Exegesis Volume 6 Issue #11

From: Dale Huckeby
Subject: Odds and ends

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V6 #9

From: "William D. Tallman"
Subject: GBU redux

Exegesis Digest Tue, 03 Apr 2001

Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2001 17:13:04 -0800 (PST)
From: Dale Huckeby
To: Exegesis
Subject: Odds and ends

Nice to see the new faces, especially Ed and Zoe, with whom I've had previous exchanges. Zoe suggests we do some philosophy and John Kellden suggests a metanarrative, which amounts to the same thing. Good idea, but it's what we've been doing all along, as you can see if you read the archives. Thanks to Patrice, by the way, for providing C.U.R.A. as a place for them to reside. I have to the best of my knowledge all of the digests from day one, and would be happy to share with anyone looking for back issues. Volume 5 hadn't been archived the last time I checked, so that would be one way for new subscribers to see those, either all of them or whichever ones they want. That goes for the other volumes, too, for anyone who'd rather get them as emails than view them on a website.

I know there's been some dissatisfaction expressed with the digest-only format of Exegesis, because you can't read through and reply by threads. This makes it difficult for the reader to jump back and forth between the different posts in a thread, and seems to discourage sponteneity. And I complained about this to Fran, way back at the beginning, in no uncertain terms. But Fran wanted to facilitate not only a more indepth look at astrology, but also a more thoughtful discussion style. Individual posts grouped in threads seem to encourage more ephemeral exchanges. Threads also seem to encourage shallowness. There's no time to check sources in depth and detail, either to supply or check references, so people just wing it off the tops of their heads, just as in a real-time conversation, and the conversations tend to be just as casual as the sidewalk variety. The longest thread I've ever seen in an astrology discussion group was about what sign you'd want to be if you were a car. As long as it was, however, it lasted only a few days.

That's fine if you just want to talk, and lots of people do, but it's not at all conducive to a more thoughtful, indepth discussion. When I see an interesting discussion I like to read, reread, and reread again what each person has said, and to reflect at length on what I want to say, and perhaps go through some of the books in my library to doublecheck some things I want to mention, but on most newsgroups and lists, by the time I'm ready, it's too late. The participants have already discovered another bright, shiny toy and moved on. (In general, attention span on the internet is remarkably short.)

The relative profundity of Exegesis discussions might be due only to the subject matter Fran has tried to insist upon, and to the kind of person who's tended to be attracted as a result, but I'm not convinced, despite my initial _strong_ dissatisfaction with the digest format, that it hasn't played a formative role by encouraging participants to take their time and _think_ about what they want to say and what others have already said. Just something to think about.



Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 21:48:38 -0800
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V6 #9

Fran said:

Let me first say this: Fran has this ability to 'hit the mark', the core or essence of a thing, quite elegantly. Which means, when Fran speaks, I listen and have come to expect to hear just that. I appreciate such elegance, and value it accordingly.

However, such elegance comes at a sometimes pretty stiff price: Elegance is only possible when the essence of a thing either can stand by itself (in the given situation), or can stand on the platform of recognized and accepted assumptions, most of which constitute that which was pared away to create the elegance in the first place. Basic black and pearls has value in a world rife with color; by itself and without that context, that form of dress is functionally indistinguishable from that produced by extreme poverty of some sort. (... and my fashion sense is absolutely unassailable!!! LOLOL!!!!)

Of those two possibilities, elegance in the discussion of astrology can only comprise the latter, else the discussion would have to compete in the realm of philosophical universality, and that it cannot do. The problem with elegance in the discussion of astrology is that the pared away assumptions are themselves *the* problems, I submit, that we need to address.

Which is why I have to forgo elegance and wax didactic, simply so that those assumptions can be presented and discussed. Now, having said that...

 > Bill wrote (in V6, I6) in response to my remarks about
 > "testing":
 > [...]
 > 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!!!
 > "Meaningful" to whom?
 > I believe that the folks who find "some pretty strong protocols"
 > useful in deriving meaning are not astrologers, or at least not
 > the typical astrologer. I contend that it is not meaningful to
 > astrologers to talk about protocols nor statistics nor use
 > arguments where any sort of indirect reasoning is taking place.
 > I believe we are at the stage of pounding rocks together as a
 > means of starting a fire and that we have a long way to go to
 > reach a point where "some pretty strong protocols" can be
 > contemplated.

