Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

I became interested in astrology when I was seventeen or so. It began as after-dinner fun with my aunt, an accomplished astrologer herself as I was trying to choose the right career. It soon developed into a serious interest and has been till today.

Being an engineer, I often get asked by the Rational if I actually believe in this sort of humbug. And I have to say- yes. I try to explain that maybe "belief" is not the most accurate word to reflect my sentiments, but the Rational never really listens to this part and starts to protest and comes up with inevitable argument about planetary distance, how maybe the moon may affect us (after all it does cause tides) but not others, how weak the "rays" (what rays, I want to ask, but keep quiet) are and how negligible their effects on the turns our life takes. "But, wait!" I try to get a word in. The Rational looks up surprised. After all, aren't these arguments logical enough? How can I not agree? The Rational, once again begins. "I agree with what you say". I blurt out before another list of facts begins. The Rational is really surprised now. "You are absolutely correct. These are not the reasons to 'believe' in astrology". I really don't like the word believe, but I can't seem to find another one, so I go ahead with it. "Then why spend so much time on what you don't believe?", the Rational is puzzled now.

"Well..." I take a deep breath. Here comes the hardest part, reasons for what I truly think is a best explanation of how it all works. "Its not causal. Its associative. I don't think there is anything tangible that makes a certain position of Saturn bad or good for you. You form some basic tenets based solely on observation and then try to extrapolate the rest. Extrapolation is tricky and it gets trickier when extrapolating in a complex plane depicting one's lifetime." I catch my breath.

At this point the Rational either looks at me with utter pity to which I try to sneak in the kitchen and make some nice tea to soothe ruffled feathers or if the Rational looks interested I dive headlong. "Let me give you an example", I say. "Lets say for the sake of argument that every time Mercury transits Pisces you have an unpleasant job-related issue. Now, the fact that Mercury transits that point in sky really has nothing to do with your job at all. They are completely unrelated events and will happen even if the other were not present. But you and I can draw an association and now can extrapolate it to the next 'n' times Mercury transits Pisces. Makes life easier. You can now be prepared. Astrology is just that. Careful associations and careful-er extrapolations." I just realize I made up the word 'careful-er' but the Rational doesn't seem to notice. "Hmmm. But its not science." the Rational ponders.

"Probably not." I grin and pick up Chip and head into the kitchen to make some coffee. Its going to be an interesting discussion after all!


Kodi's Mom said...

LOL! so you win this one? :)

sorry, but I have to side with your Rational Half. I respect the psuedo science that is astrology - but I have a problem when you extrapolate every data point in your life to a planet movement. and in no time you're a puppet controlled by strings connected to the dots and planets above.

now if you're telling me you that you like to observe and learn and theorize, but you don't actually follow it - ok, am totally with you :)

DotMom said...

no no no, prolly I wasn't clear. nobody is controlling us (and vice-versa) and we are definately not puppets. It's not causal. It's associative. Or atleast thats my theory :)

Preethi said...

this is a much debated topic isnt it.. is astrology an art or science? I have my reservations about astrology too.. but have lately started to look at it with a different light. Given that there is no scientific proof or research behind the associations.. still it is an extrapolation possibly based on past observation.
On a related note.. have you read Tao of Physics by Fritj of Capra?

DotMom said...

I read it a LONG time ago!!! I loved it. Also feynman's essays. Have you read them..the last chapter (about hypnosis) would be quite relevant here!