Paradigm Confrontation in Napoli
Most of the time we assume that two people who speak the same language will be able to hear and to understand each other’s statements. Kuhn’s seminal book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (University of Chicago Press, 1962) offers an explanation for failed communication despite a supposedly common language. Kuhn uses the term “paradigm” to describe both a scientific community which shares a common subject matter, theoretical models, methods of work and goals, and to describe the “belief system” (set of theories about the nature of ultimate reality, truth, etc.) within which the scientists actually operate. Kuhn suggests that each conceptual framework or paradigm is held as true by the scientific community until recurrent crises force researchers to discard the paradigm for a new one. Copernicus, Newton, Darwin, and Einstein are previous revolutionaries who altered the way scientists conceive and consequently perceive the world.
Kuhn doubts that a “pure and neutral” observation-language is possible. Two people can only “see the same thing” when they share (consciously or unconsciously) beliefs in the same model of the world. The models include preferred or permissible analogies and metaphors which help to determine what explanations or solutions will be acceptable for puzzles, and they include basic values. One important value for current science includes the ability to make accurate, preferably quantitative predictions. A theory is also valued if it is simple, self-consistent, and plausible which actually means that it should be compatible with other theories currently accepted by science. Each paradigm includes a vast number of interrelated theories but all supposedly rest on and support the same basic premises. Facts can only be defined as such within the context of a paradigm or set of theories which define the nature of ultimate reality and thus determine which human experiences can be accepted as real and meaningful and which must be considered due to chance, illusion, coincidence or fraud. These foundation premises must be considered metaphysical in nature, to be accepted as an act of faith, since statements about final, absolute reality and truth are not susceptible of proof.
The “materialistic” model or world-view holds as basic premises that ultimate reality is composed of matter-energy which is meaningless, purposeless, controlled by chance (probability theory) and inexorably subject to entropy (increasing randomness and lack of organization). The world started with a titanic explosion (Big Bang) and will either expand forever or collapse in on itself into a Black Hole. Consciousness is an illusion created by the physical brain. Life is an accident in a basically alien and hostile or indifferent world.
There are many “spiritual” models or world-views. In my basic premises, “mind” is the ultimate reality and power rather than “matter.” Mind can be defined as a life form able to process meaning or information, as consciousness including the unconscious. Life-mind is inherently meaningful and purposeful, moving always toward increased organization, complexity, choices and capacities. Life-mind is eternal, attracted to and evolving through experiencing its own projections, revising its inner scripts, developing new potentials, and eventually realizing that any separation is an illusion.
It is no wonder that individuals living in such different worlds have trouble understanding each other. Kuhn describes the shift from one world-view to another as basically like a religious conversion or like a gestalt shift from seeing a vase to seeing the profiles of two faces, alternate ways of seeing a picture that most readers will have seen in psychology classes. Kuhn says that when looking at the picture or at the world, one cannot stand in the middle. One sees the world in one way or the other, though it is possible to switch back and forth between them. Of course, when one’s life work is completely based on one paradigm, a shift to a rival world-view is not easily made. Max Planck remarked “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” (Kuhn p. 151)
Despite Kuhn’s insistence that scientists can only function as scientists within a single paradigm, many ordinary people including astrologers actually live in their own unique mixtures of materialistic and mentalistic conceptual systems. It is very common for astrologers to believe in life after death and before birth (reincarnation) with Karma continuing to enforce consequences from earlier lives, yet to also believe that the physical planets influence or even “cause” current character and physical events. The beliefs (often implicit rather than consciously formulated) behind traditional “good day-bad day” astrology are that we can prevent the normal consequences of our character by just picking “good” days to do what we like and avoiding action on “bad” days. As our readers are well aware, I believe that character (habitual attitudes and actions) creates destiny (events); that we are (re)born where we fit parents, heredity, environment, and horoscope, and that we can and do change our destiny when we change our character. I believe that the factors of astrology (planets, houses, signs, etc.) symbolize 12 psychological principles, each of which we can manifest in many different details in the life.
