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astrology - art or science?
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james_m



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 2883
Location: vancouver island

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

okay waybread. i will do my best now that the wholly headed square between mercury and jupiter is waning!

deb houlding wrote an interesting article on ptolemy who might be said to have framed astrology in a more 'scientific' mold for many generations. the end of her article captures a particular attitude that partly reflects this idea i am getting at of a scientific approach to astrology. here is the link to the article - http://www.skyscript.co.uk/ptolemy.html

i think a scientific approach would be described by a connection to an astrological theory based on an observation that is correct more often then not. the work of michel and francious gauquelin was an attempt to make a more scientific connection between the position of planets and occupation, however short it fell in meeting the changing standards the scientific community of the time demanded. they worked within a framework of statistical analysis and attempted to prove the validity of astrology in a more scientific basis..

john addeys work in harmonics was quite interesting and more scientific in nature i believe.. not many astrologers have been curious or adopted his approach, so it remains to be seen how much merit their is in his work from a standpoint of usefulness to an astrologer. these are a few of the individuals that i would classify as pursuing a more scientific approach to astrology from recent times, while ptolemy would be one representative of the deep past. it would be interesting to know what ptolemy would have thought of horary astrology!

as i said in my opening comments i see and approach astrology as a bit of both science and art. i mentioned in the previous post geoffrey cornelius's book as an important book for me personally as it opened up a different attitude towards astrology that is reflected in the idea of astrology as divination which i don't believe is receptive to scientific study, let alone approval. i see this as the part of astrology which is harder to define and where intuition plays a central role.. to a degree this is the 'art' definition that i am offering up in contrast to the scientific parts to astrology.. the scientific part is the astronomy which seems the most objective and provable, most not what most astrologers immediately think of when practicing what they do.. math fits into all this too and is somewhat scientific in nature.. the intuitive part of astrology is the interpretative approach which is the most subjective part and hard to measure.. i am not sure how one can prove the existence of intuition as an important ingredient to astrology, but i remain receptive to the idea science might reach a point where it is capable to understanding astrology and how it works.

hopefully some of this gives you and larxene a partial answer for a specific definition of science. i don't know how much this conforms with the idea of what science is, but regardless i see a scientific approach to astrology as only a partial requirement to a better understanding of astrology. i would like to think that at some point astrology would be proven scientifically valid, but i think we are a very long ways off from this happening. in the meantime much of my interest and ongoing curiousity in astrology is a mixture of making observations and seeing just how relevant they are or aren't to the many astrological theories that are in use and popular among other astrologers, regardless of the school, or style of astrology being pursued.
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Larxene



Joined: 22 Sep 2012
Posts: 312

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prior to making comments, I have read this thread up to page 4. While I've skipped a few posts, I'm sure I've read what you said. To ensure that I understand what your definitions are, I read post #3 of this thread again.

I am quoting parts of that post so I can analyse your notions of science and art.

james_m wrote:


...the definitions of these words are not so simple...

...there is a footnote with a short quote connected to the text that i am going to share here as it captures a small part of nassim's and my own thinking.

"It is just that what many call science is highly unscientific. Science is an anti-sucker problem."...

...although there are rules in music connected to harmony and rhythm, knowing the rules makes for a good staring point but ultimately it is the sound that one wants to create that decides whether it has merit...

...listeners don't care whether musical rules have been followed or not!...

...an astrologer acts like a musician in some respects in bringing ideas to a person who is interested in what astrology might offer on any particular topic...

...some might say much hinges on the astrologer, as opposed to the astrology. perhaps the chemistry between the astrologer and person interested in an astrological perspective is equally or even more important here as well.. this is a bit like getting different results putting different musicians together...



(a) You agreed that the definitions are not simple, so isn't it better to use words that are simpler?


(b) "What many call science is highly unscientific." How does one know that something is unscientific, if one does not specify what makes something scientific? It's like saying something is not a cat, without knowing what a cat is.


(c) This is my inference on your understanding of science and art:

"Rules makes a good starting point, but it is the desired results that matter."

"Astrologer-client compatibility is what leads to better results, rather than the rules of any particular astrology."

Before I comment on this view, let me first ask you, is this what you mean? I don't want to attack straw-men.




I am quoting your latest post as well.

james_m wrote:


...the end of her article captures a particular attitude that partly reflects this idea i am getting at of a scientific approach to astrology. here is the link to the article - http://www.skyscript.co.uk/ptolemy.html...

