Exegesis Volume 5 Issue #53

From: JG or DF
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V5 #50

From: Juan Revilla
Subject: Exegesis Digest V5 #50 -- Definitions of astrology

Exegesis Digest Fri, 08 Sep 2000

Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2000 18:28:40 +1200
From: JG or DF
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V5 #50

Bill Tallman wrote:
 > Re V4#45, I think we basically agree, except for the direct
 > experience part.

Good, Bill. I'd like to know why you don't agree with that bit, so I hope you will explain your different view.

Bill also commented on another recent thread:
 > One of the most commonly misunderstood concepts in any discussion of
 > astrology is the nature of astrology itself. It's not hard to see why this
 > is so given astrology's history, but that does not obviate the need to have
 > a common starting point if there is to be any progress in understanding
 > these matters. In the last half dozen or so digests, I've observed a lack
 > of agreement about the positions of argument. The result is that there
 > seems to be a continual repudiation of any position at all, on anyone's
 > part.

It coincided with a number of planets transiting Virgo. People will always focus on differences during these periods. Astrologers would only prove themselves exceptions to the rule if motivations other than critical (or nit-picking) prevailed. Common ground is normally more accessible or evident during transits of Scorpio and Aquarius.

 > One of the more intractable aspects of these, indeed, any, discussions is
 > that of generating a consensus of definitions. In a general sense it could
 > be observed that the process of generating that consensus is the intended
 > aim of the discussion itself; in a practical sense, what works most
 > effectively is to establish what agreements can be made at the beginning
 > and use them as a basis to proceed to further mutual understanding.

Yes, but Exegesis has been structured as a discussion forum. Only if moderator and participants agreed to establish a `task force' to formalise agreements could we reasonably expect contributors to administer appropriate self-discipline in order to produce the desired results.

 > Unfortunately, the individual purposes of discussions are generally
 > disguised agendas to air one's own views using the discussion format as a
 > sounding board, and the considerations of the views of others are seen as
 > an interference in that process.

The difference between a team and a discussion group is created by their different purposes. A discussion group mainly functions to raise consciousness; people are motivated to comment and inform others of their views. Information, entertainment, communicating, teaching, and learning characterise the group process. No preference for agreement over disagreement is expressly required by the format. A team is vastly different; it functions to get specific agreed desired results. In a game, these are usually to win, have fun, get exercise, build team spirit, etc. A team will normally have a leader and a coach. It has a plan, and when operating successfully all members pull together. It is no accident that the team format captured the entire capitalist economy in the past decade!

 > What happens is that the parties involved rather immediately engage in
 > defense of their views at the expense of understanding those of others. So,
 > agreements are not sought such as can be used as a basis upon which to
 > build. It can be observed that people tend to talk past each other, even
 > when they think they are doing due diligence to the purpose of the
 > discussion. This is what happens when the requirements of establishing
 > points of agreement of meaning and purpose are not observed.

Precisely. [Immediately as that word entered my mind, selected as the next word/sentence for me to type. Someone on the television in the next room uttered that identical word/sentence! Such a synchronicity always cues me to check the astroclock: Venus exact on the Descendant in Libra! A signal of pleasure in harmonious personal relations, via diplomacy and negotiation. The subject matter of any use of language reflects the social process in the moment, in which the astrological archetypes are embedded, emerging in manifestation. The issues of precision in group process are reflected in both Mercury and Sun transiting the mundane 6th in Virgo, the potential innovative trend and changing paradigm is reflected in the 11th house Uranus in Aquarius. Such synchronicities illuminate how real astrology works.]

 > What is astrology? Well, obviously one can conceive it in a number of ways
 > and from a number of points of view, most of which can easily wind up being
 > mutually exclusive at some point. And it seems that these discussions
 > rather unerringly identify those points straight away, and hold to them
 > tenaciously. It appears to me that there is an underlying reason for the
 > consistency of this phenomenon, and that should be identified if these
 > discussions are to become anything more than proforma platforms of opinion.

Agreed. What is it?

 > This is made even more unfortunate by the obvious presence of intelligence
 > and diligence on the part of those who contribute here. Well, that does
 > not, as it happens, include me: I must confess that I'm astounded to learn
 > that I have a "thought disorder", which disqualifies me in these
 > regards....... < lol!!! >

Huh? Guess I missed that bit. Don't worry, tidy minds produce more than ordered thoughts just as tidy gardens produce weeds. All microcosms of nature contain elements of chaos...