Given that the majority of astrologers are not going to be interested in this sort of thing anyway, those that are likely to will most probably be concerned about the reliability/validity of data. In short, it's almost certain that none of this in any form whatever will be even addressable by, much less meaningful to, most astrologers. That we are at the pounding rock stage is in part due to the refusal of astrologers to regard anything other than their own 'intuitively created' astrology as valid, and in further part by their... well, knee-jerk, if you will... assumption that anything that doesn't either conform to, or blithely accept without question, their construct must constitute a direct threat thereto. We are at pounding rock stage because that's all we have. But we've lots of rocks, because that's what they throw at us!!!

 > Dennis wrote (in V6, I7), in parallel:
 > [me:] 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.
 > Yes, proactive rather than reactive.
 > The tests of astrology have always
 > been based on the paradigm of old
 > science. Statistics, invariably. If
 > anything in astrology can be counted
 > in such a way as to show us how
 > astrology works, how come nobody has
 > been able to do it? Seems to me the
 > premise must be wrong. If your doctor
 > heals you, do you need to prove it by
 > trying to find something to count?
 > Yes, "proactive" is a good word to describe it, I believe we
 > should be working toward reasoning to the astrologer not anyone
 > else (yet, if at all). I'm not very concerned with convincing
 > the critics of astrology about anything when I don't have a
 > means of convincing astrologers!

My assertion here is that your intentions are thwarted before you start. Astrologers, or the great majority of them, don't want those efforts, and will combat them everywhere and anywhere they find them. If this were not the case, don't you think that we would not find the situation now as it is? Something would have been done along these lines long ago!

The pockets of activity that exist, and have existed, are encapsulated, such that the mainstream of astrology is vouchedsafe therefrom. Same thing for us, I'm afraid. Want demonstration? Try any one of the astrology lists now extant (other than Exegesis) and you'll have more than you can ever need.

 > If people make assertions then we should some way of dealing the
 > assertion other than simply accepting everything. Do we need to
 > "count" things? I do not assume that we must, but there has to

This problem with 'counting things' portrays a mind-set that will defeat any efforts we might make. We need to get past our own reactive assumptions if we're ever to get at anything valuable.

 > be way to sometimes convince a "reasonable person" that an
 > assertion is a good assertion or not. When I first started

Well, sorry about this, but it's time to get didactic in order that we realize what we're talking about here. The SOED states that 'reasonable' is legitimately interchangeable with 'rational', and this gives us a clue. Rational speaks of a ratio, or the evaluative relationship between two things. Anything that is reasonable or rational is something that can be shown to form an acceptable 'ratio' (sic) to something already understood and accepted by all concerned.

What 'reasonable' does *not* mean is a willingness to accept something on faith because it seems to sound good. That constitutes judging a thing on the merits of the manner of its presentation, not the thing itself. The thing and the way it is presented have an only incidental relationship, determined more by the abilities of the presenter and the limitations of the presentee (the listening audience....).

What I'm saying here is that the 'reasonable man', as characterised in modern myth, is not reasonable at all. Such a character is easily gullible because of the assumed relationship between a thing and the way it is presented.... witness the ever-incredible growth industry of professional con artists!!!! No, a reasonable man is one who is willing to question anything to get at the real ratio between a thing and it's source, or natural habitat, or......

We on this list are, I presume, reasonable people; and it would appear, sadly, that most astrologers are not .
 > learning astrology I assumed that my elders knew what they were
 > talking about but at some point I got lost in the muddle of
 > competing ideas. Later I began to question what I was taught and
 > to make my own tests, but I never bothered to think about how I
 > might make tests that other astrologers might find useful or
 > that could be used as arguments when debating techniques.

Yep.. < grin > . That's what happens to most any astrologer who is interested in astrology, as opposed to what it can do for his/her social standing, etc. Also indicates a willingness to think for oneself, which is... well, can we say that it's not as common as it should be? < avoiding hyperbole, here... >

Problem is that most of us are not trained as scientists, and so are not aware that there's more to the testing process than just trying to answer a given question: unless you are able to justify the question itself, the answer you get may not only be misleading but actually make the matter worse!!! And of course that's just the beginning... We make our tests, get our answers, and then put the matter to rest, assuming we've done the work, but the reality is that we are almost certainly no better off than we were, that all we've done is to simply create a 'rationale' for wherever we wind up. And the bad part of this is that we are now not only very likely no better off than we were (in understanding what we were looking for), but now we've cause to never ask the question again, thinking we already have the answer!

