Exegesis Volume 5 Issue #22

From: Janice & Dennis
Subject: the process(ion) of time

From: Patrice Guinard
Subject: Greek and Babylonian astrological "traditions"

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Time 3

Exegesis Digest Mon, 03 Apr 2000

Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2000 11:59:56 +1200
From: Janice & Dennis
To: Exegesis
Subject: the process(ion) of time

In Ex 5/12 Bill Tallman wrote: "Astrology can be made objectively valid only to the extent that we can create reproducible results and show some sort of reason why we can do so. The first part is not as difficult as we seem to think it is, but the second is gonna be a challenge, I fear."

Huh? Where are these reproducible results, so readily achieved? I agree they would be valid evidence that astrology "can be made objectively valid" if they had actually manifested in the real world, and were not merely hypothetical! If they are not real, yet are readily made real, why have they not been thus made?

In Ex 5/15 Bill wrote... "I propose that time is a metric, a proper measure, of process." "The word itself derives from 'proceed' which is from the Latin meaning 'to go forth'. Implied here is action (go) and direction (forth), which express the idea of change with purpose. Action expresses change, and direction demonstrates an intention arising from purpose."

I was surprised to find Bill advocating the teleological fallacy here, but I'm not inclined to dissent. Irrational, true, but I've always believed that the world must be purposeful, thus my trend towards integrating reincarnation into my world-view and horoscope interpretation. However one need not assume that purpose is all-pervasive. Occam would probably be happier if we merely assumed that systems in nature have a trajectory, along which they develop, which is moderated by environmental interaction.

Bill noted that "movement has a beginning and an end between which the motion takes place. Now, we've already suggested that no change takes place without a temporal dimension, and since a beginning (of anything, in fact) is a change, it cannot occur instantly; the same is true of the end, of course. This means that the simplest movement we can imagine entails at least three distinct periods, two of which connect the movement to what went before and what happens afterwards. < snip > ..all process(es) exist within (an implied) environment, from which they originate and into which they are resolved."

A lightning flash, according to Bill, is not instantaneous. Indeed, he is literally correct. The discharge of current from heaven to earth is a temporal process, by Jove (Zeus, or Thor, but originally Ouranos). However ought we to choose scientific rectitude and thereby deny common experience? I believe astrology ought to conform to common sense as much as possible, in order to seem realistic and therefore become accessible to people. The traditional preserve of exclusivity to a priesthood to exalt the sanctity of the `truth' renders it sterile and irrelevant to the evolutionary destiny of the human race, in my opinion.

Where I part company with Bill's analysis of time and process is therefore in regard to the issue of cardinality. Things begin pronto. Starts are fast, in essence. Sure, some processes take a while to get under way, and examples may be readily identified that appear to support Bill's case, but this is really just a matter of focus. Check out the bifurcations in chaos theory; they are not gradual departures, they are discontinuous phase transitions, as if a switch has been thrown.

The interaction of a process with its context can indeed be analysed into emergence and disintegration, and Bill is right to make this profound point. Processes are initiated, in the natural world as in technology, in an environmental context which endows them with initial conditions and a development trajectory. They commence (cardinal), operate awhile (fixed), and then distribute their consequences into their environment (mutable).

And, indeed, we must consider that "any given process is embedded within a larger process, which can be said to be macrocosmic, and so must also be comprised of smaller embedded processes, which can be said to be microcosmic." The holomovement consists of a multitude of processes within processes, just as the holarchy of nature consists of wholes containing parts which are themselves wholes containing parts, etc, systems containing subsystems, levels of qualitative emergence at all scales.

Bill wrote that "linear time is an incomplete perception of cyclic time, in that linear time does not describe a process, which must have context, and which is complex in fundamental nature, possessing some number of subprocesses. Cyclic time does all these things." Yes, so it seems, yet I suspect this will be obscure to others. Scientists, for example, will probably deny that cyclic time exists, let alone contains, by implication, an archetypal sub-structure that generates processes.

