Most of my readers are already convinced that astrology is valid, and they don’t mind that science generally sees astrology as nothing more than wild superstition. Yet, even astrology’s most ardent advocates rarely, if ever, take the time to consider how deeply it would impact our understanding of the universe if science ever did conclude that astrology had a legitimate basis. So, this article will fill that void, by exploring the revolutionary ways that human knowledge would be impacted if astrology ever were scientifically validated.
Although I am obviously an astrologer, I will write this article so that even those who are skeptical about astrology can agree with me on what the implications would be, if astrology did in fact prove to be legitimate. That is, even if you believe that astrology is total nonsense, you should be able to follow my line of reasoning in this article and concur with me about how our understanding of the universe would change if astrology were ever found to be driven by some kind of natural phenomenon.
There is so much to cover in this article that I will break it into two different posts, but I will also write the second post in the same skeptic-friendly way (and because this article really ought to be more of an academic paper, I will also provide several auxiliary notes for the skeptics’ benefit, which the non-skeptical reader should feel free to skip).
Some readers may worry that I am envisioning that the entire historical enterprise of astrology would be vindicated by some future scientific validation of astrology. This would indeed be an extravagant proposal, so let me clear that concern right now. When I refer to a potential future scenario in which science validates astrology, I do not envision every past prediction made in the name of astrology as being confirmed or justified by that validation. But I do see that astrology would still have much to offer our understanding of the universe if even one facet of astrology functioned well enough to provide reliable predictions. That is, if any predictive aspect of astrology were ever proven valid (for example, if astrology could at least just predict the sex of a baby significantly better than 50% of the time), this would amount to mind-blowing new scientific knowledge that would immensely alter our view of the natural world forever.
That distinction is extremely important to our contemplation of astrology’s legitimacy, although it is almost entirely overlooked, so please take a moment to fully absorb this pivotal truth:
Astrology, as it is currently practiced (and as it ever has been practiced, for that matter) could be almost entirely useless and misguided in its predictions, yet even so, it would still revolutionize our understanding of ourselves and the universe if just one small aspect of astrology’s predictions turned out to be rooted in the natural world somehow. In other words, it would still turn science completely on its head if 99.9999999% of all astrological predictions were hopelessly wrong, but one tiny facet of astrology could still provide reliable predictions about a single feature of human life (such as the sex of a baby). This is simply because, under the current scientific worldview, any astrological correlation between the planets and the development of individual human lives should be impossible.
(Note: the reliability of the predictions of a tiny facet of astrology will revolutionize human understanding, so long as there is not some other possible explanation for those predictions’ reliability, like, for example, where people might be more social on the full moon simply because there is more light on such nights.)
Think of the point this way: you will still be liberated from your prison cell, even if you have mistakenly assumed that 10 billion useless keys in your possession could unlock your cell, so long as you locate one key that actually does open your cell. I will not try to apologize for whatever useless keys that astrology (or rather, the astrological community) has erroneously offered the world to date, and I won’t try to distinguish between the useless and useful keys here either. I merely want to highlight the new paradigm that would burst through the door of knowledge, if astrology is found to have even one useful key to that door.
In this first installment of this article, I want to briefly explore what kind of natural phenomenon it would be that could connect human behavior to the movement of the planets, and I want to spotlight three major conclusions that we could draw if astrology ever were proven valid. In the next installment of this article (my next post), I will look at another major conclusion that we could draw in the wake of astrology’s validation. So, in the two posts combined, I will be highlighting four major conclusions that could revolutionize human knowledge, all of which would emerge automatically if astrology can be validated.
(Note: if you are already convinced that astrology is legitimate, then you might prefer to take the conclusions I spotlight in this article, not as conditional revelations awaiting astrology’s validation, but rather as fully established truths. I leave this to the reader’s discretion)
What Kind of Phenomenon Could Drive Astrology?