So the problem here isn't about making our tests generally applicable, the problem is determining that they are valid in the first place!

 > Bill wrote:
 > 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?
 > I imagine that some simple assertions can be tested on a small
 > scale and that this is the only area which we have available to
 > start an attempt like this. Beyond that, I'm very wary of even
 > suggesting that "clinical data" and "clinical protocols" may

I'm going to address this in my next post. But, briefly, clinical data is data that can be assumed dependable: Adequate information exists about the reliability of the data, what steps were taken to determine that reliability, etc, etc. (Birth times?). The technical language used to record the data is in accord with what has been determined by common agreement, and no other language is used, so that the data is not corrupted inadvertently. Data format is predetermined so that the reviewer (any later researcher) has further confirmation about the nature of the data by its placement in the records, etc., etc.. In short, anything that can be done to eliminate the need for assumptions in interpreting the data is done *before* the data is taken... doing so afterward is like changing the rules in the middle of the game.

And there's lots more, of course, but the simple purpose is to do what is possible to insure that the data is useful once the effort has been made to gather it.

 > ever exist the way you seem to envision it. I can imagine a
 > number of scenarios where the bulk of astrology technique lives
 > inside the subjective realms of knowing and are thus hard to
 > test objectively. This territory has been trod over again and
 > again, and I'm not willing to fight over the
 > subjective/objective issues today, but I do think that we could
 > come up with a bunch of things to test that are not too complex
 > to answer and thus attempt to sidestep that whole issue. That
 > is, I imagine that nativities are more complex and thus would be
 > more subjective than, say, some mundane charts or horaries.

Fran strikes again!!!

Yep, I think we can all agree that nativities are simply beyond reach at this point. But, as you point out, there's lots of other things to inspect and investigate, most all of which have *gotta* be more tractable than genethliacal is (maybe ever) likely to be.

It was in this spirit that I posed my first ever question to this list years ago: is life necessary to the 'astrological function'?

Science has traditional protocols here: a testable hypothesis is one that one can see how to test, and that has few enough variables so that a test can be meaningful. Mundane charts, I think, are now the common metier of testing projects.... Dale Huckeby??

 > For example, I think that some sort of human-initiated mundane
 > events might prove interesting areas of study. When a bill is
 > introduced to a parliamentary body there might be some method to
 > assert that the bill will pass or not, but I'm not deep enough
 > to claim if that specific technique exists or what it might be,
 > only that the tests have to have a very small scope. Yes/No,
 > True/False, Did/Did Not.

Good idea!!! In fact, that's a *very* good idea, because the entire process is a matter of public record and so easily verifiable. Further, the project can be supported by ongoing evaluation through the courts, etc. Exactly the sort of thing that can actually be done with reasonable effort (reasonable: return ~ = effort).

There appears to be some medieval astrological technology which could be adapted here, I think. A while back there was talk about a technique of determining the success or failure of a castle siege.. does the castle stand or fall? If we equate the law with the castle and assume that the law stands (unmodified in this regard) if the bill fails, maybe that technique could be tried.... should be simple enough to do, or so I recall. Wasn't that a Bernadette Brady program?

 > My intuition on the whole matter of good reasoning is that the
 > we need to be making arguments that a "reasonable" astrologer
 > could digest. One can always find an extremist who will resist
 > all attempts at convincing, but these are not the folks we
 > should be worried about.

I'm really afraid that the extremists are in the majority here, Fran. And they are not all fanatics: most are otherwise quite 'reasonable < grin > ' people who have their entire astrological world-view firmly based on quite authoritative arguments that astrology is and should be immune to question... which is why they are left with only the option of choosing between authoritative dicta and intuition.

