|Exegesis Volume 4 Issue #97
Exegesis Digest Mon, 13 Dec 1999
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 1999 09:05:52 +1030
From: Rob Tillett
Subject: Prediction is the essence of Astrology
In response to those on this list who have recently dismissed the idea of prediction as somehow irrelevant or even impossible:
> The history and literature of oracles (and the two cannot be separated) exists
> almost entirely to teach the foolishness of believing in prediction.
The principal reason for the growth and development of astrology (and indeed any science) arises in an effort to make the world more meaningful and enable some useful planning through an understanding of the present (and the past) and the forecasting of likely trends for the future.
It seems to me that the whole of astrology *is* about prediction, whether the prediction of character from the symbolic structures of the birth chart, or the outcomes of future progressions and transits, or elections, or horary divinations based on the concept that the whole of the universe may be found in a grain of sand (or the whole of meaning be found in a moment).
As one of the world's busiest working astrologers, I must also say that I (and my colleagues) make predictions on a daily basis, most of which are spot on, according to our feedback. If some practitioners are unable to make accurate predictions using astrology, let them look to their own abilities and cease damning the essence of the art.
On another point, insofar as astrology needs to justify itself in scientific terms, as seems to be the general thrust of many posts, can this be really possible, given the incompatibility of an atomistic, materialist paradigm of science with the wholistic and spiritual paradigm of astrological wisdom? There are deep truths which form the base of our astrological structure which are quite unable to be articulated in the skeptical, po-faced language of the alienated twentieth century intellectual. Rob Tillett Visit Astrology on the Web Horoscopes, Relationships, Compatibility, Forecasts < http://www.astrologycom.com > PO Box 109 Rundle Mall, South Australia 5000 phone +61 8 8361 2200 - fax +61 8 8361 2277
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 21:32:42 +1300
From: Janice & Dennis
Subject: psyche as model of cosmos
Astropsychologists transformed `as above, so below' into `as without, so within'. Some of us eventually figure out this is just another way of saying the same thing: microcosm and macrocosm are structured with the same pattern, which endows each with the same archetypal quality. This dimension of quality is a weave, kaleidoscopic in detail, and the lens of astrology outlines basic structures in this mesh of details.
Neuroscience has thrown some light on the general features of brain function, and trends in this field are worth noting in respect of implications for our understanding of the structure of the psyche. We must begin to assess the extent of correspondence between the picture of the psyche that is gradually emerging from science, and that which astropsychology has produced. Gerald Edelman won the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine in 1972. I excerpt below a section of his article "Memory and the Individual Soul: against silly reductionism".
"Memorial events in brains undergoing selectional events are of the same ilk. Because the environment being categorized is full of novelty, because selection is ex post facto, and because selection occurs on richly varied historical repertoires in which different structures can produce the same result, many degrees of freedom exist.. We may safely conclude that, in a multilevel conscious system, there are even greater degrees of freedom. These observations argue that, for systems that categorize in the manner that brains do, there is macroscopic indeterminancy. Moreover, given our previous arguments about the effects of memory on causality, consciousness permits 'time slippage' with planning, and this changes how events come into being."
"Even given the success of reductionism in physics, chemistry, and molecular biology, it nonetheless becomes silly reductionism when it is applied exclusively to the matter of the mind. The workings of the mind go beyond Newtonian causation. The workings of higher-order memories go beyond the description of temporal succession in physics. Finally, individual selfhood in society is to some extent a historical accident."
"These conclusions bear on the classical riddle of free will and the notion of 'soft determinism', or compatibilism, as it was called by James Mill. If what I have said is correct, a human being has a degree of free will. That freedom is not radical, however, and it is curtailed by a number of internal and external events and constraints. This view does not deny the influence of the unconscious on behaviour, nor does it underestimate how small biochemical changes or early events can critically shape an individual's development. But it does claim that the strong psychological determinism proposed by Freud does not hold. At the very least, our freedom is in our grammar."
"These reflections, and the relationship of our model of consciousness to evolved values bear also on our notion of meaning. Meaning takes shape in terms of concepts that depend on categorizations based on value. It grows with the history of remembered body sensations and mental images. The mixture of events is individual and, in large measure, unpredictable. When, in society, linguistic and semantic capabilities arise and sentences involving metaphor are linked to thought, the capability to create new models of the world grows at an explosive rate. But one must remember that, because of its linkage to value and to the concept of self, this system of meaning is almost never free of affect; it is charged with emotions. This is not the place to discuss emotions, the most complex of mental objects, nor can I dedicate much space to thinking itself. But it is useful to mention them here in connection with our discussion of free will and meaning. As philosophers and psychologists have often remarked, the range of human freedom is restricted by the inability of an individual to separate the consequences of thought and emotion."
"Human individuals, created through a most improbable sequence of events and severely constrained by their history and morphology, can still indulge in extraordinary imaginative freedom. They are obviously of a different order from nonintentional objects. They are able to refer to the world in a variety of ways. They may imagine plans, propose hopes for the future, and causally affect world events by choice. They are linked in many ways, accidental and otherwise, to their parents, their society, and the past. They possess 'selfhood', shored up by emotions and higher-order consciousness. And they are tragic, in so far as they can imagine their own extinction."
"It is often said that modern humans have suffered irreversible losses from several episodes of decentration, beginning with the destruction of earlier cosmologies placing human beings at the centre of the.universe. The first episode, according to Freud, however, took place when geocentrism was displaced by heliocentrism. The second was when Darwin pointed out the descent of human beings. And the third occurred when the unconscious was shown to have powerful effects on behaviour. Well before Darwin and Freud, however, the vision of a Newtonian universe led to a severe fatalism, a view crippling to the societal hopes of Enlightenment thought. Yet we can now see that if new ideas of brain function and consciousness are correct, this fatalistic view is not necessarily justified. The present is not pregnant with a fixed programmed future, and the programme is not in our heads. The theories of modern physics and the findings of neuroscience rule out not only a machine model of the world but also such a model of the brain."
"We may well hope that if sufficiently general ideas synthesizing the discoveries that emerge from neuroscience are put forth, they may contribute to a second Enlightenment. If such a second coming occurs, its major scientific underpinning will be neuroscience, not physics." [p204/5, Nature's Imagination, ed. John Cornwell, 1995]
The key feature concepts to be noted from this are a multilevel conscious system, degrees of freedom, macroscopic uncertainty, time shifts in planning, changing how events manifest, free-will modified by constraints, personal (subjective) meaning, interaction in the psyche between thought and emotion, intent/planning/choice, unique self-hood (individuality), (collective/individual) decentration. Even pillars of the scientific establishment are now to be found charting the terrain of the new paradigm, and consistency with the paradigm of astropsychology, as formulated by Dane Rudhyar, ought to be evident from these key features.
However general common ground such as this may be relegated as metaphysics or philosophy by those seeking more tangible congruence, and models of the psyche are as yet too insubstantial in neuroscience to compare. So far the holographic paradigm remains the only suitable contender, so maybe we ought to take another look at this. What if the brain does actually generate the mind as a model of the outside world, by design? Psyche as model of Cosmos then seems natural, the interior microcosm reflecting the exterior macrocosm, the metapattern structuring a relational multilevel holarchy of component systems mirrored in each, consciousness functioning as a Janus-faced scanner, able to detect patterns both without and within.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 4 Issue 97
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