Let’s consider what kind of natural phenomenon could connect human behavior to the movement of the planets through the zodiac. First of all, such a phenomenon would have to be driven by an as-yet-unknown force of nature. Despite the incomprehensible complexity of the natural world, science presently knows of only four natural forces: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force. We would need another force to explain astrology’s effectiveness because none of the four known forces seem capable of driving astrology. None would have any hope of helping us explain why, for example, people are more likely to relocate their home when Jupiter conjuncts their natal moon. A decision to change your residence should not be precipitated by the effects of any gravity, electromagnetism, or nuclear forces related to Jupiter’s return to, say, 7° of Aries, 13° of Leo, or 28° of Pisces (or wherever your natal moon happens to be in your chart). Those forces simply don’t work that way, as any scientist will tell you (hence scientists ‘ deep skepticism of astrology).
The gravity and electromagnetism of the planets are too weak to affect us in the ways that astrology involves (and, anyway, there are much stronger gravitational and electromagnetic forces at work on us at every moment right here on the Earth itself, so these nearer forces would have a much greater effect on our lives than the gravity and electromagnetism of the other planets would). Meanwhile, the nuclear forces are very strong, but very localized around the nuclei of individual atoms, meaning that they similarly should not have any noticeable effect on human lives from far-off planets. So, it appears that we would need at least one entirely new force to explain any relationship between your decision to move and Jupiter’s position relative to the constellations of stars behind it.
(Note: alternatively, it is also possible that the gravity and/or electromagnetism of the planets affects the Earth as a whole in a way that is subsequently radiated out to the Earth’s surface in accordance with the math/geometry of astrology. In that case, astrology would not be explained by a fifth force of nature, but by an entirely unknown aspect of the force of gravity or electromagnetism. However, I can’t address this possibility in this article, and anyway, it would still revolutionize human knowledge in roughly the same ways I outline below, even if we discovered that this was how astrology worked. Any new such aspect of gravity or electromagnetism would be like a new fifth force of nature, even though it would not be labeled as such.)
It doesn’t matter what we might call that new fifth force of nature, but I will call it the “astro-psychic” force in this article. The astro-psychic force is whatever it is that could exert an influence on human consciousness in a way that correlated systematically to the movement of the planets through the constellations.
(Note for skeptics’ sake: to be clear, the constellations are composed of stars that aren’t necessarily even gravitationally grouped together, or “near” each other, in space. In addition, the stars of each constellation are not uniformly spaced across that constellation, and yet the constellations are all uniformly divided into nakshatras, or lunar constellations, from their first to their last degree, which is the basis for the planetary dasha system. So, for this and other reasons, the constellations function in astrology like they are smoothly uniform, even though the stars associated with the constellations are anything but uniformly distributed. I think this implies that the driving force behind astrology would not emanate from the stars themselves, but rather would operate via another mechanism altogether. The astro-psychic force thus might just emanate from the 30° arcs of space that we have labeled as the constellations, or this force is perhaps just anchored to the Earth through those same 30° angles to the Earth’s surface itself. Regardless, the points I make in this article are in no way impacted by the answer to that question. Nor does it matter much in practice if astrologers speak as if the stars themselves were causal, just as it matters little when evolutionary biologists speak of a species’ genetic adaptations as being “designed” for a certain function, when in fact the Theory of Evolution does not envision genetic adaptations as resulting from any kind of design. Sometimes it’s just easier to frame complex processes in simpler, more comprehensible terms.)
A New Kind of Law
Not only would astrology’s validation reveal a hidden astro-psychic force residing in nature, it would necessarily also reveal that there was a new natural law (or laws) that would govern the astro-psychic force(s). Such a law would determine how an astro-psychic force could shape your individual decisions and your physical, physiological and psychological condition according to planetary movements in the heavens. That is, this would have to be a new kind of natural law that described the systematic relationship between, on the one hand, the planets of this solar system, and on the other hand, the conditions of the lives of individual people. There is currently no law of physics on the books (or any known natural phenomenon), for example, that could explain why people are more afraid, dissatisfied, lonely and introspective when Ketu conjuncts their moon or why women are more likely to get ovarian cysts when Saturn aspects their Venus. For such explanations, we would need a brand new kind of natural law (and we’d still need an explanatory law even if astrology functioned through gravity or electromagnetism).
