Exegesis Volume 6 Issue #6

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V6 #5

Exegesis Digest Thu, 15 Feb 2001

Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 15:56:31 -0800
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V6 #5

John Kellden said:

 > Perhaps this is a good time to embark upon dialogue.
 > A suggestion, all the difficulties in defining astrology could be seen
 > as constraints, and also as ground for dialogue, possibly enabling
 > us through dialogue too see an emerging "web of meaning"
 > through our skillful, considerate and mindful conversation,
 > rather than as a result of it.

Welcome, John Kellden!

An interesting approach, here. It seems to me that you are assuming that we already know the 'definition of astrology', such that we now need to somehow allow that definition to emerge. I would appreciate an elucidation here; the basis of your assumption would be critical to the determination of how to proceed, I would think. Or have I missed your meaning?

 > We could perhaps begin by treating our descriptions as context,
 > and step by step begin, to see an unfoldment of meaning when we begin
 > to view both our own and others contributions with an adequate balance
 > of openness and distance, to see where there is content, where there is
 > context, and where the threads of reasoning are contextual and how.

Thus presumably producing an accessible compilation of such general agreement that exists?

 > I honestly dont know where one should begin, if for instance it is
 > viable to start with archetypes, symbols, art, language, mythology and th=
 > e
 > human
 > inherent desire for transcendence, or if we rather should start from each=
 > one=B4s
 > point of view.

The history of this sort of discussion, on this list in particular as well as all such discussions in general, is a testiment to the efficacy, or lack thereof, of all these approaches. Each requires its own contexts of assumed knowledge, disposition of intellectual and philosophical inclination, etc., etc.. Personal points of view, in this regard, become problematic as it becomes clear that those contexts are not readily accessible, even by the view-holder. Any successful starting point requires the majority of participants to be at least on the same course... the same book if not the same page, as it were. It's been my experience that this swamp breeds alligators that defend the swamp against all attempts to drain it... ("If you're up to your arse in alligators, it's sometimes difficult to remember that the original objective was to drain the swamp!": SE US ruralism).

 > Personally I would tend to favor doing both, both warp and woof.
 > So seen from a metaporical light, this text is peculiarly self-referentia=
 > l,
 > but hopefully more enabling than enigmatic, the meaning in this text,
 > is therefore, in my view, meant to be used, rather than seen as a definit=
 > ive
 > point.
 > Science could be seen as a body of knowledge.

Science is first and foremost a methodology for accruing knowledge, which is why the eponymous body of knowledge exists. It is a very closely defined and rigorously vetted body of knowledge, and it exists for an equally closely defined purpose, the essence of which to support the further and successful use of science as a methodology.

 > The trick , I think, lies in both recognizing the scope of the task ahead=
 > , as
 > if astrology is
 > both a body of, and the soul of knowledge.

Metaphorically, your meaning seems clear, but perhaps not adequate to support the invocation of science as part and parcel thereof. I've held forth on the subject elsewhere, as list members are no doubt all too well aware < grin > , so I'll not wax eloquent (?) here. Science does not intend to address the meaning of things, it is interested simply in the facts themselves, the determination of which is more than enough to comprise a huge endeavor all by itself. It can, then, be usefully seen as the source of a body of knowledge, and this is indeed traditional.

What science cannot and has never intended to do, as I said, is to determine the meaning or significance of (a) thing(s). Here, we are dealing with philosophy (the love of wisdom), which requires that not only the body of knowledge be amassed, but its usefulness be addressed as well. The use of science, in the minds of many and for good reason, is technology, but that is shortsighted, I suggest. Science is reliable knowledge, with that reliability as closely defined as possible, and as such can be the basis of an indeterminately wide range of insights and understanding. And it is these insights and understandings which are largely our concern here. The whole idea is to a) find out what we know and how we know it so that we can learn what we don't know, and b) discover how to use that knowledge for our benefit. This is science and philosophy. This is the body and soul of any knowledge, and it is so for astrology as well. Or should be.

 > In short : I suggest dialogue with astrology as metanarrative.
 > Astrology could develop into a wise companion, regardless of how we perso=
 > nally
 > use it.

I think you are presenting astrology as the intellectual and philosophical construct itself, as separate from the terrestrial/celestial correspondences (?) that it was developed to represent. I agree, as must many others, that astrology as a philosophical construct is, in itself, indeed a very powerful source of insight into the nature of things. It should be so, I suggest, because that is what it was devised to be. But the larger problem of astrology is in the practice thereof, and can be stated rather succinctly as the virtually complete absence of any demonstration of its validity, at least as it traditionally represents itself. That validity does not concern itself with the construct itself, but with the assertion that it represents some significant aspect of objective reality.

So I suggest that your ideas are very useful, but that they do not address the complete spectrum of astrology's deficiencies, such as are the purview of our discussions here. I don't believe that we know what that objective reality is, that astrology was devised to represent, and that is probably the most important problem. I would agree, however, that if we were to better understand the construct itself, we might have a better idea how to discover that reality.

 > Been lurking for some time, very grateful for the mindfulness of all who =
 > have
 > been
 > posting, consider this my introduction.
 > John Kellden,
 > moderately skilled in three languages, astrology, english and dialogue as=
 > a
 > tool for group-meaning.
 > My native tongue is Swedish.
 > Since this is an astrological list, I could perhaps close with my birthda=
 > ta :
 > 1962 Aug 9, 2:09 PM CET, 59N25, 18E01.
 > Thank you for listening.

As I said, welcome!

