Exegesis Volume 6 Issue #15

From: "JG or DF"
Subject: planets, pattern formation, structural inter-relations

Exegesis Digest Sat, 02 Jun 2001

Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 20:18:06 +1200
From: "JG or DF"
To: "Exegesis"
Subject: planets, pattern formation, structural inter-relations

OK, so the planets appear to have differing archetypal natures unique to each. How might these arise from an origin deep within natural processes? Given that each has evolved in coordination as an integral structural component of the solar system, how might we ascertain the basis of this? If you go along with me in preferring an explanation based on the concept of archetypes of nature as pattern-forming whole-making agents, how might higher-level archetypal qualities evolve from the interaction of those lower-level ones that formed the system at genesis? This piece has a go at the 1st & 2nd of these questions - dunno if I'll ever cope with the 3rd!

Here's a reference I came across ("Patterns in Nature", P Stevens, 1974, p67) that is rather tantalising. The quote does no more than drop a hint of some fundamental feature of space, but the eminent authority (a Nobel prize-winning physicist) gives it some weight.

The author is commenting on a diagram of irrotational flow around a circular object, and the fact that the same gradient pattern represents 3 very different physical phenomena. Irrotational flows occurs when the rate of flow is sufficiently slow relative to the friction of the (relatively) static object that eddies are not formed.

"So why does the same drawing depict those different phenomena? Richard Feynman has supplied the answer. In discussing the "underlying unity" of nature, he cites the identity between the mathematical description of irrotational flow and the mathematical description of an electric dipole in a uniform field, and he also shows how those phenomena are mathematically equivalent to problems involving the flow of heat, stretched membranes, the diffusion of neutrons, and the uniform lighting of a plane. Then he says: The "underlying unity" might mean that everything is made out of the same stuff, and therefore obeys the same equations. That sounds like a good explanation, but let us think. The electrostatic potential, the diffusion of neutrons, heat flow - are we really dealing with the same stuff? Can we really imagine that the electrostatic potential is physically identical to the temperature, or to the density of particles? . . . The displacement of a membrane is certainly not like a temperature. Why, then, is there "an underlying unity"? . . . Is it possible that this is the clue? That the thing which is common to all the phenomena is the space, the framework into which the physics is put? As long as things are reasonably smooth in space, then the important things that will be involved will be the rates of change of quantities with position in space. That is why we always get an equation with a gradient.... What is common to all our problems is that they involve space...."

The idea here is that there is some pattern-forming structure inherent in space. This is pretty far-out metaphysics from a scientist, right? For the thinking astrologer, however, it is sufficiently far-out to be relevant to the basis of astrological theory. Planets are known by their archetypal qualities to such an astrologer. In Exegesis we have suggested that the archetypal quality of a planet derives from its orbit rather than the planet itself, thus appearing to us as a partial `time-quality'. The spatial structure of the solar system has yet to achieve a scientific explanation, so consider another quote from the same author...

"The mechanism that keeps the spiral arms of the galaxy spread out, that prevents them from wrapping up, is still not completely understood.... When clumps of gas rotate slowly, they do not fling themselves out into spiral arms; they remain smooth and their collapse results in elliptical galaxies. A similar theory of turbulence and rotation accounts for the formation of the solar system. Laplace assumed that the sun and planets condensed out of a great revolving gaseous cloud. Today we postulate that collections of dust as well as condensations of gas are at work. The particles of dust, incidentally, may have been driven together initially by the pressure of starlight - a force that once again varies inversely with d2, the square of the separation between particles. According to modern theory, flows of gas and dust break up into turbulent eddies. Those eddies conflict with one another and kill each other off, except for the ones that stay clear of collisions. It happens, not unexpectedly, that the eddies that remain, those that avoid collisions, are spaced at regular intervals from one another. Those eddies condense.further and give birth to planets, so that the planets too end up with a regular spacing. The particulars of the theory thus explain why each successive planet in the solar system is about twice as far from the sun as the previous one. In that story of the creation of the planets we see a kind of evolutionary theory at work. We see the decimation of the unfit, the swirls that collide with one another, and the survival of the fit, the swirls that were originally positioned so as to avoid collision. The end result is an orderly arrangement that appears more a product of design than chance. Order is born out of chaos." (same book p61/2)

The interesting thing about an eddy is the characteristic pattern, which is self-similar across the scales of nature, and how each vortex is an individual entity born of a collective environmental context. Vortices are individual features of a mass medium. Spiral galaxies demonstrate individual enduring vortices in outer space, as eddies form temporary ones in a turbulent river. Fractal geometry models turbulent flow, and the spirals in the pictorial equations of chaos theory exhibit self-similarity across multiple scales of relative size. The common factor is the individual spiral pattern in the matrix of the whole.

However we must remember that the spiral is just a pattern we observe. Underlying that is the trajectory of motion of the vortex. the solar system may not look like a spiral, but the planets appear to trace helices relative to the galaxy and any other frame of reference external to the solar system. This is nicely illustrated in full double-page colour in Tad Mann's classic "The Round Art" (1979, p78/9). If our galaxy is not slowly exploding, then its stars and the solar system also move in helices at that larger scale relative to the trajectory of the galaxy and the rest of the universe.

As I have mentioned previously, the elliptical orbits of the planets have a fundamental feature that remains to be explained by science. Science explains that the Sun is at one focus, and then notes that the other is empty. A curious student wonders about this. Why is there another focus, and why is it empty? Don't ask the scientists, unless you really want to embarrass them. My guess is that there is a viable explanation, and it is that the collective gravitational pull of the rest of the universe effectively creates the other focus, at a point where it balances the pull of the Sun. It's remotely possible that I did once read this somewhere long ago and have forgotten doing so, so I may be presumptuous in suggesting that it's my own idea!

Anyway the bipolar nature of planetary orbits reveals the fundamental role in astrology played by the number archetype 2 (its manifestation in the forming of oppositions is profoundly significant, but obviously more superficial). Also, there is the bipolar relation of any part to any whole that includes it. So the planets may appear to circle us, but sometimes part-circle back, and retro motion reminds us of the collective context that underlies their orbits. Spirals & helices are just patterns we use to represent their trajectories, and the number archetypes can be discerned in the structure of these when we represent it mathematically. Such mathematical concepts and diagrams are abstractions used to create a model. They appear to explain by analogy, and are used for convenience. Truth is beside the point, yet we still seek it, and I sometimes muse over the intriguing `fact' that you can get an ellipse by taking any cross-section of a cone that is not perpendicular to the axis. Bipolarity emerges from the unitary cone, but perhaps it is just rendered explicit because the directional orientation of the cone is implicit.

Cones cannot be seen if you look through your telescope to examine galactic or universal structure. But it is tempting to speculate on the cones that the planetary orbits mathematically model, and theorise invisible yet `physical' structures, and wonder what galactic orientation they may have. Taking this line of speculation any further must remain an opportunity for someone adept at blending imagination with mathematical reasoning, as I have certainly reached the limit of my competence!

Dennis Frank


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