Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Men (and women) Who Stare at Natal Charts

Quote attributed to Isaac Asimov:
"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but...... "That's funny."
Will there ever be a "Hmm....that's funny" moment for scientists with regard to astrology? I used to consider that would be a good thing, but do recall others expressing an opposite view with which I am now more inclined to agree. Would it be in the world's best interest for governments to put to some nefarious use any elements of astrological doctrine - or any other element of "New Age" beliefs - found to be 100% valid? That thought came to me again as we watched a DVD of the 2009 movie The Men Who Stare at Goats recently.

The movie's tone is strangely light-hearted, in spite of its serious militaristic setting. It was nice to see Jeff Bridges as a high ranking US military man, hair in a long braid hanging down his back, teaching all kinds of New Age disciplines to the troops, including remote viewing which was, truly, under serious experimentation by the US military in the 1970s. The film's story has a factual basis - see HERE for more detail on that, and an old post of my own on Russell Targ and remote viewing is HERE.

Back to astrology, my original thought, and some other ideas I had seven years ago from a post when this blog was in its infancy ~~
A word which appears frequently in scientists' arguments about astrology is "artifacts". Artifacts, in the context of cognitive reasoning, are so-called fake effects (in this case astrological effects) which could have ordinary explanations. Whilst I can see how artifacts might account for some seemingly good results in pieces of astrological research, I fail to see how we can continue to be misled by them in astrology generally. Too many brilliant minds, and too many ordinary folk like me can see SOME of astrology working day by day. I check the status of my own beliefs regularly - there's a latent skeptical streak in my nature. Astrology would have been given the heave-ho by me long ago, had I sensed that there was nothing at all in it.

It seems to me that there's a parallel between what has happened regarding herbal medicine and what might happen in the future in relation to astrology. Herbs have been used as medicine, and for recreational purposes, as far back in history as it's possible to see, and almost certainly well beyond that. For example, cannabis is said to have been used in ancient middle-eastern countries, hemlock and belladonna were used as poisons in Greek and Roman times, and some believe that the holy drink of the ancient Aryans mentioned in the Vedas -- soma -- was a concoction involving ("magic"?) mushrooms. 

The Foxglove plant had been used in folk medicines for centuries, some say as far back as the time of the Druids, before more recent pharmacists discovered that it contains digitalis, proven to be effective in treating some heart diseases. Similarly, the plant Feverfew, used in folk medicines, has been found to contain chemicals which do have ingredients which can produce effects observed by our ancestors, namely reducing fever or dealing with some kinds of headaches.

Whether our early ancestors came by their knowledge of the medicinal value of these plants by accident or by careful sampling, or whether specific knowledge had come to them from an unknown source, isn't recorded. We now know that there was validity in some of the ways they were using the plants. We are now able to understand the reasons why these plants proved effective, reasons which our ancestors would have been incapable of understanding or discovering.

A similar line of thought could be applied to astrology, its origins and its future. Scientists might yet discover an element, so far unknown, or which we are as yet incapable of understanding, and this could validate at least some part of astrological doctrine.
I'm no longer as keen as I was in 2007 for that to happen.


mike said...

There was a time in my younger days that I wanted astrology to be vindicated and validated. I've become more sedate and non-caring regarding others' beliefs in astrology and can only say that it works for me, but has limitations.

Years ago, I thought I had a firm grasp of astrology, but now I've explored many different aspects of astrology - mainly with the ease of astrological software - and seem more open-ended than ever regarding my understanding and being able to apply my knowledge! There are so many variables to consider. It was much easier way back when I utilized a rudimentary set of variables and didn't question anything else.

I do believe that astrology has some basic principles that can be applied to deduct generic outcomes. It's the finer, more intricate, detailed analysis that might pin-point with exactitude that eludes me. I've long suspected that some of the more famous astrologers, past and present, may have an additional gift of psychic awareness that they subconsciously apply to (or through) the basics of astrology.

There are many natural techniques that result in an outcome that can't be expected by chance alone. Dowsing is one that comes to my mind right now...originally used for finding water, but seems to be equally effective for finding whatever the mind is focusing on while dowsing. Throughout history, humans have used many surrogate, material substances to perceive their mind's attention, such as I-ching's coin toss, cards, tea leaves, mirror gazing, etc. Many mysterious methods of "fortune telling" are available.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I'm more or less in agreement with your feelings about astrology - maybe a few steps back though. I firmly believe there's "something" in astrology, but suspect it might not conform exactly with what ancients and textbooks tell us. As those sources are all we have to guide us, we just must tag along doing what we can.

A psychic component in some of the better astrologers' forecasts and predictions is a likely complication I think. Useful, even valuable, but maybe not always based precisely or wholly on what we expected they were based on.

There's enough of what I think of as the clear and simple stuff to keep me interested though, and enough potentiality in that, that I now realise it'd be dangerous for any government to find, through research, that they could use it, because it would not be to our advantage. That kind of discovery would be too valuable to the greedy, sociopathic powerful ones i.e. 99.9% of those who'd be involved.

