Skepticism without magic: An empty prison

For years I have pursued skeptics, offering free readings to anyone who doesn’t believe in astrology. I am fairly certain that most skepticism arises from a disbelief in “sun sign” astrology and horoscopes, yet not one skeptic has ever taken me up on my offer which would demonstrate the difference between newspaper horoscopes and a real astrological consultation. There is no doubt that a certain amount of skepticism is a healthy thing and keeps us from falling into the Neptunian abyss of illusion and fantasy, but what is it that would prevent someone who doesn’t believe in astrology from being willing to explore it a little further?

I do understand that astrology cannot be quantified using a scientific method, but neither can many other phenomena that we take for granted. Weather predictions are less accurate than astrological predictions, but we call meteorology a science. In addition, the relatively new field of quantum physics defies many of the laws of classical physics. You cannot prove that you love someone using science, but you can experience it. In the same way, it’s difficult to prove how a birthchart describes the character of a person you have never met, but this too can be experienced.

I’ve just started reading Richard Tarnas’s book Cosmos and Psyche, and in the very first paragraph he describes the dry desert of a life a closed mind can bring:

Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, Santayana declared, and the metaphor is apt. THe mind that seeks the deepest intellectual fulfillment does not give itself up to every passing idea. Yet what is sometimes forgotten is the larger purpose of such a virtue. For in the end, chastity is something one preserves not for its own sake, which would be barren, but rather so that one may be fully ready for the moment of surrender to the belove,d the suitor whose aim is true. Whether in knowledge or in love, the capacity to recognize and embrace that moment when it finally arrives, perhaps in quite unexpected circumstances, is essential to the virtue. Only with that discernment and inward opening can the full participatory engagement unfold that brings forth new realities and new knowledge. Without this capacity, at once active and receptive, the long discipline would be fruitless. The carefully cultivated skeptical posture would become finally an empty prison, an armored state of unfulfillment, a permanently confining end to itself rather than the rigorous means to a sublime result.

By | 2006-10-03T11:36:00+00:00 October 3rd, 2006|Favorite posts, Science, Sun sign astrology|Comments Off on Skepticism without magic: An empty prison
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