Obviously, a scientist operating in the materialistic paradigm will not be able to deal with such statements. I can understand his world-view; I was exposed to it through many years of higher education. He is not likely to understand mine, or if he does, he is likely to consider it contrary to everything scientific. But, the materialistic “scientific” world-view is in conflict with human experience throughout history and in every culture except that of modern western science where psychic experiences are conceptually unacceptable and therefore ignored or denied.
There is massive evidence for the power of the mind to transcend time and space and to influence the physical world directly without a physical intermediary. There is strong (though not conclusive) evidence for reincarnation and life after death. There is overwhelming evidence from personal experience that the principles of astrology are symbolic when you find that the same meaning can be shown in dozens of different techniques. One can no longer insist that a particular placement of Mars is “the cause” of an accident when the potential of a Mars-type action is shown in secondary progressions, solar arc directions, heliocentric positions (planets as seen from the sun), solar returns done with and without precession, kinetic solar returns done with and without precession, and many other astrological tools and techniques. In fact, I think the only reason many astrologers are accurate at all is the incredible redundancy in the system. If you miss the message in fifty ways that it shows in the chart, you might pick it up in the fifty-first technique. The cosmos is so totally orderly and meaningful that no matter what we do to the sky, we still see the same order in a slightly different way.
Even a handful of the mundane charts which I describe regularly in The Mutable Dilemma and in Asteroid-World are ample evidence that the world is not meaningless or controlled by the laws of probability. Yet Eysenck in Naples could say that nothing has been proven to be valid until it has been supported by statistics after I had described six of the U.S. presidential candidates who were born with Halley’s Comet on their Ascendants in relevant places, and three more with aspects between Halley and their MCs. Out of the millions of people in the U.S., that those nine men should self-select to run (or be pushed to run) for President reduces statistics to a theater of the absurd. When we add the asteroids discovered and named by astronomers with their incredible precise meaning in mundane charts, we are clearly not living in a materialistic world ruled by chance.
The size of the gulf between our worlds hit home emphatically when I thought of the amount of knowledge gathered by human beings over millennia in comparison to the brief interval of time during which humans have used statistics. Humans learn through experience, often brief and painful such as a child touching a hot stove. It seems bizarre to imply that knowledge that a hot stove can burn one is not genuine knowledge until it has been endorsed by statistics. A five percent increase of placements of Mars in the Gauquelin key sectors provides statistical evidence for astrology even though it is of no value in predicting that a person with that placement will be famous in sports or in the military, nor can one use the information to deny that fame may be earned by someone without Mars in those sectors. Eysenck says that the Gauquelin work is the ONLY real evidence for astrology. It is not statistical and therefore not scientific when the asteroid “Russia” is conjunct the MC to the minute of longitude at the time and place that the country for which the asteroid was named shot down a Korean plane. I have published hundreds of similar examples, and they are all dramatic “hot stove experiences” but unredeemably unscientific. They effectively “shoot down” the scientific world-view of a meaningless world ruled by chance for anyone able to look at them, but they are non-existent to anyone maintaining the scientific world-view. Remember, according to Kuhn, if something does not fit your conceptual belief-system, you simply cannot see it. Materialists seem very much like people wearing large brown grocery bags over their heads. They can see down to the earth but not up or out.
Can astrology make statements without the benefit of statistics? William James said that it only takes one white crow to prove that not all crows are black! Septuplets born in Denver tell us that a horoscope is “open-ended” in the sense that more than one outcome is possible for two people (or two other events) which were born at the same minute in the same place. Three of the septuplets were removed from the mother in the same minute of time. The first died, the second lived, the third died. Two more babies were removed in an additional minute with one living and one dying. Materialists will prefer an alternate explanation, that astrology does not work for Cesarean sections. The Gauquelin work offers some support for that alternative explanation, but I have worked with many individuals who were born by Cesarean section or following induced labor, and I have not found any so far that failed to fit their horoscopes. Of course, I see principles in the chart which can manifest in a variety of details.
