Exegesis Volume 5 Issue #71

From: Juan Revilla
Subject: objections to synchronicity - expanded

From: JG or DF
Subject: archetypes (part 2)

From: Juan Revilla
Subject: synchronicity

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V5 #65

Exegesis Digest Thu, 26 Oct 2000

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 22:42:29 -0600
From: Juan Revilla
To: Exegesis
Subject: objections to synchronicity - expanded

I would like to extend a little my last comments on synchronicity. I was interested in explaining a principle I see working in Astrology which I think invalidates the argument that "synchronicity" can be used to explain how Astrology works, and which also invalidates many other very common explanations of astrology.

By "synchronicity" I mean a coincidence in time (and space) of apparently unrelated events or phenomena, such as, in Astrology, celestial/astronomical (or astrological) events and events happening on earth or in a person's life, be them objective or subjective. This is usually understood as the two events happening simultaneously, in temporal parallel. A direct correspondence in time is assumed. It is also assumed that Astrology works based on this type of direct correspondences between "earth" and "sky".

As I mentioned before, I believe this is true of Astrology as an idea, or Astrology in its origins in ancient Babylonia, but the situation of Greek horoscopy, the Astrology we practice today, is very different.

To understand this I refer to what I call "astrological practice", i.e., what can be observed about the way astrologers proceed or operate, and have been operating since the beginnings of horoscopy over two thousand years ago. This operation is determined by the tools used, and has nothing to do with the "social behavior" of astrologers as Dennis has suggested. We can also call this practice "astrological language" in the linguistic sense.

"Synchronicity" implies a synchrony or coincidence in time between two sets of phenomena, like between astrological cycles (the difference between "astrological" and "astronomical" cycles does not matter in this case), and this assumes that Astrology works "in real time", that what we observe in an astrological diagram or calculation is really happening at a given point in time, that the astronomical "event" being measured astrologically refers directly to what is happening in life or in consciousness, etc., i.e., "in real time"

By "real time" I mean actual physical time, and my objections refer specifically to the assumption that the synchronicity is to be understood between events that coincide in time, time understood physically and objectively. The term "real time" comes from computer technology, and refers to the actual time elapsed or required for the continuation of a physical process (Ed Fallis or anyone else can correct me in this use of the term!).

I understand that psychologically, in terms of consciousness, "real time" does not exist. We see the past (and probably the future) interacting with the present all the time, as if they co-existed temporally in a platform of consciousness where duration is very elastic. But we could hardly compare the mathematical-astrological measurements with this subjective time of consciousness. I consider Astrology as mathematical measurement of this "unreal time" of consciousness, but I cannot say that "time" as measured by astrology and the physical "real" time coincide, because they are happening in different planes.

In other words, there is a "coincidence" of two planes, but they are not "synchronic", they are not happening objectively at the same time. Therefore there is no "synchronicity". Astrology almost never operates in real time. ASTROLOGY IS NOT SYNCHRONIC WITH NATURE except in exceptional cases such as astrometeorology and some techniques of mundane astrology, if by "Astrology" we understand the Greek horoscopics we all know instead of the idealized Astrology generally assumed, which is immediately contradicted as astrologers begin to work.

For example: progressed secondary Sun conjunct radical Venus, coinciding to a very important love-encounter in the life of a person at 36 years of age. In the physical world, the conjunction with the radical Venus happened 36 days after birth; this is the astrological (not "celestial!) event, and the actual corresponding event in life at 36 years of age is not synchronic with it, there is no coincidence of time between the two, physically speaking.

Sometimes the metaphorical hypothesis of the "imprint" at birth is used to explain why transits, for example, "work". This imprint is assumed to "stay active" and to last in time through the duration of a person's life, and, in this case, a transit to a chart (the imprint), would be synchronic. The objections to this are obvious:

1- This metaphorical hypothesis applies only to living organic creatures and leaves unexplained the rest of astrological applications (horary, electional, mundane). Astrology makes charts of symbolical and subjective events (a question, a political event, a nation, the signing of a contract, an imaginary being of literary fiction, etc.) for which there is no body in the physical-organic sense, therefore no physical "imprint" is possible. Most of those events, as most of astrology, exist only in the human mind or imagination.