Let’s call any such law a “super psychophysical” law, just to denote that such a law would have to connect human consciousness to physical matter (e.g. the planets, our bodies) in a way that was beyond the present scientific conception of the physical universe. This new kind of law would not necessarily describe a cause-and-effect relationship between the movement of the heavens and the movement of human life; it would only need to explain why there was an unexpected correlation between those movements.
Proving astrology’s legitimacy wouldn’t hinge upon our reaching a clear understanding of such a law, either. Rather, astrology would be legitimized merely by demonstrating a single way in which astrology provided repeatable predictions that outperformed statistical expectations (i.e. if astrology can merely “beat the odds” with at least one kind of prediction), as I said above. If any single facet of astrology can make predictions that are even somewhat more accurate than a monkey (or control group) would make, then astrology would have proven the existence of a super psychophysical law. Just knowing that such a law existed would instantly and completely revolutionize our understanding of life, consciousness and the universe, even if it took centuries to understand how the law operated. In the next section, I’ll outline the main reasons why such a revolution would be unavoidable in the wake of astrology’s validation.
Why Astrology Offers the Biggest Renaissance Yet
I can think of at least four big reasons why a huge revolution in understanding would be unavoidable if astrology were ever validated scientifically (if it were ever publicly acknowledged to beat the odds in at least one small way). In this first installment of this article I will address three of those four reasons, and in the next installment I will address the remaining reason.
The first reason is that any natural law that could explain astrology would have to operate through a force of nature that we haven’t yet discovered, as I explained above. Discovering any new 5th force would open an incredibly vast new frontier for science to explore, regardless of what the force did or how it operated (and even if the astro-psychic force turned out to be gravity or electromagnetism, this would still revolutionize science).
Imagine what the scientific community would do if it found out that, for some reason, certain aspects of human lives followed a course that was charted in the heavens. Science would immediately try to determine if the stars and planets themselves exerted an influence on people’s lives or if there were some intermediary force involved. The great mysteries of “dark matter” and “dark energy” in astrophysics might be solved or clarified by our discovery of a fifth force of nature, and enigmas like the “double slit experiment” and “quantum entanglement” in quantum physics might also be partly explained. In any case, physics, chemistry, biology and even psychology would have to be significantly revised if even a little part of astrology were ever proven valid.
Even more thrilling is the realization that the validation of astrology would suggest that there are unknown dimensions of the universe that are connected to our three-dimensional world by super psychophysical law. Whether the Astro-psychic force turned out to be a new fifth force of nature, or were rather just an expression of gravity or electromagnetism, the discovery of this force would reveal that human existence likely involves at least one dimension that has not yet been acknowledged. I will address this idea a bit more in the next section, in the discussion about dualism.
The second reason is even more exciting than the first, because of what astrology would reveal about consciousness itself. Scientists are still unclear about how consciousness is constituted, but the debate about what consciousness is can be divided into two camps:
1) physicalists, who believe that consciousness exists only as a property of brain activity (the brain being just a physical thing). Being the result of brain activity, consciousness has no real existence of its own (i.e. consciousness falsely appears to be something other than brain activity because complex beings like us experience a mind and an “inner world” that feels to us like it must be more than just a brain). Most (but certainly not all) scientists, scholars and intellectuals are physicalists.
