Exegesis Volume 6 Issue #4

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V6 #2/3

Exegesis Digest Sat, 10 Feb 2001

Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2001 15:57:07 -0800
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V6 #2/3

Dennis said:

 > Exegesis was launched 12.26pm EST 28 March 96, 40N26 79W53.
 > Appraisal of function is primarily made by examination of the configuration
 > of the Moon to the rest of the chart, but inasmuch as various other
 > planetary archetypes manifest as energy-generating and conditioning drives,
 > their position and inter-relation will modify functioning. [snip]

If there was every any question as to Dennis' prowess as an astrologer, I suggest his post serves as a definitive answer.

Good job, Dennis!

So this list has great potential, if the participants are willing to do the work. So far, this seems to have been the case, but as there are no inherent mechanisms to facilitate the process of communication, there is also no means of storing momentum. Which means that the list is only as active as the participants are willing to make it. With the empty third house, the mechanisms of communication have to be invented and utilized in real time, and this elucidates the issue of citations, etc. I would make the point that this is a necessity: discourse is not possible without some means of communication, and discourse is the relevant means for the development of such as this list can produce. We can't ignore the communication problem for it will continue to be in our faces, whether we have the will to resolve it or not.

In short, we have to pay attention to how we 'hear' the other voices on this list, and we have to pay attention to how accessible to others we are in return.

Dennis pointed out that the nature of the list invites freshness, such that can serve to initiate new ways of going, and renovate for current use that which has become tradition. He observes that traditional astrologers find this threatening, probably because of the all encompassing assumption that the tradition needs no renovation, and possibly other reasons as well, I think. This is part and parcel of the requirement that genuine effort be expended if the list is to achieve its potential; in this instance, it requires the ability to 'think outside the box', which is not commonly doable without an application of the will and energy to do so. So this list is not likely to be amenable to the timid or the lazy individual.

Dennis sees the possibility that this list will actually make a discernable contribution to society at large. This implies some responsibility on the part of the participants, I think. If we didn't know that this might be so, we might be justified in treating the list as an inconsequential pastime, but a member of our profession has forced us to recognize this potential and so we are ethically bound to keep it in mind. The forced recognition itself was a professionally ethical act, I think. So now we have a new question: what legacy will this list have? That's probably a good question for discussion, I think.

In general, Dennis' reading was yet another demonstration that astrology does indeed work pretty much as advertised.

But therein lies the Problem of Astrology: we don't know how or why it works, and we don't know how to find out. I submit that this is the primary subject that must be addressed successfully if astrology is ever to have the opportunity to regain its former status; absent such success, I see no way that it can do so. Such success will not likely fall upon us out of the sky, so we'll have to work for it, but that's very much in keeping with the inherent nature of this list, I think. In fact, I will be blunt: if we aren't addressing the subject here, we are deliberately turning our back on the golden opportunities that this list and its moderator/owner has provided for us. Whatever else we do here, we define our own level of diligence and integrity to the extent we address, or at least support those who can and will, this central issue.

Let me put it this way: a large part of the tradition of astrology is that the why and how are a mystery, and so should not be investigated, lest investigation have some catastrophic consequences of indeterminate nature. "There are some things that mankind was never meant to know" is the popular version of this attitude. The result is a level of comfort with things as they are that can never righteously be questioned, ie threatened, and this adequately describes a large part of the nature of the astrology community. In the context of this list, that is not acceptable, I submit. That is a part of the past that requires to be discarded, if any of the past can ever be acceptably renewed.

 > Perhaps I should elaborate on that last point rather than assume
 > comprehension. I try to do any case study interpretation purely as an
 > exercise of applied theory. Any correspondence between real life and what
 > theory suggests is better assessed after completion. This is an internal
 > discipline resulting from having been trained as a scientist. I'm well
 > aware that most astrologers force their interpretation to conform to their
 > prior knowledge, or expectation, of the subject of the case study. That
 > said, my rigour does sometimes lapse sufficiently to allow me to note,
 > during the interpretation, a correlation between the theoretical feature
 > predicted and what has actually happened.

Dennis expresses the time honored stance of the scholar/scientist. It's an appropriate methodology, of course, but probably not mandatory, as he himself has occasion to observe. I've held forth elsewhere o the practice of forcing the interpretation to fit the 'facts' as the astrologer sees them, so I won't do so here, but suffice it to say that the practice deserves strong condemnation, because it lies at the root of the problem of astrology itself. What it says is: I don't really believe that astrology works so I'm going to fudge this reading to our mutual satisfaction. Not acceptable.

However, the purpose of the whole exercise is to gain an understanding of the territory, not the map. So the traditional rigor Dennis describes is probably not fully appropriate in practice, I suggest. But that is another subject of fit discussion on this list, I think.

 > I mention this because it was an issue that always bothered me about the
 > Exegesis debate parameters. We really ought to be able to discuss how to
 > tell if astrological theory is reliable or accurate. Applied astrology must
 > include a reality check, if it is ever to become credible.