So to the commentary from Bill Sheeran on the same material (Ex 5/19). "This is a very dodgy definition of process, which would require some elaboration before I could buy it. To what extent are purpose and intent an aspect of weather processes?" Does my suggestion of trajectory accommodate your objection, Bill? The butterfly flaps its wings, setting in motion a cascading sequence of processes in passing time. Action in a direction, change with a purpose. The obvious flaw in the logic is that the effects resulting from the action & change only seem to be consequential of prior intent or purpose in retrospect. The butterfly does not intend to change the weather. However, its action is purposeful in relation to its own life trajectory.

Further to this, we ought to recall that action = energy x time. Time passes, or flows, in a direction (toward the past). To what purpose? God knows. But she ain't telling.

Bill S then wrote: "It is a major topic of debate among scientist-philosophers as to whether time actually flows at all." He provided an illustration of this point. "The flow of time has no significance in the logically fixed pattern demanded by deterministic theory, time being a mere coordinate." [Hermann Bondi from "Relativity and Indeterminacy", Nature vol169, 1952, p660]

Ha! A coordinate on which axis? And where are the opposite ends of this axis pointing?

Some scientists may still deny their personal recognition of the flow, or even of the direction, but everyone else will dismiss them as cretins. To take these inadequate people seriously is an error of judgement; tacit denial, for instance of the theory of evolution. The arrow of time is a hallowed scientific concept, and the failure of a few scientists to cognite it need not concern us.

"Life is essentially an infinite tapestry of processes inter-connected by multiple feedback loops." Yes, and we ought not to assume that these loops are all detectable (take form in physical mechanisms).

"Process is the bridge between structure and function. In non-linear (i.e. living) systems, the dynamics of the process are modulated by internal and external factors, again via feedback control mechanisms. Separating out what is cause and what is effect is impossible." Good point, profound implications.

So "the concept of "attractors" in time (or space-time), bifurcation theory, and the conservation of pattern across scale which is a feature of systems which have a fractal-like character will bring its rewards.. It will also bring you to the coal face of creative modelling of dynamic systems, which is what astrology is actually addressing (the behaviour of complex systems)." Whilst agreeing with the point here, I have to dissent from the tail end statement somewhat. It would be nice if astrology addressed the behaviour of complex systems, but it really only addresses moments of time, events, personal character & destiny, and to some degree temporal processes & societal trends, so far as I can tell.

"All nature oscillates in time, but unless you're Plato, this doesn't mean that oscillations cause time, or that time has a cyclic nature. Astrology may have a cyclic nature all right, and in that it mirrors all of nature." Plato was, I presume, correlating time with the prime mover. This was the creator rotating the heavens, while occupying his driver's seat in the highest heaven. Time was identified with the heavenly cycles by everyone. God's will, religious orthodoxy. Mathematical time had not yet been invented as a concept. Bill Tallman's point was not that "oscillations cause time", but that time "is well considered to be cyclic in nature". Do we have good reason to dissent from the archaic world-view that cosmic cycles produce time? Only intellectually. Experientially, nothing has changed. Astrology models the cyclic time of nature, and thereby helps us interpret experience.

"The endogenous and exogenous rhythms of life are not reflecting (or creating) cyclic time. They are a consequence of energy management. No movement - no life. No asymmetry - no free energy - no life. No in breath but only outbreath - no life." Dunno, but this maybe smacks of reductionism. Perhaps you are going too far here, Bill. I'm inclined to think that Bill Tallman has got this right - that systems in process evolve in phase relations with others, some of which are their internal parts, functioning as subsystems, and some which contain them and use them as operating parts. The holistic universe thus imposes cyclic time as part of the operating context. If you are an oyster, you are operating in the context of cyclic time imposed by the Gaian/Lunar relationship cycle, and you open & close synchronously with this.