...i think a scientific approach would be described by a connection to an astrological theory based on an observation that is correct more often then not...

...the work of michel and francious gauquelin was an attempt to make a more scientific connection between the position of planets and occupation...they worked within a framework of statistical analysis and attempted to prove the validity of astrology in a more scientific basis...

...john addeys work in harmonics was quite interesting and more scientific in nature i believe...

...these are a few of the individuals that i would classify as pursuing a more scientific approach to astrology from recent times, while ptolemy would be one representative of the deep past...

...a different attitude towards astrology that is reflected in the idea of astrology as divination which i don't believe is receptive to scientific study, let alone approval.

...i see this as the part of astrology which is harder to define and where intuition plays a central role.. to a degree this is the 'art' definition that i am offering up in contrast to the scientific parts to astrology.. the scientific part is the astronomy which seems the most objective and provable...

...the intuitive part of astrology is the interpretative approach which is the most subjective part and hard to measure..




(d) Quoting the article you linked:

"...To Ptolemy, therefore, astrology is a scientific study because it operates according to natural law...whilst other elements of astrology were considered to be completely unworthy of mention, either because they were too unscientific, too reminiscent of fortune telling, or defied any kind of rational explanation...

...His unwillingness to accept the concepts of astrology that are infused with symbolism rather than pure reason..."


Is this the part that you agree with, that astrology is more about symbolism than observation and explanation of natural phenomena, which makes you think it is more of an art?


(e) So basically, you believe that science is about creating working theories based on observation of the material world?


(f) Hmmm, so astrological readings are at least partly influenced by divine inspiration, is that what you're thinking?


(g) You also believe that interpreting astrological charts require intuition, which is subjective in nature, in contrast to the study of astronomy, which is more objective. Intuition itself and intuitive observations are hard to measure, and therefore neither intuition nor intuitive observations are easily provable.

Am I understanding you correctly?
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james_m



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Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larxene wrote:

Am I understanding you correctly?


hi larxene,
i feel like i just entered the dentists office for a root canal.. is it possible for you to simplify the question/s?
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waybread



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
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Location: Canada

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James, thanks for clarifying your views. Lots to think about in it.

I'll come back later to check out the link.

But we truly need to distinguish between "science" as it was practiced in the past (history of science) and science as it is practiced today. These are wildly different. Otherwise we get no end of confusion as to what one means by "science."

It also bewilders me how few people are willing to contemplate astrology as one of the humanities or possibly more akin to a qualitative behavioural /social science. As I noted above, some of them are highly empirical yet they do not use the scientific method. (Not that most of them would happily admit astrology except in a personally detached, non-applied way.)

It might be helpful to define science in terms of what credentialized scientists do today in government labs and universities. Astrology does not even register on this template, any more than poetry about the stars would be considered astronomy.
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amelia



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
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Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hoped when I responded that trying to tie down some definitions at the start would avoid the more concrete discussion veering off into semantics. But it hasnít really,

Larxene said
Quote:
James_m, what exactly do you mean by 'science', and what exactly do you mean by 'art'?
,

Waybread says
Quote:
It might be helpful to define science in terms of what credentialized scientists do today in government labs and universities


and the question has come up in other forms in other posts too

So in response to Jamesí earlier request
Quote:
perhaps you'd like to frame the question differently? if so - go ahead! i am still curious on yours or others thoughts on all this


I think that the topic covers more than one question and at least three, as follows:
1) Is astrology as applied in professional practice for clients ( interpretation, forecasting counselling etc.) by astrologers a science or an art?

Letís get this one out of the way first as I think the semantics surrounding it are detracting from the main issue.

Waybread says
Quote:
I would describe astrologers as consumers of scientific information, but not as scientists
and goes on to lists some other similar professions

But I would take this even further.

Astrology (when used by serious practitioners) is a profession and as such (if one must denote any profession an art or a science) must be an art.

Let me clarify. No profession is a science, although some rest on previously researched and confirmed scientific findings. Compare a medical doctor and a lawyer; both are practising an art but the doctor is using a knowledge bank based on scientific findings whereas the lawyer is using one based on a mix of philosophy and socially determined acceptable behaviours. But in both cases their work in applying the rules is an art.

So astrology in the context of a client practice is an art. Like all professions. End of. If there was no art involved there would be no skill and a machine could do it.

