SOME OBJECTIONS
TO "SYNCHRONICITY"

 
   Here I am interested in explaining a principle I see working in Astrology which I think invalidates the argument that "synchronicity" can be used to explain how Astrology works, and which also invalidates many other very common explanations of astrology.

   By "synchronicity" I mean a correlation based on the coincidence in time (and space) of apparently unrelated events or phenomena, such as, in Astrology, celestial/astronomical  (or astrological) events and events happening on earth or in a person's life, be them objective or subjective. This is usually understood as events happening simultaneously, in temporal parallel. A direct concordance and correspondence in time is assumed. It is also assumed that Astrology works based on this type of direct concordances between "earth" and "sky".

   As I mentioned before, I believe this is true of Astrology as an idea, or Astrology in its origins in ancient Babylonia, but the situation of Greek horoscopy, the Astrology we practice today, is very different.

   To understand this I refer to what I call "astrological practice", i.e., what can be observed about the way astrologers proceed or operate, and have been operating since the beginnings of horoscopy over two thousand years ago. This operation is determined by the tools used, and has nothing to do with the "social behavior" of astrologers. We can also call this practice "astrological language" in the linguistic sense.

   What astrologers do, and what I have done for more than 25 years, is no different fundamentally from what has been done for over 2000 years. We are still using the same principles, adapted in different or new ways. This "Astrology" is therefore a historical entity which, despite cultural differences, is very consistent in terms of first principles, and the nature of the tools used is essentially the same, i.e., radical charts, analogies based on geometrical and mathematical proportions, structures of categories and meanings, etc., all this derived from models based on astronomy and the calendar...

   "Synchronicity" implies a synchrony or coincidence in time between two sets of phenomena, like between astrological cycles (the difference between "astrological" and "astronomical" cycles does not matter in this case), and events happening in a person's life. This assumes that Astrology works "in real time", that what we observe in an astrological diagram or calculation is really happening at a given point in time, that the astronomical "event" being measured astrologically refers directly to what is happening in life or in consciousness, etc., i.e., "in real time"

   By "real time" I mean actual physical time, and my objections refer specifically to the assumption that the synchronicity is to be understood between events that coincide in time, time understood physically and objectively. The term "real time" comes from computer technology, and refers to the actual time elapsed or required for the continuation of a physical process (Ed Fallis or anyone else can correct me in this use of the term!).

   I understand that psychologically, in terms of consciousness, "real time" does not exist. We see the past (and probably the future) interacting with the present all the time, as if they co-existed temporally in a platform of consciousness where duration is very elastic.

   There are many sychronistic events involved in the act of reading or interpreting a chart. The astrological consultation or reading is a synchronistic event par excellence. I am not talking about this, but about the nature of the tools used in astrology insofar as it is assumed that the sky-to-earth correspondence is being modelled in real time, while in reality it is not.

   We could hardly compare the mathematical-astrological measurements with the subjective time of consciousness. I consider Astrology as mathematical measurement of this "unreal time" of consciousness, but I cannot say that "time" as measured by astrology and the physical "real" time coincide, because they are happening in different planes.

   For example: progressed secondary Sun conjunct radical Venus, coinciding to a very important love-encounter in the life of a person at 36 years of age. In the physical world, the conjunction with the radical Venus happened 36 days after birth; this is the astrological (not "celestial!) event, and the actual corresponding event in life at 36 years of age is not synchronic with it, there is no coincidence of time between the two, physically speaking.

   We can say that there is a "coincidence of temporal planes", but they are not "synchronic", they are not happening objectively at the same time. Therefore there is no "synchronicity". Astrology almost never operates in real time. Astrology is not synchronic with nature except in exceptional cases such as astrometeorology and some techniques of mundane astrology, if by "Astrology" we understand the Greek horoscopics we all know instead of the idealized Astrology generally assumed, which is immediately contradicted as astrologers begin to work.

   Astrological tools are asynchronous among themselves, and the chart you read is asynchronous with nature by definition, no matter how synchronistic may be the moment of reading. The sky-earth or sky-person correspondence, as used by the historical/sociological entity or corpus called (horoscopic, Greek) Astrology is never synchronistic.
 

The "imprint" metaphor

   Sometimes the metaphorical hypothesis of the "imprint" at birth is used to explain why transits, for example, "work". This imprint is assumed to "stay active" and to last in time through the duration of a person's life, and, in this case, a transit to a chart (the imprint), would be synchronic. The objections to this are obvious:

1- This metaphorical hypothesis applies only to living organic creatures and leaves unexplained the rest of astrological applications (horary, electional, mundane). Astrology makes charts of symbolical and subjective events (a question, a political event, a nation, the signing of a contract, an imaginary being of literary fiction, etc.) for which there is no body in the physical-organic sense, therefore no physical "imprint" is possible. Most of those events, as most of astrology, exist only in the human mind or imagination.

2- A transit "to a person" is very different from "a transit to a diagram". A person and a diagram of the heavens at birth are fundamentally different things. The life of a person happens in real-time, in simultaneity or synchrony with the motions of the heavens and the whole of nature. Birth-chart astrology has no way of measuring a transit happening "to a person". We simply take the chart AS IF it were a person. Charts do not happen in real time. They are fixed in time artificially in a way impossible in nature, and the techniques (progressions, directions, etc.) that model their duration are based on analogies between natural units of time, but they never happen in real time.