Twins born ten minutes apart in Austin support the idea that the horoscope is a “mirror” which symbolizes existing conditions rather than a “mold” which creates the conditions. One twin was normal; the other had an extra rib and a cleft palate. Both twins had an exact square between Mars and Saturn. For the twin with the problems and consequent surgery, Mars was exactly on the Ascendant so Saturn exactly squared the Ascendant. In the ten minute interval before the birth of the second twin, the Ascendant separated from the aspects by more than two degrees of longitude. Any good astrologer can guess which twin had the problem, but the conditions existed before birth. The twins were born when they fit the patterns in the sky.
The important events in individual lives are symbolized in many different systems, as has already been mentioned. We can look at the patterns one day after birth for each year of life, or one day after birth for each lunar month of life, or one lunar month after birth for each year of life, or move everything in the sky approximately one degree for each year of life, or multiply each factor by the movement of the progressed Sun in the day-for-a-year system, etc. Each of these systems and others will symbolize the life situation in their own unique but complementary patterns. We can use those patterns to understand the psychological issues (though we may not guess the precise details) of the current life.
Alternately, we can take a set of events after they have happened and, given sufficiently dramatic events, we can judge the approximate time of birth of the person, looking for a chart which fits the actual life rather than trying to deduce the life from the chart. When Hinckley shot President Reagan, we were given his birth date and place. I chose the time out of 24 hours which gave the “craziest” chart. When we got his recorded birth time, my selected time was just six minutes off. If we only performed such a feat once, it could be a fluke, but I have done it repeatedly and gotten later birth information confirming the approximate time I had selected.
Obviously, one cannot hope to compress thirty years of experience with astrology into a single paper or into a conference lecture. I had written my talk in great haste, to meet the deadline to have it translated and printed for the conference, only to find the translated copies had not arrived and Mark and I had to cut our presentations drastically to allow verbal translations to be made for the mostly Italian audience. The speakers at the Naples conference ranged from a Belgian astronomer who rejects even the Gauquelin work and who apparently does not know the difference between constellations and zodiac signs, through Eysenck who accepts only the Gauquelin work and the possibility of some valid correlations between geomagnetic disturbances and cultural changes, through a variety of Italians. Since the latter’s translated papers did not make it back from the printer, I don’t know what most of them said. Then there was Peter Niehenke and me. Peter is a practicing astrologer in Germany who went back for a Ph.D. in clinical psychology so we were pretty much “in the same camp.” He has carried out several astrology research projects, most of them unsuccessful so far. I have asked him to send me the data so that I can try the latest effort in which astrologers in Europe tried to choose the right one of two or three horoscopes which belonged to a person who had a number of accidents for which dates were given. I don’t know the details of how many subjects were involved but all had experienced accidents. Astrologers should be able to do such matching tests if enough events in the life are given, but I will find out when the data comes. I am planning to let ISAR and NCGR members also try to do the matching, and if Mutable Dilemma readers are interested, I will be happy to include you in the project.
The foregoing description of the unbridgeable gulf between the materialistic world-view and the mentalistic or spiritualistic world-view is not intended to discourage astrologers from the use of scientific methods in testing their theories. I have rejoiced over the Gauquelin results which have discredited many traditional ideas in astrology, especially the idea that the twelfth house is inherently negative. The many failed attempts to match horoscopes with psychological tests, with descriptions of individuals whether of personality or of life events, etc. have been highly valuable in defining what astrology (or astrologers) can and cannot do. As long-time readers know, I have collected the charts of multiple births since the beginning of my work with astrology, considering them one of our most valuable ways to test theories of both new and old factors in astrology. It is primarily the studies of twins, searching for how the horoscopes can show differences with even a small change in birth time, that have supported the reliability of dwads, nodes, midpoints, Arabic Parts, etc. They have confirmed the importance of aspects to the angles of the chart (MC, Ascendant, East Point, Antivertex), and the importance of the one-degree-orb in aspects.