So, having cleared that up it brings us to the next question:

2) Is astrology derived from a bank of knowledge backed by a natural science or from one that has been socially constructed?

And this then begs the question: Is the effect (or alleged correlation) of astrology part of one of the natural sciences ( physics, chemistry, biology or pure mathematics)? [We can obviously discount biology (astrologyís scope is wider) and pure maths (astrology is considered tangible) for this purpose, so it is down to physics and/or chemistry].

Let us be honest. We as astrologers are not yet in a position to propose a unique model for how astrology works Ė it could be planetary cause and effect or a correlation created by a third factor a yet undiscovered. So based on evidence at this stage, I donít think we can argue anything other than that there is no proven identifiable physical or chemical force to support astrology being based on a natural science.

We could perhaps, if we are successful, prove some correlation, but without a complete explanation of what contributes to the relationship we would still struggle to justify the classification of astrology as a natural science.

However that does not mean that astrology is definitely not part of the natural sciences.

Nor does it mean that astrology doesnít work at all.

As Varuna says, there hasnít really been very much testing of astrology at all by the natural scientists. And, as others especially Myriam, have already mentioned, astrology is complex and multifaceted. It is also extremely broad in nature, covering everything on the planet. It would take only a very complete theory of everything in the universe to establish whether astrology is in fact part a valid component of the natural sciences. Conceivably, there could be something above and beyond those sciences which has yet to be identified.

The reality is that Science hasnít got there yet and until it does it cannot refute astrology any more than astrologers can demonstrate its validity as part of the natural sciences. (Geoffrey put this fact another way in terms of the pillars of scientific philosophy).

However that doesnít mean that both parties should stop trying. So next we need to ask:

3) Can astrological research be scientific in nature?

The term science in this context is not used in quite the same way as in question 2.

In this case it is all about the process.

It is perfectly possible to go about researching anything in a scientific manner. Waybread asked

Quote:
How many people here have a B. S. (B. Sc.), M. S. (M. Sc.), let alone Ph. D. in a scientific field


But the Sc. designation is a little misleading- I have both a BSc and an MSc but neither of them are in natural sciences; they are both in social sciences ( and which included components generally considered as humanities).

The key to them being designated Sc. is not (as the layman might assume) the application in the field of natural sciences but the combination of:
i) theories that can be condensed into generalised mathematical formulae,
ii) rigorously and consistently applied research methods
iii) the use of statistically based inference

In this regard there is no difference between how a researcher in physics or one in politics or linguistics approaches their research.

Waybread also makes the point that
Quote:
Philosophy is not the only field that sharpens critical thinking!


Thus it is also helpful to remember, in the context of academic study, that a doctorate (or PhD) in any subject is in fact a doctor of philosophy designation, does not come with a Sc. attached to it and can be in any subject from engineering though to literature . At that level of thought research into all subjects are considered worthy of an equal academic designation which is not a science one.

We can also note that, in the context of question 1, most people who are termed Ďscientistsí are themselves likely, professionals ( practising their art) who, may or may not have MScís etc. who happen to be conducting research according to scientific principles in the natural sciences. Until we break a personís activity down in this way we could go round in circles about what science is and what it isnít.

So, finally, can astrological research be scientific? Yes- absolutely: astrology is obviously based on the maths of astronomy, and so any astrological research, provided it follows rigorously monitored, consistent approaches, can give rise to scientifically deduced conclusions.

Of course this means that whether any particular piece of astrological research is scientific is down to a matter of fact; i.e to the conditions of the individual project. But astrological research can definitely be scientific in nature.

However, as already mentioned comprehensive testing hasnít really happened yet.


P.s. Just for the record I want to add what I think re the other topics which have woven their way into the thread i.e. love/ hate of/by scientists, the authority of qualifications and the overarching authority of the traditional masters.

Dismissal by scientists
I agree with Myriamís opinion that Astrology is deeply threatening to the scientific worldview, but I donít think traditional scientists are any more biased against astrology than other non-astrologers; the fact is most people donít want to consider any ideas that might shake up their nice comfortable little view of the world- astrology is just one of the things that might ruin their idyll and whilst it canít be conclusively proven is just easy to ridicule and dismiss.

Dismissal of scientists
On an individual basis it is quite acceptable to criticise anyone who is weak in the practice of their own field, but it doesnít serve astrologers well to dismiss all scientists or indeed any iotherwise competent individual scientist, just for not accepting astrology. We, as astrologers, should in theory be more aware of the source of human limitations and thus more tolerant. Though in my experience this doesnít seem to be soÖÖÖ.