2- A transit "to a person" is very different from "a transit to a diagram". A person and a diagram of the heavens at birth are fundamentally different things. The life of a person happens in real-time, in simultaneity or synchrony with the motions of the heavens and the whole of nature. Birth-chart astrology has no way of measuring a transit happening "to a person". We simply take the chart AS IF it were a person. Charts do not happen in real time. They are fixed in time artificially in a way impossible in nature, and the techniques (progressions, directions, etc.) that model their duration are based on analogies between natural units of time, but they never happen in real time.

As I mentioned, there is "synchrony" at the moment of erecting the chart. But this moment is artificially fixed and from then on everything is a-synchronic with nature. This artificial freezing of time can be said to be "happening in synchronicity" only in a very limited sense., and the synchronicity is tangential. This applies to Horary Astrology as well.

There is no doubt that the "imprint" (or whatever that is, the "seal") fixed at birth SEEMS to endure in time. But there is nothing that compels the mind to assume that this imprint is organic or biological, and the other branches of astrology deny it. Therefore, when a transit "touches" a point of this very symbolical "imprint" (a metaphor only, metaphor is the only way of connecting the two things possible for us today), the two events (the transit and the moment of the imprint) are not synchronic in the physical or natural sense. There can be no "synchronicity".

The same objections apply to all those interpretations of astrology that pretend to see "natural causes", direct "influences" in real time between planets or stars and people or things. Astrology is not synchronistic. Astrology is not synchronic with nature.



Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 21:17:16 +1300
From: JG or DF
To: Exegesis
Subject: archetypes (part 2)

Part 1 prompted the question of whether the archetypes of nature can be composite. Kepler's textual usages are both singular and plural, suggesting that this was his view. Regardless, we must certainly have evolved with the continual recognition of the patterns of form that they produce, and the innate capacity for recognising them may be more fundamental than perception.

"The faculty which perceives and recognizes the noble proportions in what is given to the senses, and in other things situated outside itself, must be ascribed to the soul... it might be asked how this faculty of the soul, which does not engage in conceptual thinking, and can therefore have no proper knowledge of harmonic relations, should be capable of recognizing what is given in the outside world. For to recognize is to compare the sense perception outside with the original pictures inside, and to judge that it conforms to them... the mathematical relations given in sensibility call forth those intelligible archetypes which were already given inwardly beforehand. so that they now shine forth truly and vividly in the soul. where before they were only obscurely present there. But how have they come to be within? To this I answer that all pure Ideas or archetypal patterns of harmony, such as we were speaking of, are inherently present in all those who are capable of apprehending them. But if they are not first received into the mind by a conceptual process, being the product, rather, of a sort of instinctive intuition of pure quantity, and are innate in these individuals, just as the number of petals in a plant, say, is innate in its form principle, or the number of its seed chambers is innate in the apple." This passage, in which Kepler is discussing the formative role in nature of the number archetypes, is taken from Harmonices Mundi and quoted by transpersonal psychologist/ philosopher Ken Wilber along with this comment on it by physicist Heisenberg: "So far Kepler. He is, therefore, referring us to possibilities already to be found in the animal and plant kingdoms, to innate archetypes that bring about the recognition of forms. In our own day, Adolf Portmann, in particular, has described such possibilities, pointing, for example. to specific colour patterns seen in the plumage of birds, which can possess a biological meaning only if they are also perceived by other members of the same species. The perceptual capacity will therefore have to be just as innate as the pattern itself"" (1)

Heisenberg quotes Pauli: "The process of understanding in nature, together with the joy that man feels in understanding, ie in becoming acquainted with new knowledge, seems therefore to rest upon a correspondence, a coming into congruence of pre-existent internal images of the human psyche with external objects and their behaviour. This view of natural knowledge goes back, of course, to Plato and was... also very plainly adopted by Kepler. The latter speaks, in fact, of Ideas, pre-existent in the mind of God and imprinted accordingly on the soul, as the image of God. These primal images, which the soul can perceive by means of an innate instinct, Kepler calls archetypes. There is very wide-ranging agreement here with the primordial images or archetypes introduced into modern psychology by CG Jung, which function as instinctive patterns of ideation... Insofar as these images are the expression of a suspected but still unknown state of affairs, they can also be called symbolic, according to the definition of a symbol proposed by Jung. As ordering operators and formatives in this world of symbolic images, the archetypes function, indeed, as the desired bridge between sense perceptions and Ideas, and are therefore also a necessary precondition for the emergence of a scientific theory." (1)

