Monday, February 13, 2017

Eugenics & Other Yous

At some point last year we had begun to watch season 1 of the TV series Orphan Black via Amazon Prime; something must have happened to distract us (maybe a time away from home) because we then forgot to continue watching the series. Casting about for something different the other evening I again spotted Orphan Black decided we'd pick it up, not where we discovered we'd left it earlier on, but from the beginning again. In the series a young woman discovers that she is a clone, with numerous "sister" clones scattered around the world, she meets several of these; lots of adventures and dangers ensue. Amazing performance by Tatiana Maslany playing multiple parts and personalities - it's well worth regularly suspending disbelief just to watch her talent.

All that rambling was to justify a re-airing of this 2011 post on eugenics, a topic front and centre of Orphan Black.

Here's the relevant post, with appended 2011 comments for added interest.

Eugenics ~ Designer Babies ~ Astrology

I recall a conversation on an astrology message board, many years ago, touching on the question of whether it'd be wise for a couple to use astrology to try to plan a birth date/time which might produce the type of characteristics they'd prefer to see in their proposed child. My immediate feeling was that it'd be an unwise thing to try. I believe that nature knows best, and that there's an inbuilt heredity factor that will come into play, irrespective of attempts to displace it, or parts of it. Something from that conversation remains etched in memory: from a professional astrologer - well known one too, regularly commented and helped astrology students on the board. He told us that he and his wife had tried to astrologically design their child, and had done so successfully - a beautiful child was the result. But the child died at a young age.

An article in an old book, mentioned before in these posts "The Best of the Illustrated National Astrological Journal 1933 - 1934" prodded me into a little research into the controversial topic of eugenics, which has to be said is loosely linked to the idea of astrologically designing a baby.

The article, An Astrologer Looks at Eugenics was a report of an interview with one Robert De Luce, an astrologer and mathematician. The interview took place in the early 1930s. It's important to realise that at that time eugenics, as a general concept, had not attracted the dark, evil connotations gathered from the use of it by Hitler's Nazi regime a few years later. It's also important to realise that the theory of eugenics arose in early 20th century England, not Germany, and flowed (as things usually do, one way or another) across the Atlantic to the USA. The original purpose was not ethnic cleansing, but a desire to rid the human race of what proponents of eugenics saw as defective beings, and thus improve the species, and possibly avoid over-population as a side effect. Among what these elitists saw as defective beings, of course, were ordinary folk like thee and me who didn't measure up to their own supposed brilliant intellectual height. Oddly, although these eugenics peddlars were the progressives of their day, what they were proposing was fascistic in tone. Strange how things turn around!

I found what Robert De Luce had to say to be somewhat unpleasant. Worrying about "the existing sociological situation" and the then remedies (prisons, asylums, reformatories, public financial offerings etc...) he wrote

..They may for a time gloss over the cataclysm but they cannot permanently cure or avoid its recurrence.....

If the public will accept on faith the findings of astrological scientists, sufficiently to give them a fair test, we can readily assist the development of this new race of supermen.


Then again eugenists have a fear that the masses of lower intelligence, such as the moron and imbecile, will overpower and destroy, by their greater numbers, those who are intellectually endowed. There is nothing to it. No form of society has yet ever existed where the imbeciles and morons are the controlling factor.
That last sentence is a perfect straight line for a comedian to take up - I'll resist the temptation!

Back in the early 1930s perhaps a pervading astrological atmosphere was encouraging such perfection-seeking attitudes.

August 1932 to September 1933 saw a transit of Jupiter through Virgo, with Neptune already in that sign - a sign which has the reputation of a need for perfection in everything. The relatively innocent motives of De Luce were overshadowed when Hitler's Nazi regime set about its aim to produce the "master race" and "cleanse" Europe to produce an imagined Utopia. We all know of the ensuing horrors!

As a broad definition eugenics means people being bred like cattle or dogs, cats etc to produce the most desirable genetic traits. Genetic engineering in the 21st century could be used to produce a "designer baby". That might well be the case, but astrology buffs would argue that unless the position of the planets at the time of the designer baby's birth are compatible with the traits desired, results might well be disappointing.