"The processes happen in time, they are not a product of it." So it hinges on our definition of time, and this returns us to the issue of experiential as opposed to physical & mathematical time. I would suggest that physical time is relative to a frame of reference, whereas mathematical time is not necessarily. So physical time implies a user, whereas mathematical time is totally abstract (imaginary) and arbitrary. Dispensing with the latter as irrelevant to our purpose, we ought to focus on the polarity between the experiential time of any user (or organism) and the collective time of any ecosystem. Now on this planet the latter is part of the context provided by nature. Gaian time provides a common context to natural processes, from an organism-centered point of view, of which solar time is a primary component, and lunar time a secondary. Given this complex temporal context (including planetary cycles as further sub-components) it is merely a matter of perspective as to whether "processes happen in time, they are not a product of it." If you focus on the Gaian system (nature) as a whole, you can say that the internal processes happen in Gaian time, many of them clearly on cue. Are they produced by the planetary ecosystem, of which Gaian time is a conditioning component? Yes, so Bill Tallman is right on his point, as Bill Sheeran is on his.

The procession of moments in the flow of time deserves to be recognised as a generic factor of human experience. As moments pass our attention flits from feature to feature of our environment. Our interaction with this collective context is shaped accordingly. Individual consciousness is bound in a temporal continuum.

"Whatever astrology is all about, the rhythmic unfolding of potential *in time* manifests within and through the contextual matrix. It does not cause the system behaviour, and it does not happen *at* the system. The astrological factor is instead (in my opinion) a variable alongside all the other ones which contribute to the system dynamics - it's intrinsic to the system. In my opinion, a major conceptual shift is required in order to make sense of astrology. We have to move from "as above so below" to "as below so above", and take it from there."

Well I guess any disagreement here hinges on different ways of interpreting causality and perceived causal relations between things. That's why I find the archetypes of nature such a useful conceptual intermediary. They function as midwives of genesis and development. Vehicles for the delivery of (specific) potentials, catalysts of manifestation of same, patterns that appear synchronously below as above. Acting in synchronicity, are they acausal agents? Apparently. Do they seem to have a causal effect on the real world? Inasmuch as they form entities and processes, most certainly.

Dennis Frank


Date: Sat, 01 Apr 2000 11:19:46 +0200
From: Patrice Guinard
To: Exegesis
Subject: Greek and Babylonian astrological "traditions"

About Greek astrological tradition, I would say that we must be careful in making easy conclusions with the so few texts which have been saved - or which have not been voluntarily destroyed. My knowing of the modern academic hostility against astrology, and of the lack of objectivity concerning all that could affect its ideological patterns makes me think that it could have been worse in the first centuries of christianization (as it appears that the Fathers of Church have been for astrology the foes the most inveterate, with our modern scienticists ; for all this, see my Manifesto for astrology : http://cura.free.fr/artic-en.html - yet just partially translated). So it appears to me, like an hypothesis, that, not necessarily the worse astrological texts, but the most embarrassing, could have been systematically destroyed. It's a fact that Ptolemy seems to be rather alone in the mainstream of Greek astrology, but he could be "the tree which hides the forest". It could have been also a "3rd tradition", different of Ptolemy's and of Dorotheus's. It is why history is necessary for trying to know what could have happened.

About Project F. and Project H., I would say that the two "projects" don't look to me incompatible, and that it is as absurd to believe to practice a SUPPOSED hellenistic astrology, as to believe to invent alone the future astrology, that one of the XXIst and XXIInd centuries, without knowing what have done the former astrologers and maybe why they have failed. Because they have failed, at least since Kepler, because we are with astrology in this situation: daily horoscopes, dogs charts and so on.

As you write (in 5.19), Bill ...
 > I'd like to hear more about historical usage of the eight house system, and
 > I'll have the grace to duck my head if Patrice tells me I've only to read
 > his website.

.. please, let me know the results of your investigations on the web or elsewhere. For me, as I had the intuition of the existence of the eight astrological houses in November 1982 (as I've said), and as I've done after my utmost to find historical antecedents (I've given the references), if you find others, they are welcome. Now I guess they could be few, and if not, it will be good news.