"While teaching mathematics and astronomy at the University of Gratz, Kepler set himself the task "to give physical, or if you prefer metaphysical, reasons" for Copernicus's `mathematical' description of the solar system. The eventual result was his publication of Mysterium Cosmographicum in 1596, in which Kepler says he wanted to explain "the Number, Size and Motions of the Orbs". Note here that the orbs he mentions are those spheres of which the planetary orbits are sections, in which tradition he follows Copernicus, Ptolemy, Eudoxus and Aristotle. The geometrical cosmology he presented to the world in this book was based on the notion of the 'polyhedral archetype'. (2)

This was that the primary numbers, 1,2,3,4 & 5, manifested in the architecture of the planetary orbits: "According to Kepler's account, it was his attempt to select five particular polygons to describe the six Copernican orbs that led him to think of polyhedra instead of polygons. Why should there be plane figures between the three-dimensional orbs? Five particular solid figures were easily distinguishable from others, namely the five Platonic solids, described in Book XIII of the Elements". Kepler says "the figures pleased me, as being quantities, and things prior to the heavens. For quantity was created at first, with body, the heavens were created the next day". Field comments that this is quite clearly a reference to the first chapter of Genesis: 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth... God called the firmament heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day." (3)

Colin Wilson comments that Kepler's "notion about the 'perfect solids' was, at worst, an inspired guess. If we recall that every astronomer since Plato had taken it for granted that the heavens were made up of a series of invisible spheres, it was by no means a preposterous idea. In the Mysterium, Kepler admitted that there were a few minor discrepancies between his theory and the actual figures. Yet he remained convinced that he had stumbled on the great secret of the universe..." (4)

Kepler regarded numbers as being eternal ideas of God: "our faith holds that the World, which had no previous existence, was created by God in weight, measure and number, that is in accordance with ideas coeternal with Him". (3) "The mathematical basis of Kepler's theory was derived from the Elements, whose purpose he believed to have been to establish the existence and properties of the five regular solids which he used to explain the structure of the Universe. Their ancient name of 'World Figures' lent its authority to his application of them... Kepler's theory was firmly based on the Platonic belief that mathematical truths should be seen as determining the structure of the observable Universe." (5) Field says Kepler's theory was "established on a secure, Euclidean, mathematical base. It was, however, a base which Kepler himself was to undermine, by discovering two new regular polyhedra". Proposition 18 of Book XIH of the Elements "proves that it is not possible to construct any more than five regular bodies." (6) Kepler eventually transcended his earlier mathematical approach, realizing that "although he was inclined to think of the orbits as merely closed curves, the problem was in fact a three-dimensional one." (6) Kepler "states explicitly that he regards geometry as prior to arithmetic and refers the reader to Harmonices Mundi Book I for a fuller account of their relationship." (7)

Structures in space-time tend to be formed by the number archetypes, he seems to have intuited. Kepler "takes it as well established that certain numbers are of cosmological significance". (7) [I assume his apparent contradiction means that the formative effect of the number archetypes must be recognised as primary, and the human manipulation of numbers is secondary.]

He was struck by the fact that "The properties of the individual apparent motions [ie the motions seen from the Sun] are very close to musical ones". We must remember that at this time the solar system was still identified with the cosmos, and "Kepler regarded astrology as being of considerable importance in this connection." (8) "Like Ptolemy, Kepler sees musical consonances, the nature of astrologically powerful configurations and the structure of the planetary system as manifestations of a universal 'harmony' which is expressible in mathematical terms. For Ptolemy, the musical harmony is determined by the numbers which describe it - that is, it is numerological in origin - and the astrological harmony is an exact analogy of the musical one, involving the same ratios. For Kepler, as we have seen, the basis of the harmony lies not in numbers but in geometry, and the musical and astrological harmonies have different geometrical causes." (9)

Kepler thus demonstrates the instincts of a physicist, preferring to focus on physical form rather than the mathematical ideal. Kepler appears to have believed that physical forms have an archetypal basis that is founded on number, and I think he was correct to do so. He based his approach on Ptolemy's Harmonica, and Field observes "Once we recognize the close parallel between the Harmonica and the Harmonice Mundi, we can also see that Kepler's astrology is closely bound up with his cosmology." (10)

Field notes that "recent work, by Message (1982), shows that if a planetary system starts off close to resonance it will stay close to resonance indefinitely. This is as near as one can reasonably expect to come to being given scientific permission to believe in the validity of Kepler's musical commensurabilities." (11) Such a cautious position is hardly credible: Bode's Law demonstrates that numerical ratios are part of the structure of the solar system, and it cannot be denied that the interlocking resonances of the planets and sun have produced a stable solar system by mutual entrainment. Fault may be found with Kepler's model, but scientists attempting to dismiss the similarity between musical and planetary harmonies as 'mere coincidence' are like Lord Nelson at Trafalgar putting a telescope to his blind eye. Scientists ought to be learning about the striking coincidences of nature, not running away and hiding from them.