An important point made by Peter Niehenke was that the fact of failure in an astrological test provides little information. There are many possible reasons for failure which must be investigated. The astrologer attempting to match a horoscope with another form of information about a person may be inexperienced and have inadequate knowledge of his or her techniques. Or the techniques may be inadequate for the task which could be handled successfully with other astrological methods. Or the task may not be one which astrology can handle at all. Over my years of work with astrology, as I have seen people manifest a variety of life details which are all symbolized by a single astrological principle, I have become increasingly convinced that the last explanation is often the correct one. But it remains important to try such matching tests whenever possible, to find out what astrology can and cannot do, as well as to pinpoint the most reliable tools and techniques. I have tried many such matching tests, sometimes successfully and sometimes with failure, but each has played a useful role in my understanding of astrology.
I have also given matching tests to many astrologers in teaching seminars and in our publications, using them especially to test new techniques. For example, when composite charts were first being promoted as “the” keys to relationships, I set up a page of six composites; three from relationships which were primarily harmonious and three of conflicted relationships. The tool, simply the midpoints between two charts which are placed in a separate wheel, was supposed to indicate whether the relationship was a marriage, a business, a parent-child connection, etc. I gave the sheets of six charts to half a dozen astrological groups over a period of months, asking them to judge the nature of the relationships and if possible, to match the charts with the details which were provided; i.e., one happy marriage, one which ended in divorce, etc. Every group without exception chose the composite chart of a man who tried to kill another man as the happy marriage. After that experience, I suggested that composite charts should not be substituted for more traditional ways to judge relationships. I also got some indignant responses from astrologers who liked the technique and who insisted that it worked for them.
My most valuable personal attempt at a matching test was a total failure which forced me to change a basic traditional interpretation, a change which is still resisted by the majority of astrologers. I have described this experience often in lectures, but do not think I have ever written about it in The Mutable Dilemma. In my last year of work for my Ph.D. in clinical psychology, my favorite professor learned that I was involved in astrology (I carefully hid the fact through my years in graduate school), and after I graduated he gathered the birth data for 15 friends and wrote short personality descriptions for the 15 people. I tried to match the 15 charts with the 15 descriptions and did not get a single one right. As an example of the issue of principle versus detail, two of the subjects had Neptune on the Ascendant. One description was of a deeply spiritual person, a regular meditator, etc. Another person was a shoe salesman. I guessed wrong, picking the shoe salesman (who had Neptune in Leo with many trines) for the meditator rather than the man with Neptune in Virgo who had many squares in his chart. There is an old saying that “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” The inner conflicts symbolized by squares may be a compelling reason to seek contact with a Higher Power.
But the chart which revolutionized my treatment of horoscope houses was a man with an Aries stellium in the tenth house which was widely square Saturn in late Cancer and Neptune in early Leo in the twelfth house. I had accepted the tradition that planets and signs were keys to personality but that houses were just keys to events in the life. I reasoned that this man with Sun, Mercury, and Mars in Aries in the tenth house would be doing his best to control the world. He would be likely to have anxiety with the squares to Saturn and Neptune, but he would certainly hide it and perhaps get ulcers. When I was given the right match for that chart, the man was described as so visibly insecure and abasive that he was very uncomfortable to be around. The only way that I could account for that personality expression was to accept the tenth house as similar to Saturn and Capricorn; as a key to the Law and executive power but as a sign of inadequacy and possible self-blocking if the power is seen as totally outside the individual. A combination of the principles of Mars and Saturn, (personal will and the LAW), whether said by planets, houses, or signs, can be manifested as a steam roller who tries to run the world, or as a fear of failure which leads to self-blocking and often illness.
