One of the things that writers of Sci-Fi like the most are the travels through time. There are several plot lines that are very common and I would like to discuss them. Later I will get back to astrology, I promise.
The Paradox history line.
Well, if you can go back in time, the obvious consequence is that you are going to change history. If you are going to change history, is probable that you will also have your history changed. You may even not exist. This is called the “grandfather paradox”. If you go into the past and kill your grandfather you will not exist, so who killed your grandfather ?
You really don´t need to kill you grandpa. An equally oedipal problem, but that more people know, is in the movie “Back to the future”. McFly´s mother gets the hots for him and almost erase him from existence.
Of course there is no sense in paradoxes, they are only useful for drama purposes. Why Mcfly´s brother´s start to slowly fade away ? It “took time” to the changes in time could “catch on”? If you take this more seriously, there is the necessity to have a second dimension of time, so we could measure changes in the first dimension of time…
Ouch, too much. So enough with paradoxes. What can we do to avoid them ? Most sci-fi writer chooses between two options: alternative dimensions and “cosmic censorship”. I will call the two approaches, for dramatic purposes (so it will look more “scientific”)
- The divergent theory to time travel
- The convergent theory to time travel
The Divergent Theory to time travel
We use to call this theory as “Butterfly effect”. Well, we happen to have a movie with that name ? What a coincidence !
The butterfly effect is a name from chaos theory. It simply says that some equations can have very different results, even when the beginning values are very close. It doesn´t really mean that Butterflies are the causes of tsunamis and hurricanes !
In the movie, a boy has some memory “holes” in his life. When he read his diary, for pure magic, he goes back in time, to the moment where the memory holes are. But he soon learns that every little thing that he does, with the best of intentions, creates unexpected ripples of consequences, and it always ends up blowing in his face. So, one time her friend turns into a prostitute, in another attempt a friend dies, in another he goes to jail, etc, etc.
There is also an episode of the Simpsons in which Homer goes back in time and, everything that he does in the past, with the dinosaurs, have a unpredictable effect in the present, like people are sudden giants, or donut´s rain at 3 pm.
Meaning, the past is completely fluid and every little simple decision, “will I go right or left” , like in Dr. Who, can bring two completely different alternative realities.
The convergent theory of time traveling
This is the classic “you can´t change the past” history. You go into the past to avoid the World War II, but it doesn´t matter what you do, it always happens. There is a classical episode of Twilight zone that was like that. With Kennedy if memory doesn´t fail me.
One classic movie with this theme is “Terminator”. It doesn´t matter what the humans do, Judgment day always come. It doesn´t matter what the machines do, the Saviour is always born and raised. And everything they do, only show that the process is unstopable.
So in this theory the universe is completely rigid and the past always comes to this present. Things were written, maktub, you can´t change what has already happened. All roads lead to rome.
So, back to astrology.
Are our models of astrology divergent of convergent ?
Applying this model to astrology we can have two theories of astrology:
I don´t think a divergent theory of astrology is very useful, but it appeals to modern astrologers who think that the only purpose of astrology is “self awareness”.
In a total divergent model, nothing at all can be predicted. But a total divergent model, in the likes of the Butterfly effect, is not true, as life is very predictable, and so are people. If you are a doctor this year, you will not be a beggar in the next, and the president of US in the next one, etc. You will continue to be a doctor.
Bernadette Brady has a reasonably divergent model of astrology in her book, the eagle and the lark. Life is like a “multiple answer” set of questions. To every set of astrological phenomena, you will have a limited, but very large, number of possible significations, like:
- the event will influence the third house
- will have a saturn influence
- may involve your 4th house
that could manifest in almost infinite ways, like:
- you parents (4th) buy you a car (3rd) that is really old (saturn)
- your house (4th) is robbed (saturn) by a neighbor (3rd)
- your brother (3rd) falls in love with the mother of your girlfriend (10th from the 7th = 4th) a very old lady (saturn)
So there is no possible to say, “you will get sick next year”, because the sickness can be “reinterpreted” in any number of ways. For instance, instead of getting sick, you can buy a cat, or your daughter will give you money (2nd from the 6th).
Convergent theories of astrology
In a convergent theory of astrology, things will always walk into their path.
For example, if you say “well, you will be next Einstein”. You could possibly say “if I am going to be Einstein, let me rest while I am young”. But if you don´t study, you won´t be the next Einstein, so what to do?
If you have a convergent theory of the universe, you can believe that the universe will put the person in the right path again. You, as a astrologer created a paradox, like avoiding Kennedy´s death, so we planets have to put things in order. Maybe the person will find a girlfriend which is so geek that, to impress her, he will have to go to Physics college again. Or maybe he will be kidnapped for seven years, and during this time he will have nothing to do but to study physics, but he will gain that Nobel !
Several astrologer believe in a convergent model. Primary direction´s fans, who claim that they can predict thing to the exact day are convergent.
Think yourself as a time traveler going back to 2000. You would probably say to your friends “Well, you know, maybe you shouldn´t set your vacations to new york to september of next year”. But the event would probably happen anyway, unless
Combining the two approaches ?
The problem can be seen in several topics in traditional astrology. Example: the significator of profession should be mercury, venus or mars. But what does this mean? Let´s say that I have mars as the ruler of profession, but my daddy is a lawyer, a mercurial profession, and so he thinks I should be too. Possibilities are:
- I will not be a lawyer, I will have a mars profession, doesn´t matter what my father or I think (very convergent approach)
- I will be a lawyer, a mercurial profession, but I will be a martial lawyer or will work in a martial field, or will have martial hobbies (mildly convergent)
- I will be a lawyer, but a lousy one, because my “talents” are all martial (divergent – the significator is not a predictive factor, but a electional one)
Now try this exercise, thinking with a convergent or divergent model.
1. You see in your transits that mars will pass over your ascendant. Is today a good day to:
- avoid discussions ?
- learn how to sharp knifes?
- buy a gun?
2. I have saturn as my ruler of 10th house, retrograde and in awful state. What is the correct answer?
- I will have a menial or lousy job, so I should cry.
- I will be a beggar, because saturn is a malefic, so I should sit down and cry
- I will work with ancient things, or with old people. It is better to learn to listen to long stories.
- I can work with works of any type, but I will be atracted to jobs with saturn involved.
- I can work with works of any type, but I will succeed only in jobs that are analogical to saturn retrograde
- I can work with works of any type, but I will succeed only in jobs that are the very unlike the analogies of Saturn.
I like this interview with Christopher Warnock about the “F word”*. You can hear or download the podcast.
*”F word” = “Free Will”