The number archetypes were not, however, the primary foundation of Kepler's cosmology and astrology: "The inspiration of the Mysterium Cosmographicum and of Harmonices Mundi Libri V is clearly Platonic, in the sense that in both works Kepler sets out to describe the beautiful mathematical Archetype according to which the observable Universe was constructed." (12) This is God's mathematical master-plan, of which the number archetypes are primary components.

So what we are left with is the question of the relationships between the composite archetype that seems to give form to the solar system, and the components of that which seem to give form to the structures within the system. My guess is that the origin of these relationships was symmetry-breaking in the latter part of the formative period of the universe. Regardless of this, we are able to identify the effects of the number archetypes as they seem to emerge in human perception and in the structure of the solar system and other natural forms at other scales in the holarchies of nature.

There's a book out called "Archetypes and Strange Attractors" which I haven't read, but it seems evident that the author assumes these 2 concepts are functionally similar, if not equivalent. Attractors have apparent physical affects, even if they are mere mathematical constructs. Someone may volunteer a definition, but my understanding is that there are structural tendencies and dispositions for systems to change state, and attractors are what attracts the system into a new state. Similar comments can be made about archetypes. Scientists shun metaphysics, but the language of the paradigm shift in science is being forged with metaphysical concepts.

(1) "The Astrologer and the Paradigm Shift", D Frank, 1992, p394/5. quoting from "Quantum Questions", ed. K Wilber, 1984, p164/5. (2) ibid. (and the following 6 paragraphs) p389/90. (3) quoting "Kepler's Geometrical Cosmology", JV Field, 1988, p49. (4) quoting "The Book of Time", C Wilson, 1980, p111. (5) quoting Field p71. (6) ibid. p50. (7) ibid. p61. (8) ibid. p83. (9) ibid. p164. (10) ibid. p165. (11) ibid. p149. (12) ibid. p167.

Dennis Frank


Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 16:59:04 -0600
From: Juan Revilla
To: Exegesis
Subject: synchronicity

Dennis wrote:

 > Depends what you mean by astrology. I expect you mean `what most
 > astrologers do',

What they do, and what I have done for more than 25 years, is no different fundamentally from what has been done for over 2000 years. We are still using the same principles, adapted in different or new ways. This "Astrology" is therefore a historical entity which, despite cultural differences, is very consistent in terms of first principles, and the nature of the tools used is essentially the same, i.e., radical charts, analogies based on geometrical and mathematical proportions, structures of categories and meanings, etc., all this derived from models based on astronomy and the calendar...

 > Nowadays I tend to see any tendency to define astrology by the mass habits
 > of astrologers as akin to defining the culture of western civilisation as
 > being identical to the most popular television soap operas.

I feel that you misunderstand when I say "what astrologers do". Take your analogy: by studying with interest the order and structure of a television soap opera, you can learn a lot about techniques of acting, of writing scripts, of photography, illumination, and sound. You can learn a great deal about the technology for making television, etc. This is what I mean. Your assumption of my reference as belonging to the field of sociology is not what I have in mind.

 > Defining something by equating it with the lowest common denominator of
 > comprehension just doesn't seem wise.

Obviously I don't share your contempt about what astrologers do. I think it is a very clear defensive attitude, to which anybody is entitled, and which can be put into perspective by a psychologist, but is too far removed from reality. When I was younger and was absorbed by the academic atmosphere of the University, I had the same feelings about astrologers, and felt ashamed of being one! There is no doubt that many astrologers are ignorants and fools, but there are ignorants and fools everywhere, not only in astrology. Not all astrologers are part of a soap opera, and to affirm so is a to make soap opera of very serious and fundamental things.

The rules behind astrology are expressions of the structure of the human mind. We can learn a lot about the mind by learning how astrological tools and practices are built.

 > When your computer continuously displays a moving horoscope in real time
 > (i.e. of local space and local time), you have the capacity to observe
 > frequently the correspondence between real life events as they are
 > happening (or not long after) and what the astrology of the moment tells
 > you about its archetypal nature.