 > Perhaps a method for proceeding down this road would be to come
 > up with a list of items we believe can be tested, and then
 > discussing theory and technique. I believe we should steer away
 > from nativities and any psychological waters in order to avoid
 > getting bogged down and should look around for "simpler" areas
 > to explore. At some point we might have a few simple assertions
 > to test and can then develop some ideas about how to actually
 > test them. Assuming we get that far we still have a lot of work
 > talking about results, theory, and how to make arguments.

I told y'all this guy's a 'bulls-eye shooter' LOL!!!!

Can we manage to agree to simply walk away from testing the genethliacal application? Can we just let nativities alone for this sort of project, at least until we can see how to test them (somewhere down the road, hopefully)? If we can, we will have saved ourselves an *enormous* amount of frustration and tribulation!!!!

Now let me hasten to say this: I am *not* suggesting that genethliacal be banned from the list. Far from it!!! We can address it from other perspectives and use other approaches.

Zoe suggested we have a go at the philosophy of astrology, and I am more than happy to tag along there!! We can ask this question: what sort of wisdom do we seek from astrology? That's something we can rather easily relate to the human perspective, because the search for wisdom is a profound human endeavor in itself.. that's what a 'seeker' seeks, presumably.

Patrice said:

 > As I've already suggested, interpreting charts is not necessarily doing
 > astrology. I mean that it's an application, between others, of
 > astrology. I know that here, it could be useful to do (& the same on
 > CURA), but it appears to me being nothing else that an "exercise of
 > style". Doing astrology is for me "using matricial thought", that is
 > reasoning, at each moment, away from the current dualistic way of
 > reasoning. I will give an exemple: I've received recently a mail from a
 > French astrologer. He told me that the problem of astrology vis-a-vis
 > Academia & University could be the fact of the ignorance and fright of
 > astrologers. These 2 explanations are not sufficient: If he would have
 > following a "matricial reasoning", he would have add, maybe 2 other
 > traits, all depending of the human nature: I've suggested Laziness and
 > Cowardice. Why? Because with these 4 Character Traits (Ignorance, Fear,
 > Laziness, Cowardice), the reasoning could fit into an Astrological
 > Paradigm, i.e., here, and for me (but never mind the details), the four
 > zodiacal quadrants.

'Doing charts' is the principle application of modern horoscopy, which is, I think we can all agree, a primary form of astrology. Horoscopy is a subset of astrology, but the relationship is *not* symmetrical: astrology is not equal or equivalent to, much less a subset of, horoscopy!

Well, I could sit here like the gimlet-eyed lobster and decry Patrice's astrological revisionism, but I won't < grin > because he's following a fairly well accepted precedent of blending astrology with other (psychological?) paradigms. Whatever else, however, I do applaud Patrice's willingness to be blunt about the matter of knee-jerk right-wing astrological archconservatism...lol!!!

I must admit that I've not followed Patrice's theoretical discussions, finding them just a little bereft of available context... not Patrice's fault here: I simply haven't done enough reading in his area of expertise to follow his thinking as well as I would like. But the statement here that 'matrical thinking' is an alternative to dualism gives me a clue.

The whole notion of dualism as a practical mode of logic in itself stems from a misunderstood naming convention that is descriptive of a format of logic, but not of it's usage. None of us have *ever* restricted ourselves to dualistic thought to reach any meaningful conclusion... and I'd claim it can't be done. We can use it in very specific applications to make simple decisions, but it's really important to realize that no such decisions can ever stand by themselves: they must always have an active context (ie that was involved in the thinking process, if only as the local working assumptions)

Current thinking seems to be that the reality of human thought is the 'down and dirty' timely assessment, that is reviewed when and if necessary. We have to deal with availability of both data and time, so the best we can do is make what useful approximations that we can, and then apply them within the time window itself.

So matrical thinking might be a formal statement of one way we already have in common usage?

 > I would like also to know why some elements or operators, as Chiron
 > (with an orbital excentricity of 0.38) or the Dragon's head (not a
 > physical body)... are used, and not others. I suggest that using just
 > the planets (which ones?), or using all you can eventually get from
 > astronomy, is certainly not driving to the same model, or the same
 > "explanation" of astrology itself.

Presumably because astrologers have discovered evidence that their orbital patterns describe something meaningful? Dunno why else.. astrologers were fairly chary of the transSaturnians when they were first discovered. Good question, however... and a good one for this list, I think!