Lorenzo Smerillo (in 5.20):
 > In conclusion therefore I would say that the division of the zodiac
 > into 12 signs is a refection of the combination of the 12-monthly
 > cycle with the three paths of Enlil, Anu and Ea, as well as being a
 > reflection of the mathematical insight that an arc of 360 degrees when
 > divided by 12 gives a very easily managed and measured 30 degrees,
 > which can be further divided by 12 again to give 2.5 segments. Precision
 > and exactitude were high virtues amongst the Babylonian astronomers, as
 > well as a certain geometric congruence.

It is indeed probable that the arithmetic facilities offered by the number 12, could have lead the astronomers of VIth or VIIth century BCE to privilege it. This interpretation is well-known besides. The fact remains that the existence of the 12 months of the calendar and that of portents associated with them (series ENUMA ANU ENLIL - or more exactly ENUMA ANU ENLIL EA -, but also "monthly" series IQQUR IPUSH) could have been the decisive factor. (so the matricial logic (by 12) indeed did exist long before the invention of the zodiac by astronomers)

I know the dating given by Vladimir Tuman (in 1992): i.e. Uruk, 2048 BCE for Mul.Apin I.1 and 1296 BCE for the 2nd tablet. But Hunger and Pingree (1989, p.12 and p.145) give Ninive? (latitude ~36°) towards 1000 BCE for Mul.Apin I.3 and I.5, and Papke (1978) gives Babylon towards 2300 BCE (for Mul.Apin I); he is followed by van der Waerden (in AHES 29, 1984).

Concerning the invention of the zodiac in the VIIth century BCE, I would say that it does not astonish me. (I did not know the work of Giovanni Petinato that you mention, and I thank you for this information). Abraham Sachs and Hermann Hunger (Astronomical diaries & related texts from Babylonia, Wien 1988, 1, p.55) mention 464 BC; van der Waerden (1974, p.126) gives 475 BC; and Rochberg-Halton (1993, p.49) gives the approximate date of 500 BC. I had taken myself the liberty to push back somewhat this last date, the middle of VIth century seeming more probable to me.

Notwithstanding I agree with your conclusion. Nevertheless my initial question was not of historical nature. (" Now, it seems to me, that... no astrologer has ever been able to justify this division by 3.") It was related to the ASTROLOGICAL justification of this division, which Kepler vainly sought. (about The historians' animosity towards astrology, see "Who's afraid of astrology ? (2/2)" at http://cura.free.fr/01qapa2.html - yet in French)

Patrice Guinard


Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2000 20:59:24 -0700
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: Time 3

In the last post, I spoke at some length about process as a concept, and the idea that we could identify the existence of a process that served as a standard of reference for all others; we called this the Primary Process. I suggested that this concept is useful as the basis for an analytical general point of view, and showed some ways such usage might be effective. I observed that one could usefully suggest that it is the question of the existence of a Primary Process itself that underlies some of our current thinking about the state of the human condition and the nature of our universe (our environment).

I would point out that, as I've presented it, a Primary Process must possess archetypal attributes, as it is fundamentally conceptual in nature. The essential nature of a Primary Process is that it can serve as a standard against which all processes can be measured, and a frame of reference within which all processes can be oriented. This dual purpose mandates that these attributes be both conceptual and manifestation independent, and intrinsically related to and so expressive of manifestation in the macrocosm within which the orientation can take place. This may seem to be a trivial matter, but perhaps it is not; this dual, then, bears keeping in mind, I think.

These archetypes are fairly well understood, as they have been the subject of much discussion for millennia. Various attributes thereof are debated as to their relative place in the scheme of things, and the ways in which they can be conceived to relate to each other are long standing issues that have been addressed in one form or other of nearly every philosopher of note. I won't reinvent the wheel here, but it would seem that the context of usage within which archetypes are placed is itself a factor, such that may become one of the parametric attributes of archetypes in general.

We have defined a process as a describable complex of actions that have purpose. Before we go any further, it's probably appropriate to speak of this purpose. We are accustomed to assuming that the presence of purpose implies human involvement, and we do so on the basis of the idea that only aware, sentient beings can have (exhibit and/or recognize) purpose. I would suggest that this is a limiting usage.