On qualifications
Experience is the best qualification Ö in anything. A qualification is a useful discipline for learning the basics of something but it is not a substitute for doing. And while certain knowledge is a pre-requisite for doing many lines of work, that knowledge can be gained through a mix of self -study without exams and on-the job training.

Like Morpheus I have an accounting qualification and I have found during my career that there are some formally qualified accountants who are useless and some with no formal qualifications but wide practical experience who are excellent.

Authority of the Ancients
However brilliant the work of those who have gone before, we are dependent on written documents. Those documents are written in a language. The meaning of a language is always culturally dependent so, however good our mastery of the ancient language might be, we cannot ever 100% understand what was written at an earlier time, because our context for that language is not the same. So we can use the historic manuscripts as a foundation but we must reaffirm our understanding of the concepts through our own practice today to ensure that we have not misinterpreted them through the lens of our own linguistic boundaries

ĖAnd for anyone questioning this last assertion I refer you to waybreads comments on the US evangelical movement Ė same bible Ė same words -different interpretation dues to differing perspectives Ė and that concurrently is even in the same western culture!
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"The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper" Eden Phillpotts
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waybread



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
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Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant, Amelia!

Thumbs up

I would only add that I don't find the "art vs. science" dichotomy to be helpful. Some professions are pretty scientific. Maybe we wouldn't classify a chemistry professor as a professional, but some of them are very applied as they consult for industry or pride themselves on their teaching.

We really need to get out of this stultifying binary, and consider classifications across a range of endeavours.

Also, I wouldn't discount the value of a degree. Of course it doesn't automatically confer competence and many practitioners gain competence without it. However, someone who has gone through some rigorous hurdles in higher education (like a dissertation defense) probably-- and on average-- has picked up more information and critical thinking skills than someone without a high school diploma. (Probably, not necessarily.)

Many astrologers do not have much in the way of a formal educational background. That's OK; but as a whole, I think it limits our ability to be serious players in the real world out there.

Also, several years ago I went through my former institution's on-line library data base, and did I find some academic research on astrology . But it was terrible. Stuff like correlating sun-sign with students' career choice, and then concluding that astrology was bogus when no significant correlation was found. Astrology seems to be slowly returning to the academy via history and literature. It isn't science, and therefore seems a more congenial foundation upon which to build.
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james_m



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
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Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi amelia,

thanks for coming back a month later and not only framing the question in your own words, which i had asked of you in my initial reply to you, but answering it too! beautiful. i liked most everything you had to say.

i would like to comment on a topic you highlighted that i agree with in particular- included in the quote below.. it seems to me this addiction/obsession to venerating the wisdom of the ancients ignores the possibility of there being any new insight possible in the present.. put another way, whatever is discovered in the present must have been discovered already by someone from the past, so we must adhere to a 'traditional' viewpoint and keep as far away as possible from any modern or present influences that are clearly polluted by the very nature of being more modern..

i am putting this in my own words based on my interpretation of comments i periodically read on forums/blogs where this seems in evidence.. your personal quote sums much of this! - "The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper" Eden Phillpotts".. apparently not according to my own read of some hard core traditionalists who appear much like intolerant fundamentalists found mostly in religious circles.. perhaps i need to learn how to be more tolerant of intolerance, lol.. thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

amelia wrote:

Authority of the Ancients
However brilliant the work of those who have gone before, we are dependent on written documents. Those documents are written in a language. The meaning of a language is always culturally dependent so, however good our mastery of the ancient language might be, we cannot ever 100% understand what was written at an earlier time, because our context for that language is not the same. So we can use the historic manuscripts as a foundation but we must reaffirm our understanding of the concepts through our own practice today to ensure that we have not misinterpreted them through the lens of our own linguistic boundaries
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Larxene



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Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps you can try answering my questions one by one, James.
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varuna2



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Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

amelia wrote:

it doesnít serve astrologers well to dismiss all scientists or indeed any otherwise competent individual scientist, just for not accepting astrology.


I agree (and no doubt others will disagree due to differences of inclinations and elements or whatever and such.) It is not always enjoyable to be a critic who does, does not, enjoy criticising.

To whomever feels like reading this.

