Saturday, June 9, 2007

In Defense of Astrology

In retrospect, it seems like the powers that have been over-emphasized the preposterousness of astrology--which, of course, makes me want to reconsider. Right up there with alchemy and witchcraft in the popular imagination, astrology appears right next to the comics in our daily newspaper.

But consider this chart.

If babies learn very specific skills and behaviors during narrow periods of time, then it seems quite reasonable to suppose that the time of year during which they were learning those skills and behaviors might be relevant on long term development. If, for example, I learn something like object permanence during the months of summer, I may learn it by play hide-and-seek behind a large oak tree. Alternatively, if I learn object permanence during the winter months, I may learn it by watching a toy drop out of vision down a stairwell and discovering that it remains even when I can't see it. These are two very different settings for learning.

If my parents take me outside when I am 3 months old because the weather is nice, I may observe natural shapes--pin oak leaves, blades of grass, branches of trees. On the other hand, indoor learning may aquaint me with regular shapes--television sets, kitchen tables, tile flooring, etc. I'm an Aquarius, which means I was born between January 2nd and February 19th. My parents took me outside very much to play when I was 3-6 months old. Someone born in October might not be outdoors as much between 3-6 months of age.

Doesn't this make sense? Should we try blending together melted metals to make gold...?


Wishydig said...

But astrologists aren't so ambitious in their claims are they? The differences they push between dates and individuals focus on temperament mood values fortune...and I just don't see that hiding behind an oak tree is going to shape my values differently from hiding behind an oak desk.

Casey said...

Hm. You ever read Frankenstein? Remember when young Victor went to college and somehow fell in with some bass-ackwards professor who was interested in Albertus Magnus and those medieval alchemy types? I guess I was stretching... but somehow it does seem possible to me. Think about seasonal disaffective disorder--doesn't Buffy have that? If it happens to adults, surely it happens to kids? If nothing else, the difference between observing a 10-hour day and a 17-hour day (daylight, I mean)... between the ages of 3-6 months would shape you in some way? Deep-subconsciously?

Wishydig said...

Considering that at those ages kids going down for a nap every few hours and waking up just to eat under a blanket I don't think the sun is making a big difference.


Remember that look I said I typically give you...squinting with a painful smile and a sense of "I see where you're headed with this...but..."?

Casey said...

Okay. Fine. But I'm trying to pull of the mystic-sage ethos here. Did you ever read one of those case studies about "the forbidden experiment," where an unfortunate child was somehow denied humane conditions for development? -- either they lived in the jungle with wolves or they were strapped to a toilet in an abandoned cellar, etc.

Well, what if someone was locked in a dark room with no stimuli other than a twice-a-day feeding session from 3-6 months, and then the rest of their childhood was normal and nurturing. Could there be long term effects?

If so, then I'm going to leave open the possibility that season of birth may have some virtually untestable influence on human development.

I used to dream of a big rolling orange ball, close up--so close that my perspective was not even human; it just kept rolling, rolling. It was two-dimensional. And then, from behind it, came letters and numbers, hurtling at my perspective in no apparent order. This dream recurred from about 1st-5th grade fairly frequently, and it was always quite unsettling.

(All that just to cling to my Oracle-of-Delphi ethos in lieu of successfully defending my astrological hypothesis!)

Tess said...

Casey, I've gone slap-happy with my blogging and posted a comment as if you were Brian. Forgive me, for it is obvious I know not what I do. I guess I'm used to BOTH of you being in the room for philosophical discussions...