Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Personal Experience vs The Men in White Coats

Here’s to reclaiming the primacy of personal experience over what we’re told. We have heard that the Earth goes round the Sun, and it would be unreasonable not to believe that. But our experience is of the Sun moving across the sky – ie the Sun going round the Earth. That, in my book, makes it also true. It is not that the Sun SEEMS to go round the earth, but that REALLY it is the other way round. No, we have to believe our senses, or where are we? Both are true, and if anything I think personal experience needs to be given the greater weight.

And it is the same with astrology. Statistical testing has repeatedly shown that astrology does not work, and again it would be unreasonable not to believe that. That debate, in my opinion, is over. But our personal experience is that astrology does work, that it is powerful and descriptive and full of strange and magical coincidences. Both are true, and they are contradictory, and I think it is good to have to live with such contradictions. They push us to ponder the nature of knowledge itself. What is knowledge, can anything really be known in this vast ocean of unknowing in which we exist?

Ignorance is not so much lack of knowledge as thinking you know when you don’t. When you think about how much consciousness – or the brain – structures experience, then what’s REALLY going on becomes all the more mysterious. It’s not surprising that there are contradictions between different ways of knowing.

Our job is not so much to push at the frontiers of knowledge, as it is to deconstruct our natural tendency to think we know more than we do.

Modern means of knowledge have disempowered our sense of knowing based on experience. It is the ‘men in white coats’ who know best, who have ‘proofs’. Psychologically I don’t think it is much different to the medieval priesthood knowing best.

It is interesting that ‘men in white coats’ are the people in authority, the arbiters of what is real, and that the term applies to lab scientists as well as to the people who take you away to a mental hospital. Is there an unconscious connection here, a collective knowledge that rationality pushed to its extreme is a form of madness?


Anonymous said...

While psychology is typically recognized as a science, in reality it is an observational assessment of social-cultural norms. Many psychological deviations of the past have been found to have roots in genetics, physiology, biochemistry, and racial prejudice. Human behavioral experiments-research of the past have met discredit in the last decade, due to flawed assumptions and misinterpretation of subject reactions. [perform an internet search "is psychology a science"]

Astrology has a myriad variables, which does not lend itself to direct analytical interpretation or statistical evaluation. As you noted in a previous post, the newer applications utilizing fractals and quantum mathematics may serve astrology better.

I believe that psychology and astrology are two ends of the same stick. Science and technology haven't developed the proper tools to assess vast data arrays that have qualitative data points containing vast sub-arrays that change over time.

Science is magnificent when used and interpreted correctly. Microbial diseases once were thought to be the result of malicious air, impure and improper thoughts, evil, etc. Along with the geocentric view of the Sun revolving around the Earth, was the flat Earth perception. Science and technology brought us the invisible: Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, the asteroids, and so much more.

P.S. - Glad you are back to your usual had me concerned.

Ermintrude said...

But what would we divine about the true reality if it looked like the earth went round the sun?

Barry Goddard said...

I don't think it would essentially make any difference, at least that aspect of our experience would conform to what we are told. There would probably still remain plenty of 'facts' that we could not verify for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Heliocentric astrology has the Earth orbiting the Sun, but few astrologers practice this method. Most types of astrology utilize the geocentric model, with the Sun orbiting the Earth and how the heavens appear from our place of birth here on the ground. The geocentric natal chart puts the individual at the center of the universe. A comparison of the two yields different planetary placements. An argument can be made for either...both have their truth. Mike