20.7.10

Science or Faith?

Checking around different blogs, such as 4chan and youtube, I've noticed that the 'scientific' people denounce Astrology as being unscientific and therefore without value. I've also noticed that the 'religious' types deny Astrology as it has the potential to weaken faith with fact.

I've never noticed either type of posting cite research or study, and none of them ever note personal experience using Astrology either. I wonder how they have managed to develop their opinions...

So, I thought it was time I divulge mine, even though my opinion of Astrology is still developing (twenty years after I started using it).

After a particular conversation with Sibling 5, it occurred to me that my attitude toward Astrology isn't necessarily contemporary. Let's face it, I'm not exactly a trend follower, so let's get to it.

After twenty-odd years of using Astrology, I consider the following points elementary:

1. People perceive relative to their own perceptions.
Circular argument? I think not. The way I perceive myself changes by the mood, and also changes according to my environment and the people with whom I'm talking. It also changes according to others' responses.

The key point here is this: If Astrology changes my perceptions about myself, resulting in personally insightful and fulfilling experiences that ultimately raise my awareness, then altering my self-perception with this system has value. Right? You decide for yourself.

When in a psychological/scientific context, I often feel sorely lacking in so many ways and seldom find any solution to any issue I currently have. I've had more constructive numerology and palmistry sessions than any counseling session.

When in a religious context, I feel it important to either change religions RIGHT NOW or to simply commit suicide, as extending my life only results in more torment at the final end of it. Regardless of my personal views of religions and their fundamental obsolescence in the face of the Bill of Human Rights, the result for me with religions is that I do not and never will belong.

2. We all have a place.
Numerology tries to find a place for each of us, that is, a way in which we live that validates not only us but also those around us, but its breadth is fairly similar to psychology, as far as I can tell. The fundamental mechanics of both systems are simply not sophisticated enough to help identify the underlying factors in any given situation to a fine enough detail.

At no point am I saying that either system or their various styles of application are without worth. I am saying, however, that both have particular limitations that I believe have to do with a lack of development and experience.

I expect that once psychology has been around for several thousand years it will begin to blossom and allow the people who become involved with it to do the same with much greater efficiency. This blossoming, I believe, begins with validation, and any system that cannot reflect every element within a personality must needs grow.

3. Use the right tool for the job.
There is no point in using faith to understand the world: the two are mutually incompatible, and I strongly believe that the two can safely and happily remain separate. Sadly, there are many with the over-zealous concept that faith is there to deny reality or realistic endeavors. I'm still not sure why such people are so insecure in their faith, but that insecurity is a natural part of human psychology, I guess.

The above premise is basically the same as the one that tries to separate church from state, the accepting of bribes, the separation of business and government and capitalism from public welfare. It's also the same premise that ultimately resulted in the Bill of Human Rights.

The right tool for the job of global peace is the Bill; the right tool for the job of understanding the measurable universe is science; the right tool for maintaining faith, in whatever form, is religion; but this is where I diverge from current thought a little.

Astrology is the right tool for the job of acquiring answers when they are needed, which most often is right now. It can take weeks of therapy (many less with a skilled practitioner) to identify key turning points with a taciturn patient/client, but with Astrology I can identify the same points within a few moments of scanning the natal chart. I can't help but notice the efficiency of the process.

4. Cause or effect, the result's the same.
Astrology isn't scientific, I've read and heard. I've never thought it was. Yet, I'm forced to notice the internal logic and just how functionally valid that logic is.

With the Symbolic Modeling branch of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a key point is to not change the language of the client, but to help the client continue developing it themselves. The fundamental theory goes like this: Every person has their own perception of the world, and we each have an internal method of detailing this reality. And, each of these internalised methods are valid, else it wouldn't function for that person.

When I check other systems, such as cognitive-behavioural theory, or evolution, or string theory, I'm checking how the internal logic of these abstract systems work. I wonder about how well the different components each connect with the other components, and I also wonder how well the logic of one system works with the logic of a completely different system.

I don't pretend to be any master of any system, just an interested observer. And what I notice about Astrology is there are no conflicts with the internal logic of this system with the existence of any religion, scientifically-based approach, economic, social or political system. Considering the amount of conflict in this world, I consider this remarkable.

How is it so? I'm not sure. Astrology was confronted with a huge array of new data over the past few hundred years: societal changes, perceptual changes, new sciences and new religions, and not least of all, new planets! But each and every one of them somehow found a place inside the basic, yet not simple, pre-existing framework.

The consequence is that the Astrology available today is a masterpiece compared with the simplistic applications of the seventeenth century, or even the fifth century BC. This system just seems to keep developing and growing, and the result is that we have a wealth of pseudo-psychological information at our fingertips for insight and raising self-awareness.

So, at last, the end-piece.
In terms of modern psychology, in Astrology there are placebo effects, projection points and triggers, and in terms of magic, voodoo and hocus-pocus. Historically, there are Greek, Roman, Christian and Scientific influences, not to forget the Arabic, Egyptian and Babylonian influences.

For me, Astrology is a system with internal functional logic that provides a way for each and every person to begin understanding themselves and their existence, their problems, health issues, faults and ways to deal more constructively with those things, if not heal them all together.

Astrology is a tool for reflecting back our own perceptions, and it works because the system is a combination of centuries of feedback and development through empirical research, and it also incorporates a basic human component: imagination. Imagination is an integrated part of the Astrological approach. This is also an intrinsic part of being human, and one the most successful psychological systems are developing and integrating into their approaches, just as Astrology has. It's just that Astrology has been doing it a lot longer.

Ultimately, I believe Astrology is more of a philosophy, an approach to existing, and is not for everyone. I only recommend, that before you begin to either apply or deride the system, that you study it first in your own terms.

In all of my experiences of Astrology, incorrect information for a chart has lead to question marks, and the correct information has lead to a sudden glow of self-confidence, self-realisation and self-actualisation that is completely unmistakable. These are the causes, and Astrology is the effect.

Further reading:
Anything! Read as widely as you can!

My favorites:
Dane Rudhyar
Martin Schulman
Tracy Marks
Margaret E. Hone
A.T. Mann
Nicholas Culpepper
Dr Marc E. Jones
etc etc etc

Bon Voyage!