2) dualists, who believe that consciousness does not owe its existence to brain activity, but is nevertheless intimately connected with brain activity. Brain activity might describe the characteristics of one’s conscious state at a given moment, but brain activity does not generate the mind, or the “unified conscious field” that experiences itself as being in that state (when you hear the sound of a trumpet, there is the sound itself that you experience, but you also experience yourself as the one who is hearing a trumpet—the brain might be responsible for the first experience, but not for the second experience). The idea that the brain and consciousness are two different things is called mind-body dualism (“dualism” for short). If you believe in an eternal soul, past lives, out of body experiences, or even psychic phenomena, then you are almost certainly a dualist.
While dualism has never been disproven, most scientists currently believe that there is ample reason to reject it as mere superstition. Dualism has received much criticism thanks to the brilliant philosopher, Immanuel Kant, and to Occam’s Razor, both of which admonish us against trying to solve scientific mysteries by proposing hidden undiscovered things (like speculating the your house’s creaking sounds are caused by ghosts). However, Occam’s razor is only an advisement (as was Kant’s advice) and in fact would have prevented us from ever understanding electromagnetism if it had not been temporarily ignored. In the 19th Century, James Maxwell proposed revolutionary new laws of physics to explain magnetism, not so unlike the way scientists are now proposing “dark matter” and “dark energy” to explain the universe’s unexpected lack of deceleration. In other words, it is permissible to ignore Occam’s Razor in extreme cases where the current paradigm of knowledge seems fundamentally incapable of solving a given scientific mystery.
The validation of astrology would be precisely such a case. Just knowing that a tiny facet of astrology was reliable would reveal that our current scientific paradigm was incapable of solving a huge mystery. This would allow us to infer that a hitherto unknown astro-psychic force existed.
Here’s where it gets really interesting. Knowing that an astro-psychic force (and super psychophysical law) operated in our universe, however mysteriously, would reveal that science obviously had not yet accounted for an existing causal force that influences our conscious experience and the unfoldment of human life (probably even animal life, too). This, in turn, would suggest that human consciousness is not just a byproduct of brain activity (as most scientists currently believe), but is rather a deeper ontological feature of the natural world itself (“ontological feature” means “something that actually has existence, rather than just being illusionary, subjective, or conceptual.” Electromagnetic fields, for instance, are an ontological feature of the universe, despite their relative obscurity, whereas the number ‘3’ appears to be merely conceptual, and thus not an ontological feature of the cosmos). That’s because, as I’ll explain briefly below, an astro-psychic force would not even exist in nature if consciousness were just a physical property of brain activity.
Many readers will already have the intuition that the mere existence of an astro-psychic force would imply that consciousness is more than just brain activity, but I will offer an explanation here anyway, for the benefit of those who don’t have that intuition (if you don’t feel you need an explanation, feel free to skip ahead to the paragraph that begins with, “Discovering that a super psychophysical law existed…”):
The two camps mentioned above, physicalists and dualists, provide the two possible explanations for what consciousness is (panpsychism is a third possible explanation, but it is as revolutionary an idea as everything I’m pointing to in this article, and where it is used to avoid dualism it seems to be incompatible with astrology, so I won’t address it here). Physicalists believe that consciousness is nothing more than the activity of the brain, while dualists believe that consciousness is something more than brain activity and more than the brain itself. (Dualists are further divided into the two camps of “property dualism” and “substance dualism,” but for simplicity sake I will gloss over the difference here and treat all dualism as substance dualism in this article. For more information about panpsychism’s role in the contemporary debate over mind-brain dualism, google: “David Chalmers panpsychism”.)
So, if consciousness is either brain activity or a mental substance beyond the brain, then accordingly, there are two possible ways that the Astro-psychic force could work on consciousness: either the Astro-psychic force is working directly on the brain or it is working directly on a mental substance that is not a brain or brain activity. In either case, discovering an Astro-psychic force would revolutionize our understanding of consciousness, but if the mechanics of the Astro-psychic force revealed that consciousness was a dualistic mental substance, this would revolutionize our knowledge in far more exciting ways.