It is difficult to communicate using written words or any words, but whatever I (and it is debatable that 'I' did it) wrote anywhere was generally only for a purpose unique to that time and place (context). I found sciences (in the normal use of the term, e.g. geology) fascinating at the time of learning.

It was interesting to explore all of these views on astrology these last years, and what it is or is not or ought or ought not to be, including all of the isms and ologys that have come up. Such as, but not limited to: Psychological, Traditional, neoTraditionalism, Keplerism, Neoplatonism, Aristotlianism, etc. I am personally just exploring, but wanted to clarify in case anyone misunderstood my position which is a lack thereof. When someone thought I was viewing the planets as deities (maybe I was but people have different conceptions of what deities are in that context) and told me Kepler is where it is at, I encouraged them to follow the path that has heart for them. Then, when I interrogated a Psychological astrologer on their views that astrology is not connected to the 'physical world' and the weak spot is the ephemeris, someone inclined towards a plasma cosmology and hard scientific view of astrology affirmed their agreeance with me on astrology being a hard science, and so I told them I view the planets as deities - which seemed preferable because less limiting. Also, because of no final and real opinions on this and at those times I was considering these different ways of viewing these things.

Not that anything I wrote just now has any relevance to anything, but just to clarify/unclarify. Anyhow, carry on.

Amelia's post reminded me of why.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant

The above is why it is difficult for interaction with those who learned astrology through modern Western paths and who use psychological language or who reverted to traditional astrology with platonic language, because I learned astrology through the language of, e.g., the Horasara where very real 'physical' things and events are described through astrological language. I can understand why people here claim astrology is not testable if they studied other types of astrology, but at the same time it was not the way I learned astrology language. I think astrology yogas in Jyotish are what need to be tested statistically if anything is, because they already exist and make falsifiable claims, while being sufficiently complex enough to be worthy of trying to test statistically, including trying different zodiacs and houses and aspects and such. Testing the complex yogas would be where in astrology it would be the best place to affirm whether astrology qualifies for the standards Geoffrey wrote about as to what a science is. The complex yogas that pass the statistical tests could be compiled into one text and then that text could be sent to other places to be tested and verified. Then the underlying principles could be determined from the successful compilation of complex yogas.

Interestingly, the Supreme Court of India ruled that Jyotish is a traditional 'science' and worthy of study, when some wanted to remove it from public and academic discourse. The D-60 shastyamsha chart has a high vimshopaka rating and this chart changes ascendants rather quickly (around 2 minutes), and there are even finer divisional charts than this. Even if it were true that yogas from the Horasara and other texts were found to have an objectively high statistical success with the right combination of zodiacs and houses and aspects and timing techniques, it is not that I am suggesting astrology is the only component of life and influences on biological life or the forces of nature. Neither am I advocating this approach which I realize is unpopular, because it does not matter to me, but for those who are interested in demonstrating astrology in a measureable way I believe this is the most certain route to take and it will, however, require vast amounts of data and cultural sponsorship.

Have 'a' equal astrology in the following case:

1.Perhaps a is F (syat asti).
2.Perhaps a is not-F (syat nasti).
3.Perhaps a is both F and not-F (syat asti-nasti).
4.Perhaps a is indescribable (syat avaktavyam).
5.Perhaps a is indescribable and F (syat asti-avaktavyam).
6.Perhaps a is indescribable and not-F (syat nasti-avaktavyam).
7.Perhaps a is indescribable, and both F and not-F (syat asti-nasti-avaktavyam).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_epistemology#Jain_Epistemology


To Spock: The Ages of Man might possibly be interesting or potentially relevant to your ponderings too in reference to psychological thinking (or not), in that they could be meant in more than one way, besides large scale earthly ages alone. An analogy would be the fetus stage in comparison with the current belief in random mechanical chance and gradual change evolution, and this is for example only since I do not mean only relevant to a fetus:

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evodevo_02

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_of_Man

Those ages of man are found in other cultures besides the ones at the link.

"Well, I don't think he's saying that the golden human is by nature made of gold, but that it is good and fine. I consider it proof of this that he calls us an iron human" (Cratylus by Plato).

"And what of the report that earlier humans were born from the earth and were not reproduced from each other?" (Statesman by Plato).

"Clearly, Socrates, reproduction from one another was not part of the nature of things then. It was the earth-born humans, the one said to have existed once, that existed then, returning to life again from the earth; it was remembered by our first ancestors, who live in the succeeding time but bordered on the ending of the previous period, growing up at the beginning of this one. They became our messengers for the accounts of the earth-born, which are nowadays wrongly disbelieved by many people" (Statesman by Plato).

