a birth chart... other than my own, that is. I will not presume that my repeated expression of this idea has any causal force here, but it is certainly heartening to see that the idea of astrology as application independent isn't just a figment of my imagination."
"I think it must be obvious, even painfully so, that the limitation of astrology strictly to its genethliacal form is a fundamental tenet for all but a few modern astrologers. Certainly all the well accepted current theories about astrology are founded thereon."
I'm surprised. I have actually made this observation twice previously in this list in recent months. The evidence has always been readily available, and the only reason most astrologers don't know about it is because they can't be bothered researching the historical development of their field of vocation. All one needs to be able to do is learn how to use a national library system and follow the trail of footnotes.
Citings, and reporting actual form taken by early horoscopes, would require a lengthy separate piece of writing and foray into my rather formidable archives, a veritable paper jungle! I hope readers will take the point that event charts were apparently used in ancient times as a general class, a line of enquiry, for divination. The surviving evidence that I'm aware of does not prove this, but it does prove that event charts were used to elect, proclaim, and celebrate, important political events. The implication is that heavenly configurations were omens. The events were important to all involved. The use of astrology here is clearly social rather than personal. The horoscopes were event charts, not human birth charts.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 4 Issue 93
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