Once I had made the conceptual breakthrough, it seemed obvious. Of course you have to have the character before you can have the characteristic events. And a lot of charts which had puzzled me before suddenly made psychological sense. There was the bright, grand trine in air and Sun in Capricorn client who stayed with a verbally abusive alcoholic husband instead of going out to make her own life. The air sign trines were in the traditional water houses, four, eight and twelve. She remained dependent. Her Capricorn Sun was in the third house, and she remained unconvinced that her mind was adequate; she was still projecting the Capricorn power into other people in her life. The Gauquelin results made sense. Planets in the ninth and twelfth houses symbolized the areas of life where we looked for God. If Mars, our personal right and power to do what we pleased, was our Absolute, we could throw that power into sports or military contests or the metal weapons of the surgeon, and become the successful people studied by the Gauquelins. If we lacked faith in our own power and in a higher power, we could hold in our life vitality and recuperative power and could end with illness or other forms of self-denial, as the twelfth house victims described by astrologers.
I had already decided that signs and planets showed principles with a range of possible manifestations. That conceptual shift in 1969 simply added houses to the ways that horoscopes symbolized character potentials. Horoscopes do not tell us “what” people will do but “why” they act as they do. When we know “why,” (in terms of psychological dynamics), we can change the “what.” So we end with another gulf between the materialistic researcher and the mentalistic clinician. The practicing scientist requires specific detailed predictions. S/He needs to be “right” to be scientific. The practicing clinician wants to be helpful, to facilitate self-awareness, self-confidence, self-acceptance, the integration of conflicts, and the development of potential talents. When the astrologer specifies a detail in the person’s life or personality, the impression is given that this detail was inevitable, that the client had no other options. When the astrologer explains the principle, the client sees that the basic desire symbolized by the astrological factor can be satisfied in a variety of ways. Hopefully, the client will learn to replace less effective forms of manifestation of the principle with more satisfying experiences.
So aspiring scientists will continue trying to “prove” astrology while clinicians-helpers-healers will continue trying to “improve” astrology. We need scientific methods to get rid of the destructive old theories which talked of malefics and evil aspects, and to validate reliable theories and techniques. We must be willing to test our theories and techniques, but we do not have to accept the terms of materialism. We can continue to test ourselves against life. We have to be wary of materialistic premises which turn humans into zombies; the Skinnerian pigeon lacking free will, responsibility, and dignity. Both my thesis and my dissertation concerned the issue of free will. I hypothesized that belief in determinism, that final power is outside, that we lack any power to change our own lives, would result in more anxiety and passivity and less effectiveness in handling life. Results supported my proposal.
We do not change our horoscopes when we change our character and our lives; we express the same principles with different details. We have all seen clients who have already manifested a variety of details connected to a single principle, looking for satisfaction in that part of life. Unfortunately, this often only reinforces the traditional ideas of unquestioning astrologers. They offer a detail, the client confirms that this has happened, and the astrologer fails to realize that ten other related details had also happened to the client at different times. Consequently, the astrologer never understands the principle which is the cause behind the details and the client is left feeling helpless to change his or her life.
Most of the people at the Naples conference were eager to “prove” astrology to science. I would rather have the materialists ignore astrology. When it is presented as “forces” and “influences,” it is just another way to turn people into irresponsible victims. After the coming paradigm shift, when the materialistic scientists and the materialistic astrologers have joined Ptolemy, we can accept the horoscope as a mirror of our own psychological dynamics, as an enormously helpful key to self-awareness and personal growth. Gary Christen of Astrolabe was at the conference blaming astrology’s lack of scientific acceptance for the second-class citizenship of astrologers as well as for the lack of funding for research and for our failure to attract good minds to the field. I remain a rebel and heretic. We are better off without the minds if they are committed to materialism, and the funding would be mostly wasted if it were spent within the limits of the current scientific paradigm. I came away from the conference with a renewed commitment to my long-time goals of trying to reach astrologers with greater psychological understanding of their subject, and humanistic or transpersonal psychologists with the potential value of astrology as a diagnostic tool.