Remarkably, it appears that if astrology is legitimate, then consciousness must be a dualistic mental substance. In order to understand why astrology implies that consciousness must be a dualistic mental substance, we first need to consider the basics of how personal astrology works. Personal astrology works by first generating an astrological chart for a human birth, and then using that chart to make predictions about the personality of the person born, or about what will happen to that person at a given point in the future. The chart itself is essentially just a snapshot of the planets at the time of birth, from the perspective of the birth location on the Earth.
The chart has everything to say about who the person is and what will happen to the person through the course of their life, including the kinds of decisions they will make, the kinds of friends and lovers they will choose, the kinds of jobs they will secure and the money they will make, etc. This means that the snapshot of the solar system is integral to the way the Astro-psychic force operates on the person.
Now, if consciousness is nothing more than brain activity, then the Astro-psychic force would work on our decisions, disposition, etc. by exerting an influence directly on the brain itself. Neuroscientists already know that our brain function is largely compartmentalized according to the different kinds of mental states we have. Our choice of words is directed in one part of the brain, while our response to visual stimuli is in another, and our reflexive fears are in yet another. This means that the Astro-psychic force would have to operate discretely on specific regions of the brain (at least some of the time) in order to generate the effects that would correspond to astrological predictions about human behavior. This, in turn, would imply that the Astro-psychic force can affect some regions of the brain while simultaneously not affecting others.
There are two serious problems with this model. The first is that the difference between two astrological charts can be so great as to make it very unlikely that an Astro-psychic force could work directly on human brains. The planetary movements that are presently affecting a given person in a certain way are simultaneously affecting everyone else on the Earth in other ways (e.g. when Jupiter is on your moon it might be on my Mercury and on your neighbor’s Venus). If the Astro-psychic force worked on the brain, we would have to see a structural difference between human brains that could allow for such a wide range of astrological influences from a single planetary movement at a given time. But the overall structure of human brains is too similar from one person to the next to allow for this wide range of influences. This strongly suggests that if astrology were validated it would mean that consciousness is not brain activity.
The second serious problem with the idea that consciousness is brain activity is that the material of the brain, namely neural networks, is not the kind of thing that could be affected in one area by an Astro-psychic force and yet not be affected by that same force at the same time in all other areas of the brain. Brain cells are not so different from one another that a force delivered according to the movements of planets could target specific areas of your brain. If the force directly affected your brain anywhere at all, then it would affect virtually your entire brain in the same way. So, it does not appear that the Astro-psychic force could operate on consciousness if consciousness were merely brain activity.
The only remaining option, therefore, would be that the Astro-psychic force would operate on consciousness as a dualistic mental substance. For the purpose of this article, it will have to suffice to arrive at that conclusion by the above process of elimination, but in in the next installment of this article I hope also to provide some positive arguments for why the effectiveness of astrology would imply that consciousness was a dualistic mental substance.
(Note: admittedly, I’ve just given a nod to substance dualism, which has been all but laughed out of the scientific community since Descartes’s notorious attempt to defend it, but this is precisely the community that we should expect to be shocked by astrology’s validation).
Discovering that astrology was at least partly valid, therefore, would reveal that our consciousness was a non-physical substance, which in turn would mean that consciousness was not constrained from connecting with the hitherto unrecognized dimension(s) I mentioned at the end of “Reason #1” above. In fact, if we knew of at least one super psycho-physical law connecting the physical world and consciousness, then that would open the possibility that our consciousness itself doesn’t even exist in the 3-dimensional world. This would instantly provide a reason for scientists to stop dismissing the possibility of such things as life after death, psychic phenomena, out of body experiences, etc.