 > I suggest that the inability to come to any level of agreement about a
 > working definition of astrology rests solidly on the use of a particular
 > definition as part of one's professional identity. < snip >

Not really. More that there is no incentive to come to agreement. Therefore practitioners never try to do so. Also, I am unconvinced that professional astrologers even go so far as to express a definition of astrology since I have not noticed any evidence of such. Some, who become authors, may venture capsule descriptions in their books that could perhaps be extracted from context and considered as contenders for such evidence. All that would be lacking is agreement by the author that the descriptions are suitable as definitions.

 > I suggest that there be discussions about the manifold possibilities of
 > definition of astrology. Such discussion would need to have some points of
 > agreement to even get off the ground, of course, and I suspect one of those
 > might be the common recognition that astrology can comfortably encompass
 > some number of domains and ranges of definition, and do so without risking
 > an internal explosion that would consign it to oblivion.

A sizable bush, but I'd be happy to join others in beating around it. It's unlikely to explode in flames, since Yahweh has abandoned the habit in recent millennia.

Patrice Guinard wrote:
 > Astrology is not what astrologers do, but something that lies beyond
 > them.

There now, you see how big this bush is? I'm tempted to share the sentiment, but the pragmatist in me forbids it. To do so would be to defeat, in advance, any effort of public education. Juan's view, if I interpret it correctly, is the pragmatic one of defining astrology as what most astrologers do. Perhaps including what most astrologers believe. I'm reluctant to be that pragmatic, since never in the history of the human race has it been demonstrated consistently that the truth is reliably identified with what most people believe, or do. However the starting point for any endeavour to define astrology must be the understanding of the subject held collectively in the public mind. This is probably most readily identified by consulting the dictionary.

Patrice seems to be indicating a preference for the underlying reality that astrology purports to address, and I share that priority. However we don't know what it is, and have merely our respective partial descriptions of it that differ from each other. I think improving upon the traditional definition would be more productive.

 > You know, Patrice and Dennis, there is real value in the recognition that
 > any systemic representation of any reality holds potential insights,
 > especially when that reality is not understood in its own terms. You can
 > use Numbers here in the manner Dennis proposed when he hit this list last
 > century < snip > The point is that each of these has
 > its own particular facet through which the "diamond jewel" may be viewed.
 > Perhaps reality consists of all these views together?

Close. The way I see it is that reality is best seen via a synthesis of apparently relevant views. That approach is essentially modern, or postmodern perhaps, in counterpoint to the use of dictionary and accepted understanding. It should be used as soon as improvement of the old meaning seems sufficiently effected.

Dennis Frank


Date: Thu, 07 Sep 2000 04:30:30 -0600
From: Juan Revilla
To: Exegesis
Subject: Exegesis Digest V5 #50 -- Definitions of astrology

 > From: Patrice Guinard
 > Astrology is not what astrologers do, but something that lies beyond them...

OK. So our objects of inquiry and interest are different.

If what astrologers have been doing for thousands of years...

- artificially freezing time and reducing reality to conventional and discrete coordinates to work with those coordinates exclusively and not with the reality from which they are derived,

- developing a system based on analogies that is only indirectly and superficially tied to the celestial mechanics from which it obtains its elements,

- working with symbolical entities and symbolically manipulated time units,

- etc.

.. contradicts clearly the idea I have of what astrology is, let's ignore it, too bad for the astrologers. It means that astrologers, since before the time of Ptolemy, have gone astray.

 > From: "William D. Tallman"
 > Juan, you are constrained by the narrowness of your view of astrology.

So is everybody.

Opinions about the worth of arguments does not constitute a discussion.

We are basing ourselves on different definitions of what constitutes astrology and what doesn't. To define astrology in terms of < a mechanism by which certain terrestrial phenomena are made subject to influence by certain celestial configurations > is to narrow the scope of astrology very extensively, dismissing most of the non-physical, acausal, analogical, cultural, symbolic constructs with which all astrologers work everyday.

I suggest that the nature of the tools astrologers use and the way they are used must be the basis for a definition of what astrology is, instead of very subjective a priori prejudices or assumptions, such as pretending to explain astrology in physical terms and dismissing what astrologers do that contradicts this assumption.



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