I would argue that we as human beings are an integral part of our universe and do not exhibit any totally unique attribute, and so must expect to find general manifestation of any phenomena we, as a species, might exhibit. It can be argued that the primary intent of any action or judgment we might make is fundamentally oriented to promote our own survival in some manner, and thus are different from any other life form only in degree, but not in kind. It can be argued that this is an expression of the nature of life, and so not different from any action that occurs anywhere else in nature, or in the universe itself; any change that occurs is an expression of the nature of that which changes, especially as change occurs in response to outside influence is an expression of the vulnerable nature of that which is changed.

Thus, we see that purpose and intent is more a matter of recognition of the essential nature of complexes of activity: all action is a manifestation of change which produces a difference we can call a result, and purpose or intent can be conceived as expression of the result. At issue here is the concept of free will, that purpose and intent necessarily imply free will. It seems apparent that any such consideration must exist within the context of the nature of that which is assumed to have free will, that no action deemed to express free will can be other than that which expresses the fundamental nature of the actor. So we see that the issue of a special definition of purpose and/or intent as an expression of free will is limited thereby. At the level at which we consider the archetypal attributes of process, those are a specific rather than general issue.

Therefore, our view of a complex of actions for a purpose, at the archetypal level, is simply a recognition that the difference produced as a result of the changes wrought by said complex (process) is inherent in the process itself. As such, the intent or purpose that we ascribe to our own processes, is, at a fundamental level, inherent in the their nature. To describe or define an intent or purpose is to speak of a manifest, rather than an archetypal, process. At this point, then, we can simply recognize this attribute as intrinsic part of the nature of process itself, and we need not consider it further.

Having addressed the concept of purpose and intent, we can now focus on the dynamics of archetypal process. The first question we must ask is: what is it that we would seek to understand concerning any given process? This is a very important question, because it dictates how one should proceed in addressing the dimension of time. In general, the concerns here are first that of scale, and then of appropriate measure.

If the question is that of the effect of the process of interest (POI), we must seek to place it in the context in which it exists, and that means identifying the larger process of which it is a part; it is this larger process that will define the scale of interest, and with regard to the temporal metric will indicate what may be used to identify the measure appropriate to investigation of the process itself. In doing so, we must remember that the POI may or may not be primarily defined by the effect it has within the larger process, because it may also have an effect beyond that larger process as well. Accordingly, we cannot assume that the metric appropriate to the larger process is the only one relevant to the POI; indeed, there may be some number of others that are also useful, of which any of these may or may not reveal themselves as primary to the POI.

In general, we may begin by viewing the POI as a integral whole, and consider how it may be seen to be one of the complex of activities of the larger process. This allows one to identify processes other than the POI, such that might have a similar relationship to the larger process. Further, it may reveal its function in the larger process, as the POI is identified as being part of a specific complex within the larger process that is functionally defined. These directions of investigation serve to reveal the context of the POI as it is (or is not) a part of the intrinsic nature of the larger process. The result sought here is the identification of some iterative or cyclical aspect of the larger process that may appropriately provide a natural metric for the POI.

For example, let us identify the POI as an individual human being, such as ourselves. This is a special case, as I will point out, but it provides the most comprehensive and accessible means of understanding these issues, because they are part of our own experience. We can choose the species of which are a member as a larger context.

Other like processes are other people, and we can easily identify how groups of people become, as groups, intrinsic aspects of the species itself. We can see how these groups manifest as families, tribes, communities, nations, etc.. We can see that each of these groupings may or may not be a subset of a larger group and so may or may not partake of the identity thereof. We can discern that each of these groups possesses some functional or existential attribute which may provide the basis of a unique identity. All of these complexes can be identified as intrinsic aspects of the species itself. And all of these provide the context from which we can derive some description of ourselves, (here, the POI itself as a single entity). Indeed, we may observe that this context is necessary for a complete description of the POI; if this is so, then without it there is no possibility of a satisfactory definition thereof.

In this case, we can easily determine an appropriate temporal metric, one that is indigenous to both the POI and the larger context itself. That metric is the human lifetime. Although we are accustomed to defining this in terms of observable metrics of an even larger process (the solar system), that is not necessary to this particular POI. The measure, following the idea that the POI itself should suggest it, arises from its own nature. That means that we must choose the functional or existential attribute first.