 > Other thing is to know why a chart of such a beginning association, i.e.
 > Exegesis, would be significant. If Fran had cautiously chosen the moment
 > (maybe he could tell us), this moment were significant for the reason
 > that the signification he volontary would have put there, is the
 > signification we could accept. Other thing to interpret the chart of any
 > factory, which beginning isn't chosen by an astrologer. Does the meaning
 > come after? And for who? For the only astrologers? If so: it's of none
 > value -- I suggest.

Don't most of us agree that horoscopy addresses the nature of the moment as expressed by the beginning or initiation of any observable process... like a human life, or the life of a factory, or an idea, or whatever?

The value is intrinsic if it indeed exists, I would think. Our assumption that the value exists is part of why we are astrologers, but that is separate from the issue of the essence of the value: is it, or is it not, intrinsic? If it is, then we're in a position to be of service to others with our ability to elucidate that value. If it is not, then we should ask: what is it? If it does not exist in the first place, then I have joined the best and brightest of humanity down through the millennia in being sadly del uded. Assuming it does exist, then perhaps a significant question is: do we assign the fact of that significance by observing it, and if so, what does that mean to us as astrologers?

I think that we *define* the value as it relates to us as human beings, as civilized entities, as members of our culture and society, and as unique individuals, and that we do so to the extent that we can identify and describe that relationship. The fact that the thing itself exists and is incident upon our perceived environment is the source of the value, which thus exists independent of any given observation.

A rock in the road is almost certain to trip up someone if it's big enough: the question of who gets tripped and what happens then is how the meaning of that rock is defined, but the fact of the tripping itself is probably well (traditionally) regarded as intrinsic to the rock itself as it is placed in the road... which is why we tend to remove rocks from the road even before they trip somebody... another way of looking at is is potential versus actual... and I'll leave it there.

 > I'm convinced that the astrological reason ought to get the better of
 > modern an-astrological reason, and that astrologers ought to work for
 > that.

Yeah, I agree. Most astrologers appear to disagree, however, but I've already held forth on that subject. What, Patrice, do you suggest we do about this?

Hey, people, we're off and running again!!!! (The good ship "Exegesis" now blossoming canvas and under way in a fair wind...)



Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 21:51:27 -0800
From: "William D. Tallman"
To: Exegesis
Subject: GBU redux

In my last post about "spaghetti-western" astrology, I said I'd talk about what needs to be done, and I'll start with the basic science methodology. I've put forth the idea of 'clinical data' and so I'll expand on that. So that there's no question here, let me start with the notion of the clinic itself.

The word clinic has the same root as the words recline and incline. The original idea was a medical bed, where a person 'reclined' with a diagnosed medical condition (pathology). The older usages of the word spoke of things as they happened in such places and situations, and clinical often meant immanent death, as one can imagine. Clinical procedures, then, were intended to be of maximum efficiency, which usually meant doing away with bedside manners in favor of focusing on treatment, hence clinical attitude often meant strictly impersonal, as the condition rather than the patient was of primary interest. A clinical condition, for instance, is one that has been recognized as real and therefore subject to diagnosis and treatment (hopefully..). So clinic is a word that comes down to us from medical practice.

The archetypal components of a clinic were the place, the patient, and the physician. The place can probably be compared to a laboratory, where work of a very specific and closely controlled nature is carried out.. work of such importance as befits the value of a human life, if you will. The physician can be compared to anyone who is not only capable, but also disposed by intent, of doing useful work in such a place. Okay, we can see the scientist in his/her laboratory... so far, so good.

The patient, however, breaks that image. The patient is whoever is ill, and that the physician or the laboratory cannot control. Traditionally, they must take all comers. A science lab closely controls what work is done, and what materials are used... not so, the clinic. The clinic is called upon to be able to treat with what comes in the door, at least as best they can... traditionally, no one is turned away.

So this is the model. Skilled workers with equipment and supplies open to whatever is out there... it's pretty much the same sort of setup as scientific field research. Here's the scientist in his tent with a folding table and a lantern, using portable precision equipment to do the work of evaluating and recording the day's yield....( yep, he's wearing a bush hat, and that gal with the horn-rimmed glasses sitting opposite is most likely a red-headed bombshell in disguise, but so much for the movies... < grin > actually, there is a real life couple that fits that description, but that's another story...lol!!).