In the meantime, science is inching its way toward a paradigm shift. En route to the conference, I finally had time to read a new and very exciting book called Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick (Viking, 1987). I want to urge everyone who is interested in how science works to read the book! The new theories deal with non-linear equations, phase transitions, fractals (fractional dimensions), strange attractors, and other esoteric sounding areas, but the author does a super job of explaining the technical ideas. The explorers in the new realms faced the normal resistance of traditional science; lack of funding, rejection of papers by respected journals, etc., but the new ideas are now accepted and their relevance is being recognized in many fields of science.
I mention the book here because the basic theories may prove valuable as a bridge to communication with science for those who still want to attempt that. Among the basic ideas are “self-similarity,” scaling, and the existence of a universal process which can be expressed in a simple mathematical model. All of the foregoing ideas are part of a realization that universal forms actually exist in both space and time. The universal principle describes the actual process of flow (again in both space and time) which can involve any level of “particle-energy” from very small to very large. Instead of reality being reduced to the smallest particles, it exists at all levels of size in the moving process itself so long as the proportions of scale are maintained. The same principles (information guiding the flow) exist on many levels of size and operate in many types of actual physical matter, hence the term “self-similar” and the claim for universality. In astrology, we say “as above, so below,” and find that planets, houses, and signs symbolize the same twelve parts of life, that the dwads form a zodiac inside of every sign, and that the nodes of the planets express the same principles as the planets. One of the researchers in Chaos said, half jokingly, “maybe we should believe in magic.”
The idea of “attractors” is a basic part of the new theories. The pendulum of a clock offers a simple example. If it loses the energy which keeps it swinging, it is eventually attracted to a stationary state which can be equated with the ultimate stability of the death of the system. If the pendulum keeps receiving energy input, the system can be mapped as being “attracted” to a state of steady oscillation. Each variable which is independent of the others in determining the state of the system can be considered to be a dimension of the system. With non-linear systems which have more than two attractors, the orbital movements can become incredibly complex as well as beautiful when they are shown graphically in color on TV screens. (Astrology’s twelve sides of life can be conceptualized as twelve attractors, basic tendencies to act in certain ways as we weave the complex web of life.)
Non-linear systems (which means most of the world) used to be conceived as composed of an infinite number of dimensions and to be totally random or beyond our power to map or model. With the idea of fractional dimensions, out of randomness there suddenly appears a repeating (self-similar) order. A simple, mathematical equation can graphically portray “strange attractors” which produce a moving line that never crosses itself and never exactly repeats itself and squeezes an infinite line within a finite space! Many body systems fit these principles. For example, in most tissues in the body, no cell is ever more than three or four cells away from a blood vessel, yet the vessels and blood take up little space, no more than about five percent of the body. The lungs also pack the greatest amount of surface into the smallest possible space. The nervous system, the His-Purkinje network of the heart, the biliary ducts of the liver; all use the same universal system. Fractals produce a simple bifurcating system once you get past the mind-set of Euclidean geometry.
Increasing numbers of medical people are seeing that illness can be a breakdown in coordination or control as systems that normally oscillate stop oscillating or systems that normally do not oscillate begin to do it. Breathing and heart disorders are drawing special attention, but some blood disorders and even mental problems such as schizophrenia and depression are being reconsidered. The unusual eye movement patterns of schizophrenics and their relatives may follow fractal (chaos) patterns. The chaos patterns may prove to be a basic key to the self-regulation mechanisms of health. “Simply put, a linear process, given a slight nudge, tends to remain slightly off track. A non-linear process, given the same nudge, tends to return to its starting point.” p. 292 Critical factors include the degree to which a system can withstand a small jolt and its flexibility over a range of rhythms or frequencies.
Remember that the patterns operate in both time and space. A dripping faucet, a flag flapping in the wind, a rattling fender on a car, almost anything that is intermittent but appears random (controlled by chance) may be found to have orderly rhythms. The distribution of large and small earthquakes follows a mathematical pattern which may be fractal. Economists are searching for strange attractors in stock market trends but so far have not found them.
