Take it or leave it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


This is fascinating. I mentioned earlier an instance of Jung's synchronicity in my own life. That is, I was witness to a meaningful coincidence, or two related events happening simultaneously without any causal connection. I had been watching a baseball game and as a batter hit the ball I said inwardly "he smoked it" only to hear a second later the announcer use the very same descriptive verb. Having heard my father use the term synchronicity to describe such a phenomenon I researched the term and found that it was Carl Jung who coined the word in the early twentieth century and years later elaborated upon the subject in a treatise of the same name. 

Then, whilst taking a shower yesterday, I found myself thinking about a certain girl, and about our astrological chart comparison. And from there to wondering whether horoscope compatibility had ever been formally studied by those less partial than myself. Astrology had been a cherished pursuit of my mother's ever since as a teenager her cousin introduced her to the monthly horoscope. Years later my mother studied under a professional astrologer, supplementing her lessons with books she purchased on her own. By the time she married my father, he was fully convinced of the validity of astrology as a determiner/indicator of personality and its utility in guiding interpersonal relationships. My mother made certain that I too was a convert, and by the age of twenty I knew the placement, both in signs and in houses, of all the planets in my horoscope. 

I have since had an on-again, off-again relationship with the ancient science-slash-pseudoscience. At times I live or die by the compatibility interpretations I still generate between myself and romantic prospects, while at other times I dismiss astrology as a hoax and allow the relationship to take its own course. But I cannot deny that those aspects which astrology maintains are frequently found in the chart comparisons of marriage partners - such as the sun/moon conjunct, the moon/moon conjunct, and the moon/ascendant conjunct - have, whenever present in my own romantic history, exerted a stabilizing and satisfying effect. Aside from testimonies from astrologers and my own personal experience, what, if anything, did the research say?

And so I look it up. What turns up first in my search record is Jung's Synchronicity, in which the author himself conducts the experiment I had in mind. His researches indicate that in the charts of committed couples the aforementioned aspects occur about twice as frequently as in randomly paired strangers. In other words twice as frequently as you would expect if the occurrence were attributable to chance alone. And my being referred to Jung's Synchronicity is in itself another instance of synchronicity, if only tangentially. The sequence of related events is as follows: my uttering the word "smoked it" at the same time as the announcer, which led me to a topic in Jung's book, then my thinking of astrology, which led me to a different and seemingly unrelated topic treated in the same book! Excuse the exclamation, but I don't often get this excited. 

As a result of this curious coincidence I have purchased the book, which I am about halfway through. I also have renewed faith in astrology as a serious science. Where will all this lead me? To a career as an astrologer? Wouldn't that make my mother proud! To a search for a mate whose moon is in Aquarius (my sun) or Cancer (my moon) or Sagittarius (my rising)? Or merely to the assurance that everything in this world is related, the Universe is indeed the body of God, and as Jung says, quoting Paracelsus, "the philosopher does not find anything in heaven and earth which he does not also find in man." In other words, know yourself and you know everything. Which is me quoting Socrates. And also my definition of perfection.

How to know yourself? If you listen to Sai Baba speak, self-knowledge starts where vice leaves off. Listening to this modern philosopher caution against the use of alcohol, tobacco and meat, and repeatedly cut off the interpreter, is a worthy source of ten minutes' amusement. What an adorable little man he is! Sai says alcohol makes you silly and self-forgetful, tobacco robs you of your health and meat increases animal tendencies. 

Fine, but if you take Sai Baba to be God incarnate as his devotees believe, this prohibition seems odd. Here God is, having created these substances as well as the humans who so copiously indulge in them, vehemently urging humans to do the very opposite. Why not just banish whisky and weed from existence or not create them in the first place, or not permit the urge for them to take root in the human breast? But really, since these substances exist, and all that God created is good, what's wrong with getting a little high once in a while? Yes, it builds character and is an exercise in willpower to avoid these treacherous vices, if that's what they are. And refusing to self-medicate leads to perfection of the human being. 

For as one author writes, "No [spiritual aspirant] must have ... one affection or desire that chains him to the world. He must be pure from the love of woman, free from avarice and ambition, free from the dreams even of art, or the hope of earthly fame." For: "if happiness exist, it must be centered in a self to which all passion is unknown."

Okay, maybe I answered my own question. And so much for those chart comparisons. With significant aspects present only 10 percent of the time in compatibility reports, good riddance! But clearly the decision whether or not to partake of life's many sensuous enjoyments depends upon your perspective. Just as you could look at my tendency to spend almost all my time at home alone, divorced from the world and interaction with others, as an instance of living life to the fullest or merely as a form of cowardly escapism. But when you don't drink, smoke or eat meat as Sai advises and everyone else fails to abide, you find reliable company hard to come by. Not that I mind. Of note, the Moon/Mars opposition, which is also frequently found in amorous affiliations, is present in my own horoscope. In other words I turn myself on, which I've known since that time in my parents' friends' Jacuzzi when I was ten years old.

My idea of perfection, in addition to knowing myself, is to stop clearing my throat and compulsively floss my teeth. And I have an idea how to achieve both by doing neither. Although like you with your meat and your martinis, I have no interest in giving up coffee or visiting the dentist. The space between knowing what you should do and actually doing it is as large as the distance between the philosopher's heaven and earth. And it's where all the fun's at too, I suppose.

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