What's going on here? (.. < grin > ..) Well, they know what they're looking for because they know the question(s) that lead them to be looking there in the first place. What they don't know is what they'll find!!! So they have to be prepared to deal with whatever that turns out to be, or the whole exercise is one of futility.

The purpose is to find out the reality that can supply the answers to the questions that brought them there, and not only do they have to be prepared for whatever that is, but they have to be able to do what they do without unacceptably compromising what they're looking at, lest the information they get be corrupted as a result. Yes, we know this one: it's the 'observer effect'. But let's let that alone at this point. The important point is that they have to be able to handle whatever range of possibilities might exist, *with a single set of tools*. Not only is that all they can carry, but if they had more than one set of tools, the choice of which one to use might corrupt the data by biasing it in some unknown way!

No wonder that guy (and the redhead bombshell superbrain < grin > ) have both got doctorates in their field! That's what it took for them to be able to do this job! In order to get the money to go do this, they had to show that they could do it, and that's what getting their degrees was all about... whew, this is more complicated than we thought, hey?

Well, yeah, it probably is for them, but it doesn't have to be for us candidate astrology field-researchers. What we can and need to do here is to look at the sorts of things they had (have?) to do and see how to adapt them for our own work.

Alright, now we can continue with the notion of the clinic. We hear and read about all sorts of 'clinics' being held everywhere on all sorts of subjects, and we mostly know what's going on there... show and tell, and critique and evaluation. Why are they called clinics? It's because the show and tell people (who paid bucks for the privilege) are the equivalent of the patient off the street (never mind that they had to qualify for the opportunity) and the place and the expert are the physician/scientist and the ward/laboratory. So we can use the term 'clinic' to apply to something other than a medical situation... most clinics of that nature don't deal in data... that's almost entirely a function of the medical clinic, actually.

So now we can have an astrology clinic, but now more in the original sense. In fact we can model it after a teaching hospital if we like, and combine some learning (teaching) in the process... that gets it in line with these other clinics.... The question is: what's going on here?

Well, we're treating people (doing sessions), and in the process we're amassing data about what we're doing, and maybe we're holding classes as well, which allows us to see how best to organize our data for the use of others... good idea, maybe. Also, in the process of amassing and evaluating that data, we create information that allows us to better serve our clients! Sound's like medicine? You bet! How do you think the field of medicine got where it is today? < grin >

Hard work? Well, yeah, at first it's going to be, but the idea is to make it not only as effective as possible, but also as efficient as we can, so that it will be as easy as possible to do in our daily work. If we are smart about it, we can figure out how to collect this data from our 'clinical' sessions without materially adding to what work we already have, at least during sessions. What we can't avoid, however, is the extra effort necessary to deal with the data itself, but we can figure that's about what we might have to expend if we were taking classes in any case... and we do periodically take classes... don't we?

What we need to realize is that none of us are going to do this all by ourselves, and so we have to do what we do so that we can work with others doing the same thing.. so that we're all on the same page and reading from the same paragraph (all interpreting it differently, of course < grin > ). All we really need to do is make sure that we are *contributing*! That means that we all have to agree about all the particulars about what each of us is doing. Yep, that's the hard part < grin > .

Hopefully, I've painted another picture here that doesn't look like a Clint Eastwood movie. And maybe the change in style made it more accessible.. hope so! So now it's time to look at what will need to be done.

At this point, I've just finished responding to Fran's commentary on what Dennis and I had to say, and I've enthusiastically seconded Fran's suggestion that we don't treat with natal astrology. So the clinic where we read for clients will be something down the road, perhaps. But the same principles for collecting data still apply.

Accordingly, I've trashed the rest of this post (it wasn't finished..) and will recast the information.

Now, instead of clinical data, we can talk about laboratory data, because we can pick and chose very closely what we want to do. That makes all this more straightforward, which is undoubtedly all to the good. So let's look at what awaits us.