You call this astrology. I say this is not astrology. It is a question of defining the object of inquiry, and seems clear that ours are two different things. We are not interested in the same thing, since my main interest is understanding what astrologers do, and not precisely in the sociological sense that you are assuming about me. It is in the technical and epistemological sense, and part of clarifying what astrologers do and how they do it, is demonstrating what they don't do, no matter what has been said over and over for thousands of years. I sympathize with astrologers's critics, but I am not interested in inventing another type of astrology of my own.

 > Yes, but I see no point in using progressions or directions.

Ok. But whether you see a point in them or not, they are and have been defining parts of astrological practice for thousands of years. I personally don't care what my opinion of them is. They are part of astrology and I want to understand them. Furthermore, the analogical principle that sustains them (e.g., 1 day=1 year, etc.) is documented by ethnologists in cultural practices in different parts of today's world, and they seem to be reflections of some very basic associative processes of the human mind that belongs to the world of metaphor and the relationship consciousness has with time and the becoming.

 > I believe you are wrong about transits, at least in the sense in which I
 > understand the term. Current positions of planets form a collective frame
 > of reference, which we could call (perhaps) `the current cosmic
 > situation'. I agree this is mostly tacit in how it operates, even to the
 > (zillion) astrologers operating web sites that pretend to inform people
 > about current trends. Nonetheless, anyone who can actually interpret the
 > transiting aspects the Sun, Moon & planets make to each other, and the
 > transits they make through the signs of the zodiac, can access a cosmic
 > weather report anytime. When they do, they are reading the `real time'
 > synchrony you refer to.

I have no doubts about what you are saying, but I specifically explained that I am referring to transits to a chart, which is the most typical use. You are talking about transit-to-transit relationships.

 > ... Every time I cast my eyes on a horoscope of now, the meaning I read is
 > significant for me, and the synchronicity I thus experience is often quite
 > profound.

Yes. No doubt about it. There are many sychronistic events involved in the act of reading or interpreting a chart. The astrological consultation or reading is a synchronistic event par excellence. I am not talking about this, but about the nature of the tools used in astrology insofar as it is assumed that the sky-to-earth correspondence is being modelled in real time, while in reality it is not. Astrological tools are asynchronous among themselves, and the chart you read is asynchronous with nature by definition, no matter how synchronistic may be the moment of reading. The sky-earth or sky-person correspondence, as used by the historical/sociological entity or corpus called (horoscopic, Greek) Astrology (not by some new type of astrology that you invent!) is never synchronistic.

 > ... the moment of the query is also a synchronicity to the practitioner
 > who invests it with meaning.

Yes. But only that instant is synchronistic. Everything else is done on the chart a posteriori and is by necessity asynchronous, like different temporal planes that coincide. Therefore the act of reading or interpretation, mediated by the human subject or psyche, is always synchronistic, but the reason why asynchronous temporal planes (the different tools) are able to model reality is not synchronicity... UNLESS one assumes that "the astrological act" exists only at the moment of the reading, and is dependent of the structuring and semantic powers of the psyche of the astrologer, not on the physical accuracy of the model. This would mean that any chart will do...

Actually, I often think that the answer is here (that's why I said Astrology is "placebo").

The rest of your comments I think center on the synchronistic nature of an astrological "reading" or act of interpretation, with which I agree.



Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 02:56:19 -0700
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V5 #65

Bill Sheeran said:

 > The third point is a pre-requisite before the other two can be [snip[
 > perspective). It's no easy ride.=20

It seems clear to me that none of us know enough to assert the superiority of any given point of view. But then, I suppose I'm skeptical of any notion that we are all that much more able to address these issues definitively than were the ancients. In my mind, any of these conceptual technologies have valid uses, but none of them have demonstrated a clear supremacy over all others. It's the use of some number of them that brings us closer to the understanding we seek.

 > Are you alluding to JS Bell and Alain Aspect's work, etc. here? That [snip]

The modular of human usage is defined by our own survival needs, which (needs) serve as the foundation for almost all human activity, just as it does for all life. As we know, a great deal of the universe lies insensible by us, and we know thereof only by indirection. At the moment, we perceive some apparent functional boundaries (Plank limit, etc.) that define the limits of our traditional world view, as most obviously expressed by classical mechanics. That doesn't mean that what we've discovered beyond those limits isn't just as powerful throughout the human modular as it is beyond it. The violation of Bell's Inequality certainly does hint at this, of course.

 > Causality can take more that one form. We are generally most cognizant =

Meaningless because we don't have the math to describe it, so far. It doesn't mean that we'll not at some point be able to penetrate these matters.

