Saturday, December 09, 2017

Saturday and Sundry Rant-worthy Thoughts

So many issues currently in the news are eminently rant-worthy - shall I count the ways? Brexit; Trump; Republicans; Democrats; monopolies; men who harass; comedians who are unnecessarily gross, not to mention unfunny; creeping crapification of - just about everything; "smart" stuff encouraging us to speak to inanimate objects as a way of life. Sigh.

There's yet another, more personal, irritant: people who, at the mention of the word 'astrology' pounce eagerly, ready to question the mental capacity of anyone who is, in their estimation, "irrational" enough to give astrology even an inch of headroom. This happened to me a few days ago at a blog which shall remain nameless; it has happened many times during past years on the net, and is tiresome - putting it mildly!

On most occasions, when an urge to intervene with any mild reference to astrology arises, I turn "chicken", shrink from mentioning it, or my interest in, and study of the ancient art. Among those people with no interest in astrology, and in some cases with a definite abhorrence of it, such an interest marks one as a gullible nitwit and totally irrational.

Do rationality and astrology mix? I contend that they can, given the right approach and a mind open enough to see serious failings in both camps, but failings which completely negate neither.

For many people astrology has no relevance at all. I do get that. Football, baseball, basketball and other sports have no relevance to me, but I don't go around denigrating fans of those pastimes. So...why can't astrological skeptics simply ignore astrology and any mention of it? It's almost as though they feel threatened by it!

I remember reading some relevant observations years ago, written by Darin Hayton (link is now defunct). Mr Hayton asked:

"And what really is at stake in this enduring battle between science and astrology? Are astronomers [for instance] afraid that their funding will suddenly go to astrologers? Does the fate of the free world or the rational mind or science depend on refuting astrology? Given the characterization of astrologers and believers in astrology as simple-minded, uneducated, irrational dupes, what threat do these people pose to astronomers and scientists? Does belief in astrology stand for a purported, societal-wide irrationality that threatens the entire practice of science? That seems a bit apocalyptic, but maybe. And what is served by the denigrating rhetoric typically used to brand astrologers frauds and charlatans? Surely it would be more effective to adopt a more conversational approach rather than labeling astrologers and their customers irrational, superstitious dupes..."

Ten years ago, in my early days of blogging - when, even then I found astrology skeptics to be rant-worthy, a commenter "Velvet Blade" wrote:
I used to love those people who would come into an astrology shop and say, "Prove it to me". Why? Because I was once that person. Skeptics are GREAT, as long as they have an open mind. Otherwise, they are not skeptics at all, just stubborn folks who believe that everyone should think the way they think... Hmmm... Ringing any bells in politics???

True skeptics believe what they have found to be true for themselves. The don't close their minds and shut down, with no hope of opening.

True skeptics always make the BEST astrologers. They won't accept anything as true until they have seen it for themselves.
To allow my BP to return to what passes as normal, a quiet ponder upon a couple of quotes:

“The world,” he said, “grows hourly more and more sceptical of all that lies beyond its own narrow radius; and our men of science foster the fatal tendency.
~ Amelia B. Edwards, ("The Phantom Coach").

And, from Sir Terry Pratchett:
Sometimes, if you pay real close attention to the pebbles you find out about the ocean. ("Lords and Ladies").


Wisewebwoman said...

There are more things.......I find astrology far more believable say thank the invisible Cosmic Housekeeper that so many beg and plead with to no avail in this world we're destroying.

The moon, for instance, has enormous influence on me and why not the stars too?

Rant away my friend. We could howl together.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Yes, many more things -as well as things we don't know we don't know, too!

I feel the Moon too - when it's full I sleep less well, have noticed this frequently.

I see validity in astrology, but certainly not everything astrology textbooks and websites lay down as "gospel" (bad I definitely feel there's "something going on" in regard to the basic bones of astrology. There'll be a rational scientific reason for it too - some eminent scientist will, someday years or decades from now, be exclaiming,
"Hey, that's funny - isn't this more or less in line with astrological traditions?"

A Casual Reader said...

In the early 1970's, when I was young and just starting out with astrology, I was very bold and indiscriminate about my interest, and I was made to pay dearly for my candor (and naivete) by others who were equally bold, indiscriminate and candid about their disapproval and contempt for it.

I learned, and the lessons were painful (and sometimes public).

For a long period of time - say, 20 years - I sidelined it, but kept a fraction of an eyeball on my transits, with Jim Maynard's annual 'Pocket Astrologer' being the closest I would come to active participation.

Lately though, in the past two years or so, I've drifted back and am currently paying attention again, having stumbled upon your Blog and a few others, for which I give many thanks, Twilight.

A friend will be having Saturn transit his natal Moon in February and he has a nephew who not only has that same transit at the same time, but will also experience his first Saturn Return, with Saturn currently sitting on his natal Venus, followed in short order by a conjunction to Uranus and Neptune (b. 11/1989). For both, 2018 looks like a major year, what with Saturn hitting those points repeatedly through retro-gradation.

Needless to say, I've been being bold and candid in talking about the ramifications and possibilities - and I want to offer useful advice without finding myself "getting carried away" and disappearing into astrological bs.

Blogs like yours are helping me stay grounded.

Thank you!

Happy Solstice!

Twilight said...

A Casual Reader~ Hi there! Happy Solstice to you too, when it comes. :-)

Thank you for adding your own experiences regarding coping with the derision of others in relation to one's interest in astrology.

I'm very pleased to know that you've found something of interest on this blog. Astrology takes a back seat here these days, partly because I felt I'd chewed over it sufficiently, over the years, written all I felt equipped to write about it; but also because, over the past two or three years I've felt my interest waning a little, though not completely. This waning effect might be an adjustment to age - of the old variety! I don't want to be aware of any impending ill health or worse, so seldom follow my own or husband's transits. I'm content to accept things as they come, after taking all health precautions that we can. Worrying about stuff that might not happen is bad for a body!

I do retain a general interest in astrology though, and have taken to answering a few questions at Quora in the astrology section (and a few in other sections). Most questions are Sun-sign tethered - a constant irritant, and an uphill struggle for the professional astrologers there to get people to realise that their Sun sign isn't all there is. There's a certain amount of contempt for the subject on display there too.

I've never found the whole of astrological lore valid myself, lots of it can bring out my own inner skeptic. Though I can, kind of, understand where astro-skeptics are coming from, I have no patience with those who haven't properly investigated astrology before decrying it wholesale.