The very first thing we need to do is decide upon and as exhaustively as possible describe what we want to investigate. Exhaustive description???!?!? Nahhhh, not that big a deal, actually. What we do is craft a description with lots of data stubs that can be plugged into information as we can amass it... in other words, the exhaustive description needs to exist in an adequate framework only at the beginning... it will show us what the issues are, and that's the important thing. The description will have a lot of implied questions, and that's where the process starts. Once it starts rolling, it will quickly gather momentum that we'll have to work to control, and dragging one's heels is less work than pushing or pulling < grin >

Example: Fran's suggestion of the astrological analysis of a congressional bill. We can start here with a simple statement of intent: What is the astrological significance of H/Sxxxxx? That's asking what we can determine through the use of astrology about a specific bill. Notice here that we're not asking about bills in general, but about a specific bill, although here we note that the specific bill hasn't been chosen. The question is as simple (and so inclusive) as we can make it, and yet immediately the questions start rolling in: what is a bill? what does it do? what sorts of things does it affect? and on and on!!!! In the process, we start fleshing out the question into a framework by noting the questions that are engendered, and we start looking at what types of questions they are, analyzing them in terms of their similarities and difference, and so learning about how this bill is best regarded if we want the answer to our question.

In the process of doing this, we engage in scholarship. Sounds daunting? Well, maybe but not necessarily. What is scholarship? Scholarship is the act of being a scholar, one who goes and learns about stuff!! That's all, folks! The thing is that this is a professional activity and so one has to expect that it is acceptably effective... bottom line: be able to know *about* every source of information extant on the subject, and then find out where and how to get at them. Go the library.. those people do that all the time and chances are very good that the work is already done. Congressional bills? Slam dunk!!!

What then? Well, we put forth the effort to put together a synopsis of all this material, and then we start reading (semi-scanning, actually) the best regarded work of this sort so that we know what sources are primary, what are secondary (analysis), tertiary (commentary on analysis) and commentary on commentary and criticism of analysis and commentary and..... well, it tails off pretty quickly in most cases.... the binomial theorem runs on into infinity, but rarely is it taken beyond the second term because the modification of results after that is infinitesimal... that sort of thing. If done according to the rules of scholarship, it isn't nearly as hard as it sounds... and the other thing is this. None of us will have to do all of it!!!

As this process goes forth, we will be getting a better and better idea of what we're looking at when we look at a congressional bill, which gives us a better and better idea of what to do, how to proceed from there. Note that I said, as the process goes forth. We don't have to finish the scholarship before we start trying to build the descriptive framework, in fact, they have to go hand in hand.

Now, as soon as there gets to be a recognizable descriptive framework, we start looking at how to model it in our own field of expertise (we already all know all there is to know about that part of it, right.. LOL!!!!). Nahhh... but not to worry, the same process goes on there too. Question: "Gee, how do we represent *that* astrologically... people don't have that!" Well, the chances are excellent they do but in a different format, and we'll learn stuff about astrology as we discover how this is true.

And pretty soon, we get to the point of starting to identify what sort of information we are going to need in the process of this project, and as we do, we'll also discover that we need to determine how to gather this information, what sort of format it should take, etc etc.. but those answers will also emerge in the process. We won't know them going out the gate, but if we pay attention, we'll see them as they emerge.

And before we know it, we'll have hammered together a plausible project that we can put in motion. The thing is this: we will have built it ourselves and we'll all know where all the nuts and bolts are and why they're there in the first place and what they do and...... we will have forged this agreement in the process of building it!!!

Now, the bad news is this: we are not well advised to go from there right into operation. There needs to be a cooling off period, after which there is what in software is called a structured walk-through, where each item and each step is subject to all the criticism we can muster. This is testing the test procedure itself, and it can catch the most incredible blunders!!! But that's okay because we know why we did it in the first place, and now we'll know better how to correct the problems. All in all, we'll have the best chance of jumping out the starting gate with a winning horse (project), and whether or not it wins, it will have the best chance to be in the money!!

Enough for now. Those out there who've done this sort of thing will be very familiar with what I've described. I need good criticism. What did I miss? What did I misrepresent? Where did I decide to become mush-for-brains and badly blunder? I'm not going to pretend to do this by myself, but I will start the ball rolling (Mars in Aries).

Comments, please!!



End of Exegesis Digest Volume 6 Issue 11

[Exegesis Top][Table of Contents][Prior Issue][Next Issue]

Unless otherwise indicated, articles and submissions above are copyright © 1996-1999 their respective authors.