Incidentally, Fran is right about citations, at least to the extent that was published here. I'm sure it was not John's intention, but my entire last post, headers and all, came trailing along after his. Email software does this all by itself, all too often, unless it is told not to do so. Nuff said?

And then, our moderator, declares < grin >

 > OK, OK, OK, I give up. Storage is no longer a problem, and
 > nobody has complained about the quotes for a while (but I have
 > been forcing the issue, so no surprise there) so I'll rescind my
 > moderator-ly imposition of the "watch the quotes" rule. I'll just
 > chomp down on this pencil and gnaw it a bit.
 > == ALL NOTE: The quotes rule no longer applies
 > < == >
 > Those who like the rule can complain in public, I remove myself
 > from that decision, let the people decide! :-)

The issue of citations is also about paying heavy rates for download time, or so I understand. This doesn't apply to me, but I'm told that there are those elsewhere who connect to their ISP's only to up and download email because of the exorbitant rates, and in some cases pay for ISP storage as well. I can well understand how this might still be, even though technology should have resolved these problems.

Also, plowing through endless citation to find the meat of the message is not only tiresome but distracting. Heavy citation that is contribution specific, ie, that provides immediate context, is useful, of course... but the lengthy inclusion of the entire thread with, for instance, a simple "I agree." at the top or bottom is a classic no-no, the avoidance of which is basic good sense as well as good manners. If you wish to pepper someone's post with interspersed commentary, then you are offering a dialog where the whole is of interest, and although that also has been frowned upon for technical reasons, that should no longer be a concern.

Or so it seems from here. < grin >

 > 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.
 > I agree, but believe that credibility needs to flow from a
 > variety of directions, not just reliability.

I would also suggest that the issue of credibility usually does have some root, although reliability is not always the root. Issues do often have linch-pins, however, and are best resolved by direct treatment thereof.. at least as a major part of the resolution.

 > As far as reliability and accuracy goes, I'll state again that I
 > believe we should talk about how to construct tests of
 > techniques such that astrologers can use those results, rather
 > than constructing tests to answer our critics. For example,
 > there are some horary "yes/no" techniques that could be tested
 > by having a number of astrologers keep track of such horaries
 > and the outcomes (if any) and testing the various techniques.
 > Perhaps there are other approaches and other areas for which we
 > can create tests.

I've mentioned the subject of clinical data elsewhere, so won't do the whole song and dance here. There are members of this list that are much better qualified to address this than am I, but the point is that this sort of testing requires some pretty strong protocols to have any chance at being meaningful. My assertion is that if such protocols can be put in place and effected, such tests as Fran suggests can become only the tip of the iceberg... no 'perhaps' about it!!....lol!!!

Clinical data is the substance that makes research possible, that allows the investigator to base ideas and possible insights on something other than hearsay or speculation. And it is clinical data that is the source of the advances in most fields of knowledge.... it isn't universally called clinical data, but that's what it amounts to, I suggest. So, what is clinical data?

It is data that is gathered according to well agreed and well understood rules of procedure, commonly using a language devised for that purpose so that ambiguity and miscomprehension are reduced as far as possible. It is data that is gathered from the field of interest itself, without prejudice or interpretation. When one looks at a clinical report, one discovers the facts stated as clearly and concisely as possible, and that's what is necessary if they are to be at all useful in any attempt at discerning their meaning.

Astrology has no clinical data. Astrology has no clinical protocols. These lacks stand in front of the substance of astrological experience and deny all attempts to make any use thereof: such attempts universally sink into the quicksand of intermidable disagreement of any and all particulars, there to dissolve into nothingness.

My question here is: given this, how do we proceed?

 > From the "Exegesis function" message:
 > Our worthy moderator may be inclined
 > to argue that he just saw it as a
 > discussion forum. My response would
 > be that, even so, the vehicle obtains
 > its own trajectory, dynamism, and style,
 > from the characteristics endowed by
 > the launch moment.
 > No, I'd not argue otherwise. My intent was that the list be a
 > vehicle for change in the world and that it provide a place for
 > those discussions that other discussion areas would not address
 > directly or at length. My experience had been that nearly all
 > astrology theory discussions were rooted in appeals to authority
 > and that much more was needed to satisfy the hunger many had for
 > a solid intellectual foundation to astrology theory. I wanted
 > many, many seed ideas to flow out of the list and hoped that
 > superior ideas would take root in the broader discourse. I'd
 > assumed that Exegesis would be the first of many such efforts
 > and that it might be short lived when all the "big brains"
 > arrived to lead the charge.

A clarion call!!!! Now. Where are those "big brains"? I've been standing on this stage blowing the bugle for years now, and a "big brain" shows up now and again, mostly creating 'teasers'.

Can it be that all the "big brains" have already done what they're going to do, and decline to extend themselves to this exercise? I sure hope not! Why do I hope not? Because the job hasn't been done!!!!!!

Maybe one of those BBs can tell us what is lacking here!? I gotta believe that someone subscribed to this list is either a BB, or knows one. Come on, people!!!

 > I was hoping for a "great leap forward" I suppose.
 > In any case, despite your concern about the list not being a
 > good fit for you, your input here has always been of high
 > quality and I'm sure that I speak for many when I say that it is
 > greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Well, all hyperbole aside... < grin > , Dennis certainly qualifies, I think. And then there is Andre Donnell, Dale Huckeby, Ed Falis, Bill Sheeran... off the top of my head.. and I'm sure I've just snubbed someone here....lol!!! I, too, want to express my appreciation for all of these contributions.

But don't stop now!!! I, at least, have so many more questions!!!!



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