The belief the ancients were ignorant cave humans making grunting sounds is a modern conceit and almost a human conceit. A good antidote for any of this type of conceit is to contemplate the lifespan of a mayfly in comparison with geology, for example, and consider something such as a film/movie called Baraka, or contemplate the plasma universe and galaxy superstructures. Who would know better than us what things were like in extreme ancient times, besides those who were in the transition stage of beings? Whether we understand their teachings is another matter, certainly. The reason some people turn to tradition is not merely only a principled rejection of the modern world. Some people look at the mind or intellect, in general, and reason that it (as far as we in the modern West know) is only capable of doing certain things, certainly there are varying capacities and aspects of 'mind' - a N. Tesla psychic yet analytical mind, is different from a chess player mind, for example.

However, just as it may be difficult to contemplate and contain or imagine infinity in our mind without potentially breaking it, i.e. 'going insane', or just as it is difficult to gain the wisdom of a plant, or just as it is difficult to know what a planet such as Gaia or Earth or Venus or Saturn 'knows', or what a galaxy or universe itself is capable of 'knowing', it is difficult to step outside of our minds to know what ancients knew and if their 'knowing' capacity was in fact vastly superior to our own - which is what is taught in various ancient texts for some reason - one could argue the reason is to preserve a tradition, but that would be difficult to prove. If we assume the ancients knew things humans of today are not, generally speaking, perhaps even capable of knowing, then this puts an entirely different value to whatever things they taught, vs. whatever things the thinkers of our age teach.

This is not to say anything that is old is good or anything new is bad. Certainly there may have been what we would consider 'scientific things' that became venerated as religious cults as the years progressed or the original intentions or meanings were forgotten (e.g. Christ-mas/s and winter solstice rebirth of the visible northward direction of the Sun), and vice versa - there are always these difficulties in trying to understand ancient things, and by ancient I do not, generally speaking, mean things within the last 2-3000 or so years. When the earlier Western scholars looked at the time scales in ancient Sanskrit texts they could not believe it (which explains the Westerners dating of the Vedic era to almost modern times), nowadays those time scales look normal.
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spock



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Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
hi spock,

the title of the thread i started was 'astrology - art or science?'

in the content of my first post i said that i thought it was a bit of both. it seems that some folks think the only way towards knowledge is thru science as opposed to art. that is interesting to me as i see the different approach as stimulating a different part of who we are, both equally valid, but different.. one might be able to be mapped more logically, while the other seems to rely on something different and less 'logical'.. i think it is the fallacy of science or those that emphasize a certain type of thinking - scientific, over artistic, that wants to put one above the other.. it is like saying we will resort to logic as the king of the method for attaining knowledge over a more artistic approach.. at least this is how i read your comments.. what about the idea that both means of practicing and attaining wisdom and truth require the cultivation of both science and art as a means to a deeper understanding of life, and back to the topic - astrology in particular? to suggest the only way to attain knowledge is thru science seems very short sighted to me..

now we get into semantics and say science means knowledge so i am confusing things here with the idea of art being some other window into the universe that is an important window to a greater understanding of the universe to which i would say - science hasn't spent much time looking into art as it is incapable of studying it in the logical manner that is it's strength and crutch..

The title as given is doubly ambiguous. If you mean is astrology an art or a science I'd say you first need to substitute for 'a science' a category that can meaningfully be compared to 'an art'. No commonly used single-word term that I can think of exists for such a category, because unfortunately we don't take seriously the pursuit of knowledge below the level of development of what we term 'a science'. If such a term existed, however, its definition would be something along the line of 'the pursuit of knowledge about the world', world in this instance meaning the cosmos including the earth, and all the objects and creatures within it including us. In essence the title of the thread understood this way reduces to, is astrology the pursuit of beauty or the pursuit of knowledge about a particular aspect of the world (i.e., correspondences between earth and the heavens)? I'd say it's pretty unambiguously the latter, not partly the one and partly the other.