This choice naturally emerges from the desire to understand some aspect of the POI as observed in its presence within the (a) larger context. For instance, we can look at the way that the presence of the POI directs change within a significantly larger process, such that the rate of the change is large relative to the human lifetime. One way is through the reproduction functions, where a succession of individuals drive change through the mechanism of their differences.

Within the context of the family or tribe, we might identify the appropriate function as that of child-bearing and so we might set the measure as that of generations. Within the context of the community or nation, we might identify this function as that of public involvement, and so set the measure in terms of public influence. These are different measures than that of the lifetime: one lifetime may see several generations, but only two more or less terms of public influence.

If the measure of the lifetime is chosen when the generational function is of interest, the measure will not directly address the subject of interest, and if this is not recognized, misleading results may easily be obtained, fostering misleading or invalid conclusions. An obvious example of this is the perennial failure to understand the dynamics of succeeding generations using the lifetime as the measure; generations have their own interactions, most of which have little to do with individual life experiences.

I mentioned that the choice of the self as the example of the POI is a special case, and it is because it can confuse the observed with the observer. Here, it is necessary to understand that the individual reader is a special manifestation of the archetypal POI, and so no subjective assumptions are implied as necessary thereto. Indeed, this is an excellent opportunity to discern the differences between how the general archetype and the specific manifestation are addressed: the discernment of these differences is a profound practicum, for the ability to do this in the general case makes so many things, especially the application of astrology, so much easier.

The conclusion of this line of thought is that there *is no* necessarily implied qualitative description of the temporal dimension. It is entirely dependent on what understanding is sought. Unless that is recognized and specified, the proper measure, indeed, even the proper metric, cannot be established. The assumption that there is a standard Primary Process that effectively provides context to everything is thus invalid, and the notion that a standard absolute measure can be dependably useful is baseless.

We addressed and disposed of an attribute (purpose) that is commonly assumed to be of primary importance, and now we have addressed an attribute that is commonly assumed to be a constant, and we have shown that it is indeed only a variable. We see, then, that the assumptions that a set of equations expressing the usefulness of that constant are generally useless, for their use leads to misleading results. Such equations, in this case, might be: General individual effects within the environment (gie) are all a function of the entire individual lifetime (eil), expressed as "gie = f(eil)". False. "gie != f(eil)". The reader is entitled to decide that the immediate foregoing is a lot of folderol, and I agree. What I am saying is that there is no rigorous way of demonstrating that a qualitative temporal description can be assumed as a constant, and therefor relevant in all cases.

This leads us to make the following assertion as a conditional axiom upon which an astrological theory may be built:

 > There is no necessary Primary Process, and so no necessarily implied temporal metric or measure.

For astrology, we can derive the statement that there is no implicitly correct or valid astrological system (temporal metric and measure). That means that one cannot determine that there is a solution to the tropical/sidereal debate, to the clash of House systems, etc., etc., etc.. In order to determine whether or not a particular system, with its metric and measures, is or is not appropriate, the object of interest must be first identified and adequately described.

What is implied here is that there is no such thing as the ability to read from any given astrological technique any insight of dependably general application. This tosses Sun Sign astrology in the trashheap, at least as an intrinsically valid practice in itself. This tosses transit patterns as a means of generating inclusive insights in the same trashheap. I leave the reader to determine what other astrological practices are relegated there as well. In short, it is not theoretically possible to cast a horoscope and make general case pronouncements. Which implies that where and when that appears to succeed, we can suspect that there are other mechanisms at work.

I think my line of reasoning here is fairly solid, and I daresay that the conclusions seem to be supported by the evidence at hand. If this has any validity at all, then the statement I proposed above should bear consideration as part of the theoretical base of astrology.

The question is, then: if there are no qualitative constants applicable to the temporal dimension of process, are there any quantitative constants? I propose that the answer is yes, and will address this in the next of this series of posts.




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