Any and all of New Age techniques would be equally dangerous if ever found to have some measure of validity. I guess this is why, in ancient times, such things were closely guarded secrets - most detail of them now, fortunately, for us maybe, lost or destroyed in the mists.

DC said...

This is an interesting field of discussion. I see astrology....and the universe itself as a manifestation of patterns. The patterns of the universe exist and hence everything born of it will manifest the "grand Pattern" in one way or another. And it's that exact term "in one way or another" where astrology is best explained when it's logic is questioned. Astrology IS evidently expressed in one way or another in humanity's context at almost every turn...if you are able to look closely and carefully enough. This I recognized long ago as undeniable. I've just always felt I was one of the lucky ones blessed with the ability to see it.
So many times with astrology the self-evident truths that it (astrology) uncovers, reveal themselves in the purely physical, and maybe genetic realm of what we perceive as reality. That is, we (astrologers) see the percolated essence of what's been cooked over eons and eons of time. The harmony of our existence is always going to be mirrored by our own it local or universal. And it's up to the mind that is exposed to these patterns, whether to see them or not. Because as we know as astrologers...the truths are simple and entirely self evident. (rant over haha)

ex-Chomp said...

The bully prejudice of modern scientists against astrology is simply ridiculous: Galilei and Kepler made natal charts.

Newton studied alchemy all his life along: One thing is to ridicule the “astrology for newspapers”, as it is called, which is nothing new for mass media always present things not as they are; Other thing is to deny what may be natural corrspondences.

“The men who stare at goats”, a fascinating book and a funny film.

Twilight said...

DC ~ Beautifully put! Patterns and harmony have to be at the root of it all, even when, to mortals like us all on Earth seems chaotic, unbalanced and inharmonious, because sometimes we can't stick around long enough to see the balance and harmony - when it eventually manifests.

Maybe even now in 2014, when some say we're nearing "the end" we're still at the beginnings of some vast cycle which'll take aeons more to complete.

Twilight said...

ex-Chomp ~ They are bullies - yes - and supercilious with it! Astronomers are some of the worst, not counting Richard Dawkins. ;-)

I haven't read the book, might still do so. I liked the film - but in some ways I'd have preferred it to have had a slightly less flippant, almost "tongue in cheek" tone.

mike (again) said...

Along the lines of DC's comment is contemporary physics' view of our universe being holographic, which opens vistas that edge closer to what had been called metaphysics.

This is a quotation overview from Talbot's book, "The Holographic Universe":

"Today nearly everyone is familiar with holograms, three-dimensional images projected into space with the aid of a laser. Now, two of the world's most eminent thinkers — University of London physicists David Bohm, a former protege of Einstein's and one of the world's most respected quantum physicists, and Stanford neurophysiologist Karl Pribram, one of the architects of our modern understanding of the brain — believe that the universe itself may be a giant hologram, quite literally a kind of image or construct created, at least in part, by the human mind. This remarkable new way of looking at the universe explains now only many of the unsolved puzzles of physics, but also such mysterious occurrences as telepathy, out-of-body and near death experiences, "lucid" dreams, and even religious and mystical experiences such as feelings of cosmic unity and miraculous healings."

Here's a link that explains it all in detail with supporting videos:

Twilight said...

mike (again)~ Thanks for the link.
I can't yet get my head around this theory. After a page or two I'm out of my depth.

I've been looking for something to latch on to - a starting point - from which I might reach some understanding. There's a nice section at Crystalinks on it with good graphics too

I've picked out a few quotes to which I can more easily relate and maybe from there grasp a whisper of the rest of the theory:

In media we find films, television shows, books, and games, based on the concept of reality as a hologram. Among the more easily recognized are The Matrix (Illusion), The Thirteenth Floor (Simulation), Inception (Dream)....

In a universe in which individual brains are actually indivisible portions of the greater hologram and everything is infinitely interconnected, telepathy may merely be the accessing of the holographic level. It is obviously much easier to understand how information can travel from the mind of individual 'A' to that of individual 'B' at a far distance point and helps to understand a number of unsolved puzzles in psychology.

As Grof noted, if the mind is actually part of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to every atom, organism, and region in the vastness of space and time itself, the fact that it is able to occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have transpersonal experiences no longer seems so strange.

Synchronicity Principal suddenly makes sense, and everything in reality would have to be seen as a metaphor. Even the most haphazard events would express some underlying symmetry.

mike (again) said...

It's a bit heady and overwhelming to realize things aren't as they seem!

This article might be helpful, if you're interested:

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Yes, I'm interested - I shall read it fully later. Thank you! :-)

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Still cannot fully come to grips with it, mike. Sorry!

I'm going to stop at the point that a holographic universe is a theory, an hypothesis. Maybe it's the beginnings, a first step in a theory to which there's still much more, and more important ideas, to come.

A cigar is still sometimes just a cigar though. Reality remains reality for us, holograph or not. People still love, hate, kill, learn, fear, feel pain, have to pay the rent, suffer and eventually die. If there is a different reason or meaning for any of this, I don't see that labelling it a hologram as being in any way helpful.

I do accept that we're all part of something whole, interconnected.
If it's put that way I don't have a problem.