Many people ask this pejorative question of me: “How can you believe in that stuff?” because to them putting “software engineer” and “bunk” together doesn’t make sense. Then almost immediately after comes the cynical attitude that I’m just scraping the bottom of human intellect for a buck. First, anyone who knows anything about astrology as a profession knows very few get rich from this stuff. I would never have gone down this path were it not for the work of Robert Schmidt (http://www.projecthindsight.com) in translating ancient Greek and Latin texts into English. Robert Schmidt’s work in translating the Hellenistic era Greek texts is the reason why I wrote the program Delphic Oracle (seen below)…
Robert Schmidt is a philosopher, mathematician and fluent in about half a dozen languages. He was class valedictorian in 1967 and one of the top students in the state of Illinois. He was given the national science foundation award at age 16 and a full scholarship to MIT (which he turned down). He ended up studying with Jacob Kline, PhD who made significant advances in understanding the writings of Plato.
The Aristotelian model of Efficient Causation
At the basis of this question is an assumption that comes from Aristotle about the four causes (efficient causes, formal causes, final causes and material causes). When the question “Do you believe in astrology?” is asked the assumption everyone makes is “Is astrology an efficient cause?”. To that question I have to say no. To understand why, you have to examine what a cause is and for most of us, the only one we know is efficient causes and very frequently we also make the mistake of thinking there is only “one” cause.
A typical example of an efficient cause would be given in modern physics; cue ball strikes the 8 ball, 8 ball in side pocket. Potential energy changes into kinetic energy. The kinetic energy is seen as the cause for the motion. While correct, this is much too simplistic for reality. There are also material causes that contribute to any number of results such as the vectors of the forces involved, friction, etc…
Aristotelian Material Causes
A material cause is anything that is necessary but not sufficient in itself to bring about a given result. For instance, in order to walk, you have to have legs. To give birth, you have to be female (at least for now). These can also be thought of as contributing causes or perhaps another step removed as “risk factors”. Causes have a chain of connected hierarchy so it is a mistake to think in terms of one cause = one effect. In our pool example, the slope of the table, the mass of the cue ball and angle of the shot would be material causes that all help to generate a final result.
All of these causes might make someone think that it's impossible to determine what results as if the results could be random, but that is a mistake. Sometimes you have an obvious efficient cause that you can trace as the reason for why something happens. You get fired from your job: poor performance; you have an accident while driving because you were texting and driving, etc… But what do you do when you have no obvious causes?
Zermelo-Fraenkel Set Theory
This is where pattern recognition, ZF (Zermelo-Fraenkel) set theory and probability comes in. Astro-logic functions somewhere in between the realm of material causes and risk factors. But to a physicist this is just plain “fuzzy logic”. For instance, what are the causes for someone wanting to become an actress? Well for one, being female, but after that there are an enormous number of variables to be considered. However, it would be incorrect to say that this is just a random choice.
While it would be incorrect to say that Mars as the main time lord for zodiacal releasing of fortune was the cause of an accident or illness, one can also look at it as a non-random, material or contributing cause creating higher probability for such events within that set of significations. For instance, the hour hand touching the 3 on a wall clock means that the probability that everyone will suddenly get up out of bed and take out the garbage at the same time is highly unlikely. What about Friday at 6 pm in the summer time? Will suddenly everyone go home and get in bed? Why not?
These patterns generate behavioral pressures that limit the probability for some things to happen and increase the probability for other significations. In set theory, you would have unions of significations to indicate higher probability, sub sets to indicate those things that can only happen with a given precursor. For instance the set of “giving birth” belongs to the subset “female” as a material cause.
In my work on this subject, the issue of semantic fields is very important. Most astrologers still have fights over which house system “works best”, but it misses the point that the house divisions are only as good as your definitions and semantic fields of the words. To not expect overlap is foolish.
Well, I’ve just given this sneak preview of one of the books that I’ve been working on recorded for posterity on the blockchain. I hope that it forms the basis for a protreptic rather than a dismissive approach to this subject. These matters have been taken up by some of the greatest philosophers of all time. Schmidt just recently came out with a statement that he thinks Eudoxus of Knidus was largely responsible for taking the Babylonian astrological material and creating a cosmology consistent with Greek philosophical principles which has generated lots of controversy in the academic field.
I have a lot more to say on this subject, but at the same time I feel a pull in the direction of the decentralization tech that Satoshi started in 2009. So many things to do, so little time...