But you seem to be using art in a different sense, more or less synonymous with non quantifiable skill, and referring to the application, not creation of astrological knowledge. In this context that usage has merit, albeit not necessarily in the way that I suspect you have in mind. In principle we can describe, not merely create 'an interpretation of', the effects of Saturn transiting conjunct, square or opposite its natal place by collecting instances of this configuration or set of configurations and asking, what is it that they have in common? That description would be derived from observation, albeit not without additional cognitive processing. We cannot, however, describe on the basis of prior observation the way all the transits in relation to a given chart at a given time combine, because that combination will never have occurred before. We can only synthesize those effects into a unique whole, and that synthesis is arguably not the product of prior observation but of skill: the art of synthesis. So it's 'art' and 'science' in a figurative sense, but strictly speaking it's neither.
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james_m



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Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:50 pm    Post subject: Re: astrology - art or science? Reply with quote

hi spock,

it was a hypothetical question that i was curious to get others feedback on.. i think the subject field which included this question "astrology - art or science?" is only a starting point for a conversation. i think my initial comments are fairly clear in where i am coming from. i don't know that i can help clarify anything for anyone anymore then i have already.

i see astrology as having a subjective side to it which may not be provable in a more 'scientific' manner to qualify as some type of scientific activity.. this is where the art part is for me - in the interpretation and the subjective factors that go into an interpretation.

i liken astrology to another activity in my life that i have been involved in all my life - music.. while there are many different styles of music, they all have there merits, and none of them could be said to be better or worse then the others.. they are all just different. what a person does with music, or the instrument they play is an artistic activity much like reading an astro chart as i see it. sure, there are rules in music but nothing that can't be broken either. i don't know if any of this comparison is of help in understanding what i mean by the 'art' part..

here is my first post which i believe needs to be considered as well in connection with the title of the thread.

all i was asking was how others perceived these ideas. i apologize if some feel my choice of words were not the best ones, or that i needed to be more articulate in defining these terms. i thought i did to the best of my abilities in my original post.. as i said to amelia - define the terms on your own terms and offer a perspective to which she did and to which i was happy to read.. it is a philosophical section of the forum and this is how i have been approaching this as well.


"
james_m wrote:
i tend to think it is a bit of both, but i thought i would ask others here if they would like to share their own views on this.

there are so many astrological theories to choose from. the followers of these different theories claim they have some type of validity.

i am reminded of the philosophical idea that there are many different paths that can reach the top of the mountain.

i was reminded of this ongoing debate after reading a post today about 'orbs'.. one can fall back on a system that has been put in place from the past, or watch the interaction of the planets to see how it works in their own chart. observation is the basis for a scientific approach. i think we're handicapped by our own subjective approach in only being able to really consider our own experience in relation to astrology. this is why i think astrology is more art then science. i do think it is a bit of both though and there are certain astronomy laws that mirror dynamics in peoples life which is why i am a believer in astrology.

for me there's a obvious connection between astrology and psychology. both are outside the realm of 'hard' science in so far as they are difficult to impossible to reach objective 'scientific' conclusions on..
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james_m



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Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spica volume 1 issue 2 has an article starting on page 42 that relates to this conversation that some might find interesting..

http://www.astronomy-and-culture.org/journal/journal.html
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spock



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
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Location: Evansville, Indiana

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
spica volume 1 issue 2 has an article starting on page 42 that relates to this conversation that some might find interesting..

http://www.astronomy-and-culture.org/journal/journal.html

James, thanks for this reference. I haven't had time to read more than the first few pages of the article (I'm taking an Income Tax Preparation course, which is taking up almost all of my free time) but it's nice to have it on my computer where I can easily refer to it.
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Geoffrey



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Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
i mentioned in the previous post geoffrey cornelius's book as an important book for me personally as it opened up a different attitude towards astrology that is reflected in the idea of astrology as divination which i don't believe is receptive to scientific study, let alone approval.


.... as our idea of "science" stands now.

I had a long chat with Geoffrey Cornelius about this matter, and the problem is that science has nothing to say on subjective matters. But "science" and what we understand to be "scientific" is not carved in stone. Today, it is not what Newton would have understood as "science" and it is certainly not what Ptolemy would have understood as "science".

And tomorrow...? What we can say is that one of the biggest problems science is grappling with today is how to account rigorously for uncertainty - and subjectivity is just another way of saying that you cannot describe in a rigorous fashion how you came to a certain conclusion. So, I am optimistic that "science" will evolve in a way that will, one day, be able to take astrology on board.
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james_m



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Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for sharing that perspective geoffrey. you've articulated a point of view that is really helpful in giving a broader perspective to all of this.
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