 > supplanted with challenge and response, which subsumes the

Shifting to the behavioral level merely begs the questions; but your statement here is insightful, I think. The point is to determine what is useful at the moment. Perhaps the whole notion of cause and effect could be reinterpreted in this manner, but I think we would have to be clear about what we are trying to do. At what point do we actually seek understanding of the reality itself, as opposed to the consideration of how we deal with it?

Ed Falis said:

 > First, I think we have a bit of a terminology problem, which I'll take [snip, hoping the reader is moved to look up the full citation here...]

Not addressed to me, but Ed points out something extremely important here, I think, and that is that we're going to have to get back to more rigorous use of language here lest we continue to wallow in unrecognized cultural misapprehensions. That means that each of us is going to have to take the time to look up words that seem problematic, such that the context appears unfamiliar, because the writer has something to say that is not easily said and we have to do our part in the process as reader.

Inevitably, the business of language must be continuously addressed, but some part of the usage process can be done without undue amount of exchange here. These are issues that are very basic to scholarship, but that's not something we all do as a matter of training, much less as a matter of inclination. If we pay attention, we will find the reasons why these are basic scholarship skills, and pay the price of wasted energy and time in doing so. I suggest we forego the lesson.

As Bill Sheeran said, this is not easy, and I think we can bet that it's going to get harder to do as we go. On the other hand, what we do here has the possibility of being of unimagined value to mankind's future: if we can sort out the problems of astrology to the extent that it can become a generally useful tool, *and* astrology turns out to actually produce as advertised, our work will be both seminal and historic.

Ed Falis has addressed some basic issues about the sorts of ideas that are warranted in this discussion, and his take on them finds strong agreement here.

Dennis Frank provides some interesting food for thought:

 > archetypes fall into 3 categories: those that emerge from the collective

These three categories might be useful, but it seems to me that they are still conceptual objects, which defines them as originating in the human consciousness. I wonder if a valuable exercise might not be to see how a given archetype might manifest itself in each of these three categories. I suspect that all do so, and that the classification reflects more the specific point of view of the moment than the nature of the archetype itself.

 > The astrologer is concerned with the archetypal basis of nature because many
 > of the archetypes appear to have a formative influence on consciousness.

Try reversing this. The archetype is the human concept that reflects the existence of certain formal commonalities amongst those things that are meaningfully incident on the human being.

It seems to me that our discussions have reached a point of complexity that requires an expanded format. It's been observed that we don't have the opportunity to actually converse here, and that is a valid observation as far as I can see. Conversations require a flow of ideas, where both parties can identify and perceive the substance of exchange. The need here is to be able to witness that the exchange actually accomplished something, and that requires a substantial part of it be held readily observable as a module. In spoken conversation, almost all remains in the short term memory, so that the context is an ongoing presence.

In this venue, the only substitute for that contextual presence is extensive citation, and the list owner has declared that unacceptable. As far as I can see, we are constrained to correspondence, which requires that we each hold responsibility for retaining the contextual material. In the normal course of serious correspondence, it is customary to have the written material at hand for ready consultation; here, this would require that we have enough screen real estate to put up two or more posts for comparison. I have that capacity and do so use it on occasion, but I suspect most others do not and I also suspect that it is not reasonable to expect the reader to switch back and forth between several posts in order to follow the thread, and so the context will continue to be ignored.

The result of this is generally the custom of talking past each other, which is almost all of what goes on here, albeit without intent, of course. What we find is an ongoing litany of restated positions that are minimally influenced by other contributions, and the best that seems to be possible is the noting of agreement without undue comment. Movement is usually accomplished by the entrance of new contributors whose ideas are taken in and integrated, or ignored, and the center of mass of opinion here shifts minimally. At least this seems to be the assessment of some others, and I agree.

I suspect that there are some subscribers here who would wish for more than desultory, however learned and substantial, exchanges that satisfy the contributor's need to express opinion. It seems that the email list venue is not likely to provide much more than what we have here, especially since the only format is that of digest, but that is what is available.

I appreciate the hospitality of Fran, et al, and thank him for his efforts, but it seems to me that if this party is to ever get off the ground it needs to expand its scope, and I see no alternative to acquiring additional venues for doing so. There are several possibilities, and I'd be interested to read the thinking of others on this list in these regards. If, on the other hand, no one is interested in expanding our efforts, we will continue as is, but I can tell you that my interest is slowly waning and I suspect that this is true of other people as well.




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