Think of the explosion that would occur in the public mind, not just from advances in the new frontiers of scientific research that would follow, but also from our sudden collective awareness that each person’s consciousness had some innate natural ability to directly contact, probe, and perhaps even traverse those vast frontiers! That awareness alone would be revolutionary beyond any Renaissance in human consciousness the world has ever seen. If everyone believed that psychic phenomena were a possibility, for instance, think of how much effort and energy would be devoted to exploring and developing those potential capacities. And, given the voracious pursuit of scientific discovery that would sweep the world, the amount of new knowledge would explode exponentially.
The third reason is closely related to the second, and it has to do with how astrology would affect our understanding of the Theory of Evolution. If we consider the current scientific consensus that consciousness must be the result of natural selection and evolutionary pressures for survival, then the validation of astrology would revolutionize the scientific conception of evolution as well. This is because the validation of astrology would immediately reveal that there had been a broad influence on the life-choices of prehistoric evolving humans that had nothing to do with “survival of the fittest” in that prehistoric environment. Yet, in the current model of evolution, natural selection favors only those who make choices in strict accordance with the pressures from their environment. Therefore, as the Theory of Evolution stands now, there is no conceivable reason why human consciousness would have evolved to function behaviorally in accordance with the movements of the heavens.
Two million years ago, how would relocating your home when Jupiter conjuncted your 4th house lord, or secluding when Ketu conjuncted your moon, help you survive against, or adapt to, evolutionary pressures in your environment? Would behaving in such ways—when the planets dictated, despite what the environment dictated—have saved early man from predatory animals, or helped him hunt and gather better, or enabled the first agrarians to farm better? Since we are talking about a species-wide condition, the answer from every sensible evolutionary biologist would have to be, “no.” Any pressure to behave in an extreme way (like suddenly secluding or relocating your home) that did not reflect an effective response to the physical environment itself would ultimately have worked counter to the survival of the human race, under the current model of evolution. So, if science does come to accept an astro-psychic law underpinning astrology, then the Theory of Evolution will need to be tweaked or overhauled accordingly. This would be another huge revolution in thought, on top of the way astrology might revolutionize our understanding of consciousness.
Okay, So How Would We Prove Astrology’s Validity?
The obvious question this article leaves us asking is, “How can we prove that astrology is valid?” Well, it is much more feasible in theory to validate astrology than most people imagine, but it would still be a big task. Essentially, we would need to conduct large studies of thousands of charts and examine those charts only with respect to a certain prediction criterion or two (say, only with respect to using astrology to guess the sex of the person who each chart belonged to). That is, we would need to pick the part of astrology for which we are most confident of our predictions, and then simply use that predictive part of astrology on the thousands of charts we compiled for the study. We would also need to enlist reliable statisticians to calculate precisely what the expected predictive success rate would be for randomly generated predictions about the same thing (e.g. about the sex of the person), and those predictions would serve as our study’s control group. Finally, we would compare the success rate of the astrological predictions to the success rate of the control group. If the astrological predictions were even somewhat more successful than the control group’s (it would be up to the statisticians to determine what constituted a statistically significant success rate), then voilà, we would have proven the validity of astrology!
Such a study would require numerous charts, which I believe is the biggest constraint, but it is certainly doable in principle. Statisticians would have no problem with their part, and running the astrological predictions would be a cinch, once we had the charts. It would be important to conduct the study in a way that could be easily replicated by anyone else who had the inclination and the resources to repeat the study on their own, because if the first study were successful, then it is certain that other research institutions would want to repeat the study themselves. The more times the study was repeated successfully, the more certain we would be that astrology was valid. At a certain point, and the studies would have been successfully repeated that no serious scientist would consider doubting the results. At that point, astrology would be considered to have been proven valid by the scientific community as a whole, and all the implications of the validity of astrology I mentioned above would quickly become part of the general public’s way of thinking.
To my mind, we are not so far from that day!
It’s only a matter of time before an open-minded institution with the necessary direction and resources takes up the challenge.
Let’s pray that we get there soon, and in the meantime, may you enjoy the anticipation of the coming Renaissance…!
(Stay tuned for the second installment of this article)
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