Dennis appears to assume that there exists adequate astrological theory. I do not, as I've made quite clear. I submit we have nothing to test. As far as I'm concerned, the parameter that troubles Dennis is the very one we've been striving to see how to address. It can be stated more formally as: at present, astrology does not contain any testable material; it has no theory, no clinical data base, no commonly acknowledged set of practices, nothing. All that comes first, Dennis. Can you suggest how we can address that problem?

Zoe writes:

 > < We really ought to be able to discuss how to > tell if astrological theory is reliable or accurate. Applied astrology must
 > include a reality check, if it is ever to become credible.
 > Hello Exegesis, this is one of the first lists I joined; however, I've never
 > posted until now. Why haven't I posted. Several of the first posts appeared
 > intimidating, a bit didactic and as I was walking into a conversation, I
 > couldn't find the thread to see if I could weave any suitable cloth. Now,

Perhaps Dennis' assessment of the nature of this list provided some insights here. I can tell you that his reading was pretty much right on, and I think others here will agree. While we make a good effort to be mannerly and treat each other as gentle people, the level of discourse here is unavoidably daunting. That's because we are addressing subjects that are devilishly hard to even adequately describe, much less address with any ease. If you feel intimidated, I can readily sympathize... there are some real heavyweight intellects on this list, and they could quite easily intimidate me as well. If I let them, that is... < grin > I just figure < whilst whistling in the dark... > that if I work at it, I can keep them from finding out just how dumb I really am...lol!!!!

The amount of verbage that you find here is generated by valiant attempts to tackle issues that are notoriously difficult to even envision, yet remain as stumbling blocks in any path that astrology can take to legitimacy. In short, we've got it to do! And some of us are trying, as best we can see how to, to do it!

You can perhaps best understand what has been going on here as an attempt to treat these issues with as much care and respect as we can manage. A lot of the wordiness is an attempt to avoid dropping some important attribute or aspect of the subject of discussion, and the reason for this is that dropping it doesn't make it go away... it'll just be that much harder to deal with if we let it lie to have to pick up down the line at some point. Talking about some of these things is like having to wait on a table of twenty people single handed... everyone's order comes first and so you wind up trying to carry as many plates as possible. Now imagine trying to do that when you don't even know what a plate is, or an order is, or who is sitting at the table. The net result is what the Brits call 'muddling through': the niceties are ignored for the moment if they have to be just in order to get the job done at all.

So we get didactic in an attempt to ease the confusion and the burden of having to try to juggle more concepts than we have the hands to do, all the while trying to avoid the inability to handle yet another object thrown into the loop, another concept dropped into the discussion. We use whatever tools we have, never mind how uncomfortable or user-unfriendly they might be, if they will help us do the work. The frustration level can rise so quickly, as one discovers a failure to get one's point understood...yet again and for the umpteenth time!!!! It's no wonder that some people get into shouting matches (flame wars) but we are very careful not to do that here, and even so there are the odd flickers of fire emerging in the odd post... < grin >

So, welcome aboard, Zoe. But you should know that this is a tin can, and not a cruise ship, and the comfort level can be rather minimal sometimes. But.... ohhh the possibilities!!!! The potential vistas of understanding that lie just beyond our fingertips!!!!! For us here, it's worth it. Your mileage may vary.

 > that you are asking about its survival, the nurture instinct rises, and I
 > say, yes. However, some guides might help more people to post. Some topic
 > of current interest might challenge us to challenge each other: indian's
 > earthquake, the us presidential election, or the canadian's; the nature of
 > horory and its relevance in the material world; how to find and do a mundane
 > chart for a country; what astrology can contribute to the psychologic,
 > sociologic, or spiritual models that already exist. Well, so many topics to

Now, ask yourself how these topics can be usefully discussed when the reality is that none of us know what we're talking about. All we bring are opinions, most of which were formulated to fill the void of some unsatisfied question in a timely manner. None of these, so far as I've seen, have any supporting data, documentation, compelling argument. Nothing.

There are a number of astrology lists that simply ignore this state of affairs, and wind up being a species of clique where the members who find general agreement wind up in mutual support, such that they can engage in coffee-klatch conversations and rise in defense of the clique against any intruding 'aberrant' opinion.. or question. There are other lists that wind up being war zones. So far, we've avoided either of these states here, and largely by focusing on subjects that daunt all of us!! At least, that's what it looks like to me.

 > discuss, and I didn't even touch on one astologically word (LOL).
 > Is there a log of previous posts? Can we view them? Is there a list of
 > members? Can we re-introduce ourselves?


 > Just some humble suggestions I hope (from a newcomer to the list).
 > Zoe

But I must tell you, Zoe, that with all the bark, none of us actually bite, and most of us are probably quite responsive to kindness and respect. So I'll start out here by taking some pains to treat with you likewise, and acquaint you with what's going on, and welcome you to participate as you find you can.



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