   There is "synchrony" at the moment of erecting the chart. But this moment is artificially fixed and from then on everything is a-synchronic with nature. This artificial freezing of time can be said to be "happening in synchronicity" only in a very limited sense., and the synchronicity is tangential. This applies to Horary Astrology as well.

   There is no doubt that the "imprint" (or whatever that is, the "seal") fixed at birth seems to endure in time. But there is nothing that compels the mind to assume that this imprint is organic or biological, and the other branches of astrology deny it. Therefore, when a transit "touches" a point of this very symbolical "imprint" (a metaphor only, metaphor is the only way of connecting the two things possible for us today), the two events (the transit and the moment of the imprint) are not synchronic in the physical or natural sense. There can be no "synchronicity".

   Only the instant for which the chart is made is synchronistic. Everything else is done on it a posteriori and is by necessity asynchronous, like different temporal planes that coincide. Therefore the act of reading or interpretation, mediated by the human subject or psyche, is always synchronistic, but the reason why asynchronous temporal planes (the different tools) are able to model reality is not synchronicity... unless one assumes that "the astrological act" exists only at the moment of the reading, and is dependent of the structuring and semantic powers of the psyche of the astrologer, not on the physical accuracy of the model. This would mean that any chart will do...

   The same objections apply to all those interpretations of astrology that pretend to see "natural causes", direct "influences" in real time between planets or stars and people or things. Astrology is not synchronistic. Astrology is not synchronic with nature.
 

Juan Antonio Revilla
San Josť, 19 de octubre del 2000
 

-- Some questions and objections:

5 Jan 2002 11:47:54 -0600
http://www.largocanyon.org/pi/synchronicity/ray4.htm
I like this approach generally.  Specifically, synchronicity can account well for the act of interpretation, the moment when an astrological "reading" is made, but it cannot explain how the different astrological tools and techniques can map reality, because they are asynchronous among themselves and with external nature.
Juan

6 Jan 2002 04:59:22 -0600
Q. <<If this is, indeed, true, then to say that a progressed chart is asynchronous is very difficult; the idea that the 36th day after birth, to use your example, is a symbol for the 36th year of life, will hold: the two cannot be viewed independently or objectively, because the distinction between the two is relative and entirely malleable.  In short, in Relative Time, they ARE simultaneous.>>
A. We both agree that there is no "real time" in astrology.  But my use of the word "asynchronous" is used explicitly in terms of real time.
One can argue that the "simultaneity" is a result of the process of consciousness, and therefore of the moment of interpretation only, and that the very abstract and exact measurements of astrology have an objective mathematical quality that is independent of this consciousness.
Juan

6 Jan 2002 11:05:00 -0600
Q. <<I would posit that there is nothing that is not synchronous, only our inability to see with a wide enough lens/perspective to actually view the hologram in toto.>>
A. If everything were synchronous then time could not be measured.  So it is a question of clarifying levels or spheres of perception.  Astrological interpretation and the construction of meaning belong to the sphere of consciousness and synchronicity, astrological measurements are by nature objective and are independent of consciousness.
In other words: time, like the whole of nature, is always flowing, and all the different times or moments of time can be imagined as converging in consciousness under certain conditions.  This is far away from the world of objective measurements represented by modern science and to a large extent astrology.
Any astrological chart, for example, is an artificial freezing of the unstoppable flow of things, so as to obtain a picture that cannot possibly exist in nature.  The real flow of things in the organic current of time and of nature is utterly ignored by astrologers, who instead measure everything with respect to a highly abstract and artificial diagram completely asynchronous with nature.
All this is used to measure or to quantify the flow of life or the organic reality in human consciousness.  But the object to which one applies the astrological tools must not be confused with the tools themselves.  The tools by themselves are objective measuring devices that work in different asynchronous time frames that never converge.  The simultaneity exists beyond the sphere in which the tools operate, and is found in the sphere where the resulting measurements are manipulated by human consciousness, who makes the results converge -- or not.
Juan

6 Jan 2002 12:53:37 -0600
Q. <<Time can't be measured.>>
A. Then there would be no way of calculating an ephemeris or making a chart, not even a calendar, let alone a clock.  Please explain...
Q. <<How can you measure something that is not objective, but purely relative?>>
A. How do you calculate an ephemerides then?
Juan

6 Jan 2002 16:04:01 -0600
Q. <<Applying the synchronicity framework to astrology, we could say that my subjective inner state correlates with the objective position of the planets.  Transiting Saturn opposite my Sun does not cause my depression, but the planet's position and my depression both express the same archetypal meaning symbolized in the traditional astrological interpretations.>>
A. The phrase "my Sun" corresponds to something that happened a long time ago at the exact time when I was born, while the position of Saturn is happening right now.  2 different temporal asynchronous planes.  The MEANING of it is in synchronicity with what I feel, the mechanics of it is not.
Juan
 
 


 
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