Balloonland

stuff gets examined.

Astrology and Science

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So it has been recently revealed that the “science” of Astrology has been compromised by the fact that the Earth’s view of the stars has been moving. This has caused all sorts of shouts of “Ha!” from the scientifically-minded, and hand-wringing from those inclined to give Astrology some credence.

I’m surprised that it took people this long to make the connection – I’ve been familiar with the concept of our view of the stars moving since the early 80’s when I read a Jack Vance short story about a guy cursed with immortality, who’s kept alive by future humans as an artifact against his wishes – In the past he documents the launching of a satellite, then plots the year and coordinates where it will fall back to earth. In the future, tired of life, he engineers to have himself at the location he plotted, but fails to take into account the change in the movement of astral bodies over time.

I Vote Astrology

I give Astrology some credence, partially because it amuses me, and partially because I see some weird correlations in it. The second could quite possibly be due to the human mind’s tendency to notice and invest in coincidences, and the much-cited research that people will unconsciously edit information they receive that is contrary to deeply-held beliefs and opinions. I have examined the puzzled of astrology and its apparent ability to predict certain elements of people over time. I long ago rejected the concept that it had to do with the position of stars – objects too far away to exert any tangible effect on such miniscule and passing things as humans. I am inclined to believe it’s the influence of more celestially local things – Think the moon’s influence on the Earth’s tides. As essentially chemical/biological robots, humans have lots of ingredients, internal pressures, and fluid levels that could be influenced by numerous factors we’re not even aware of. It seems logical to me that the Earth’s regular progression around the sun, for instance, would variate particular effects of Earth’s local space on fluid blobs living on the Earth.

The stellar-ly derived names of the various Astrological signs make as much sense as many surnames. A long time ago, people identified as Aries tended to be born under a shape of stars that looked like a Ram, just like people with the last name Miller had some ancestors that ran mills. Neither is likely to apply anymore – the stars have moved, and grinding grain is not a parent-to-child occupation in most cases. They’re convenient labels with some history.

I’m Skeptical of Everything, Especially Skepticism

Science is the new superstition. Rather than ascribing fantastic or indescribable things to “stuff we just don’t know,” the common habit among thinking atheists, agnostics, and similar beings anymore is to declare “it’s not real until we can scientifically prove that it is.” This makes a lot of assumptions, prime among them being that we will eventually understand all the factors at play in the universe, and that the basis of our science isn’t as flawed as the completeness of our understanding. It’s good (I guess) that we’re doing it scientifically, as it’s allowed us to develop technologies that hugely enhance our abilities and capacities for creation and sustaining ourselves. And indulging ourselves, and destroying ourselves and everything around us. It also costs – it robs life of its spiritual aspects, and kills the sense of wonder. It also allows every to be broken down to an equation, which leads to things like factory farms and the monetization of everything.

Rituals, even known empty ones, are important to the human psychic well-being. They represent ideas and states of mind, and give us something to participate in or enjoy together. They tell the health of the society they’re found in – North America’s (the Developed World’s?) current fascination with zombies says a lot of interesting things.

Secular Humanism, with Charnel Skulls

I don’t buy the supernatural. There are no ghosts or entities trying to break into our world. If there is an afterlife, it’s beyond our understanding, an effective oblivion to our current limited faculties. Stories supporting the supernatural are the results of misunderstood natural or human-made phenomena, plus the variables of human sanity, exaggeration, and the desire to be recognized.  I do love rituals, symbols, and casual superstition – for instance, I have two Buddhist wrist malas  that were separately worn by my SO during the births of our two children. They’re valuable due to the power I chose to imbue into them. That’s the power and fascination of all rituals and symbols, what they’ve meant to others, and the power those others put in them. If I was to start a cult (something people continuously suggest I’d be very good at; sadly I thus far have lacked the determination to pull it off), It’d be a Humanist thing liberally decorated with Tibetan Buddhist motifs, particularly Charnel figures and skulls – the warning they contain about mortality is awesome.

(If you feel it has what it takes to start a Humanist/Buddhist-Skull Cult with Spiffy, please send him a message through this blog, listing your qualifications for the role.  ”We” are particularly interested in someone with talents for sales/P.R./prognostication. Or anyone who is willing to shout in the streets about the cult’s merits).

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Written by balloonhed

January 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm

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