Some of the most interesting work in the new field involves the boundaries between the attractors of a system. When a shift occurs, metal shifting from magnetic to non-magnetic, a smooth flow of fluid becoming turbulent or changing to a gaseous state, the boundary area can be incredibly complex. An investigator named Yorke said “The whole electrical power grid of the East Coast is an oscillatory system, most of the time stable, and you’d like to know what happens when you perturb it. You need to know what the boundary is. The fact is, they have no idea what the boundary looks like.” p. 235. Physicists are exploring some of the concepts in work with artificial intelligence, speculating that ideas are regions with “fuzzy boundaries, separate yet overlapping, pulling like magnets and yet letting go.” p. 299 You can see why I wrote that the new work is inching us toward a paradigm shift.
The new field does not deny all chance or randomness, but it demonstrates that much of what looks random actually has order hidden in it, and it contrasts the entropy found where there is a lack of organization with the increasing order found in biological (life) systems. Hubbard said “in biology, randomness is death.” p, 239 Barnsley put it as “the role of chance is an illusion. Randomness is a red herring.” p. 239 Once a system is drawn into the orbit of an attractor, it becomes highly predictable, but at the boundaries between the attractors, anything can happen and the future of the system cannot be predicted. Of course the Chaos theorists are working with models of physical forces, but I think that their universal model can be even more universal than most researchers in the field have realized. The graduate students at U.C. Santa Cruz came closest to the boundary between the physical and the mental paradigms when they connected the chaos work to the body of work already done with “information theory.”
If we apply the chaos model to our mentalistic world-view, there is room for “free will” when we are balanced between the attractions of actions that pursue freedom versus closeness, dependency versus power and responsibility, the spectator role versus the achiever, etc. etc. One of the recurrent themes in the study of chaos is the enormous sensitivity of systems to initial conditions. A tiny nudge of attraction (desire in mentalistic terms) sends the energy flowing towards this attractor rather than another one. But the systems can also be self-correcting as they loop back again and again to closely related choice points. Do read the book! I can’t do justice to it in a few pages.
I have not described Mark Pottenger’s talk for the Naples conference. His work with aspect frequencies remains purely factual, outside the bounds of the controversies of materialists and mentalists. Participants were impressed by his beautiful graphs and often surprised by the figures; to realize for example that Mars and Sun remain conjunct nearly four times as long as they remain in opposition. Such facts are important if astrologers want to use statistics to support their theories about meaningful factors in groups of horoscopes. Despite my rejection of statistics as the ONLY form of validation of theories, I do consider it one of the useful tools. So I was delighted to meet the primary local organizer of the conference, Dr. Fausto Passariello, and to find that he has been developing a set of statistical formulas which will be available on computer disk for astrologers. The package is not completely finished yet, but Mark brought it home to write connections to our CCRS programs and Astrolabe hopes to sell it to astrologers who are interested in astrological research. So for the astrologers who have wanted to undertake serious research but have been hesitant because they were lacking in statistical expertise, a new resource will soon be available. Mark has also been making major additions to our CCRS programs, but I will leave it to him to write the details—probably in the Virgo Mutable Dilemma.
In the meantime, I’m off to our annual seminar in Montana, to a conference on paranormal research which will be held in Fort Collins, CO in early July, and then to some more river rafting, but I want to close with one more philosophical statement. Do our basic beliefs really make a difference in how we live our lives? In my Ph.D. dissertation, I quoted William James (Pragmatism and Other Essays, Washington Square Press, 1963). James quoted Chesterton. “In the preface to that admirable collection of essays of his called Heretics, Mr. Chesterton writes these words: ‘There are some people—and I am one of them—who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether in the long run anything else affects them.’ I think with Mr. Chesterton in this matter.” And I think with both James and Chesterton.