Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Collective Folly and the Mutable Signs

As I write, Col Gaddafi is about to be toppled, amidst jubilation in Libya and pronouncements about the end of a tyrannical dictator from western leaders. But what is usually forgotten in the heat of this (for the West) ideological triumph, is that tyrants are usually there for a reason, the reason often being that a country is so riven by warring tribes that it is ungovernable except by a tyrant. This was the case in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Already, in the case of Libya, there is talk of the power vacuum and the many contending tribes.

History does not seem to teach the West to tread very carefully before supporting, or bringing about, revolutions with which it agrees ideologically. That is the trouble with ideas and ideologies: they often get given more importance than practical outcomes, and can cause more harm than good. (A lot of it because leaders are dishonest about their real motives.) I don’t know if Libyans will be better off or worse off without Gaddafi. At least the country was stable, and without NATO interference, Gaddafi might well have prevailed again.

In its fear of dictatorships, America has developed a political system that is also so riven by warring tribes that recently, at a time of crisis, the country proved nearly ungovernable. The country had been there many times before, but not at a time of such crisis, and not when Uranus and Pluto were so nearly squaring. We become that which we oppose, and in the recent debt ceiling crisis, America was effectively being dictated to by a small number of Republicans.

America’s political polarisation is fascinating from across the pond, because Europe is not so extreme. It seems to be largely the fault of the right-wingers, what used to be called the neo-cons, in the US. We saw it before with Bill Clinton in the 1990s, where the Republicans seemed determined to make it as difficult as possible for him to govern, to the extent of making America a laughing stock in the world. How far are these ideologically driven Republicans prepared to go to get their way? They, more than any straightforward economic factor, may be what brings America down. Bush was one of them, and his Presidency saw a weakening of America economically and militarily. All these Republicans achieved in the recent spat was a downgrading of America’s credit rating.

Uranus-Pluto brings about intense polarisation and crisis, followed by the collapse of old power systems and the birth of new ones. During the ‘Arab Spring’ earlier this year, Mars was in Aquarius, a sign of rebellion and democracy, and activating the bigger, underlying current of Uranus-Pluto. Now Mars is in Cancer, but square the ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, and again we have protests, in India and Israel. And a wave of mindless looting in the UK. And the end of Gaddafi’s regime and intense pressure on the Syrian regime. Again, would the Syrian people be better off with a revolution? One sympathises with the Syrian people, and with the Libyan people, and with the Iraqi people, but do we have the wisdom to know that intervention would be helpful?

I read an article about Folly yesterday, in relation to the Euro crisis. Folly was defined as something collectively decided, whose outcome is known to be at best problematic, but which is pursued anyway. The classic example was the wooden horse of Troy. The Trojans knew not to trust it, they had both oracles and common sense telling them. Yet because they so wanted an end to the war, they so wanted to believe that it really was a peace offering from the Greeks, that they accepted the gift. And that was the end of Troy.

The Euro also has the characteristics of Folly. How can you manage a currency if you do not have a proper say in how the economies to which it belongs are run? And if one of the countries belonging to the Euro gets into trouble, it cannot take the usual fiscal measures to get out of trouble, like printing more money and devaluing its currency. Nor can the European Central Bank continuously organise bail-outs, particularly when the larger countries, like Spain and Italy, start getting into trouble. So neither the ECB nor the individual countries themselves have full control over their economies.

One of the main factors that has led to the trouble in Europe is that some of the weaker economies like Greece, having joined the Euro, suddenly found themselves with much lower interest rates than they were used to and went on a borrowing spree.

So here we have Folly. Europe put itself in a situation whose outcome was very predictable, and which no intelligent individual, acting on their own, would have done. And yet collectively, Europe went and ahead and did it. Europe has paralysed itself in an entirely predictable way: the individual countries cannot act to save themselves, and neither can the collective act to save them.

The same with the US invasion of Iraq. Any intelligent individual could see that without careful post-invasion planning, there would be chaos and slaughter. Yet the collective went ahead anyway and created that chaos and slaughter.

Why do collectives, run by people who on their own are intelligent, do this? It can only be because we get caught up in collective hopes that are stronger than reason. You saw this in the election of Obama. I’m not saying he’s a bad President, but people got so caught up in a collective hope for a better future that rational discussion was often not possible. Fortunately, he hasn’t turned out too bad, but he could easily have been.

Can we see Folly in the charts of either the Euro or the Iraq War? In a way, yes. Astrologically, the cardinal signs are needed to begin something. Under the fixed signs you establish, and under the mutable signs you adapt and, if necessary, allow things to end.

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So generally you do not want begin things under a strong mutable signature, particularly the end of the mutable signs, when you really need to be allowing matters to end. And what do we find? The Iraq War was begun with the Sun at 29 Pisces, and with mutable Angles. And the Euro became legal with the Angles all at 29 degrees of the mutable signs! An unaspected Sun, showing a lack of leadership, didn’t help either. And as for that other Folly, the invasion of Afghanistan, with its entirely predictable long and unwinnable war, one chart I have is for George Bush’s announcement of the invasion, at 5am on 7 Oct 2001 in Washington. What we find are mutable Angles, with mutable Moon, Saturn, Venus and Pluto conjunct the Angles.

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This is classic astrology: you do not begin something under a strong mutable signature, yet Iraq, Afghanistan and the Euro were all begun under such a signature, and they went wrong. But particularly that 29 degrees of the mutable signs: it is remarkable that both Iraq and the Euro should share this. It seems to me particularly wilful to begin something at this sort of time. Astrology is a connected art, it’s not like oh they should have consulted an astrologer: if the astrology is saying don’t do it, then so will common sense be saying don’t do it. So I think the insight that astrology gives us here, particularly with Iraq and the Euro, is the sheer degree to which common sense was ignored in starting these events.

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Afghanistan also, but the mutability is not 29 degrees, and in a way America had to do something in response to 9/11. Iraq and the Euro, however, were not driven by events, they were undertaken entirely voluntarily.

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Anonymous said...

Back when George H.W.Bush Sr. was president, he knew going to war in the Middle East was a mistake. He came right out and said that a war here cannot be won and he was right...memo to son! Jenni-OMG