There's a limit to how much "designing" can be done astrologically. It'd be next to impossible to ascertain the exact minute of birth, or even exact hour and day of birth (unless birth was by C-section, performed by accommodating medics).

I found this piece, of astrological relevance, at during my searches; extract only link is below. [Since 2011 the link has died - sorry!]

According to studies and trials done by Russian cosmobiologist Eugene Jonas, a woman can only conceive when the transiting Sun and Moon are in the same angular relationship(by sign) as the woman's natal Sun and Moon.

In other words, if the woman has the Sun in Leo and the Moon in Sagittarius, she has what is known as a trine(120 degree) relationship between her luminaries. Whenever the Sun and Moon are in trine(by sign) in the sky, this is the best time for her to conceive or become pregnant.

The trine is a harmonious relationship. Other harmonious Sun/Moon relationships(by sign), such as the sextile(60 degrees), Conjunction(0 degrees), or opposition(180 degrees), can also be fertile periods for her...... Note: a period of up to twelve hours should be allowed for the sperm to reach the ovum and cause conception.....
The sex of the child is determined by the gender of the sign the Moon is in at the time of conception.........

According to the ancient Trutine of Hermes formula, the Moon sign at conception, becomes the Ascendant sign at birth, and the Ascendant sign at conception becomes the Moon sign at birth. The time from conception to birth is usually 273 days or ten lunar months and nine solar months.

In other words, you can pretty much select the Moon and Ascendant signs of your child(as well as the other planets) and therefore have a very good idea of the characterstics of the child you are bringing into the world.

Whether eugenics were to be used to "better" the human race generally, or a variation of it were used to astrologically design offspring, I'm not in favour. Messing with nature can have enormous unexpected consequences for which the species would not be prepared.

COMMENTS (from May 2011)

Wisewebwoman said... Amen to that, I say, T!

Gian Paul said...Which practicing astrologer is not transforming, or trying to move his self (or various selves) towards what he/she may perceive as the more desirable aspects of his given make-up? If not so on earth, who knows at the latest when going thru "purgatory"? Are we not somehow fabricating something according to what we think "more desirable"? Astrology helping, this may even become obsessive.

Twilight said...Gian Paul ~~~ Oh yes, using astrology to improve what already exists is a reasonable thing to try - agreed, if one feels the need. It's the attempt to manipulate nature BEFORE a being exists, to that I see as very, very unwise.

Vanilla Rose said...I saw (part of) a TV programme about eugenics which claimed that Creationism had begun as a reaction against eugenics: the "God makes no mistakes" line. I'm not sure I quite agree, as it seems that some babies are born with disabilities which a loving God would not have chosen to inflict. Of course, many people do cope amazingly well with very severe disabilities.

The problem with trying to ensure babies are born with a particular birthsign is that nobody quite knows whether they will arrive on time. One of my family members was given a due date in mid-April, which was revised to early April when the ultra-sound found two babies in there. Needless to say - Aries. But she went into labour early. Fortunately, both babies did well (after a few weeks with naso-gastric tubes), but their birth sign is not Aries or even Pisces. She has two lively Aquarians.

Twilight said...Vanilla Rose ~~ That would have been an interesting prog. :-)

I'm in two minds about the wisdom of using genetic engineering to "right" a known deficiency in an unborn baby. That's a little different from designing the whole being. Even so, changing one thing could have a knock-on effect to some other thing, not realised.

Yes the astrological side would be VERY tricky to manipulate - nigh on impossible - with a natural birth anyway.

It's Music Monday..... I'll stay on the same page, with help from Nancy Wilson and There will never be another you:


Wisewebwoman said...

Lived Season 1 & 2 of OB. I thought it lost its way in Season 3 but came back in S 4. She is brilliant. Grandgirl and I love it but Daughter can't abide it which has caused dissention between them LOL

Eugenics is quite terrifying and has serious implications for the human race.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Good! I'm glad you've seen it too. We're about half way into into season 3 at the moment and I've also decided that it's not as good as Seasons 1 and 2 - mainly due to complications added (Castor etc)- wasn't necessary. Will look forward to season 4 now, not sure if Amazon Prime has it yet, but it'll arrive eventually.

Agree on eugenics - we have no idea what is going on undercover - I'd not be a bit surprised if some major experimental stuff is being tried already. :-(