This isn’t an astrological thought (yet) but I’ve always been fascinated by – a) how difficult it is to get people to change their minds; and b) how ideas flit out into the zeitgeist and remain set in concrete for decades, some of them later proving monumentally wrong.
On Larry’s example of kids battered by parents, which everyone said couldn’t happen when Dr Jack Kempe in the 1960s first came up with the notion. Only when someone produced X-rays of broken bones – i.e. hard evidence – did people reluctantly start to accept it was a problem. Same with the recovered memory of abuse debate – it had to wait until the neuroscientists came up with brain scans indicating that dissociated memory was possible did the nay-sayers shut up (mainly). Anecdotal and ‘soft’ science evidence isn’t enough to chisel through most people’s ego-bubble.
Ernest Becker’s ground breaking, Pulitzer-prize-winning The Denial of Death talks about the general ‘ hostility against admitting that man lives by lying to himself about himself and about his world.’ ‘The individual has to protect himself against the world, and he can do this only as any other animal would; by narrowing down the world, shutting off experience, developing an obliviousness to the terrors of the world and to his own anxieties…..’ ‘We don’t want to admit that we are fundamentally dishonest about reality, that we do not really control our own lives.”
So allowing in new information isn’t just about expanding our knowledge database, it involves a scary process of partially dismantling our defences (the ego bubble) in order to grow. That is a very Plutonic process. There’s a useful analogy of crustaceans – mini shrimps and lobsters are hard-shelled which protects them, but it also restricts them. When they want to grow, they need to snuck under a rock and cast off their old shell, at which point they are totally vulnerable, grow their body and then grow a new bigger shell.
Psychological change is much the same. Which you can see writ large in Thomas Kuhn’s cogent thoughts on paradigm shifts in science – it isn’t a simple, linear matter of knowing more and adapting old theories to encompass the new insights/facts, it involves a protracted period of turmoil, uncertainty and angst. The old dinosaurs (authority figures) fight to the death to defend the status quo and can destroy upstart trail-blazers who threaten their reputations.
We all have an internal dinosaur, so the ‘transition to a larger mental space’ in Oliver Sack’s words, only comes about ‘through a very painful, even terrifying process of undermining one’s existing beliefs and theories – painful because our mental lives are sustained, consciously or unconsciously, by theories, sometimes invested with the force of ideology or delusion.’
When people feel threatened by change they can go one of three ways – 1) dig in and refuse to budge, clinging with ferocious desperation onto old ways, since they feel their psychic stability is at risk, often regressing to even more primitive attitudes; 2) collapse into chaos; 3) struggle through the chaos to find a foothold in the new.
Very often, in times of psychological instability, there is extreme splitting into a good and bad, an all or nothing view of the world, which is what is going on at the moment politically and in terms of the religious ferment, which the west thought they’d moved on from.
Whether this can be attributed solely to Pluto in Capricorn, with the additional upset from the square to Uranus, isn’t clear. But it certainly is designed to upend authority structures in government and elsewhere, leading to power struggles between the status quo-ers and those who want political and economic change. With the public flag wavers showing the extreme ends of both. Trump became popular amongst the have-nots since he attacks the corrupt old ways (while being just as deficient himself in different ways), as does Corbyn at the other end of the political spectrum. Brexit was a revolt against the EU bureaucracy and their sclerotic machinations as much as anything.
The EU ‘government’ needs to change, as does the broken US political system. The UK democratic government was sidelined in the referendum because the posh boys in No 10 and 11 got it wrong. Everyone knows what they don’t want, but no one seems to have a clear idea of what will replace the outworn systems. In the midst of a swampy phase of not-the-past but not-yet-the-future, the ordinary people are panicky and insecure, splitting into polarised opposites.
Uranus will wane in influence through 2017 and with it some of the impetus for progressive social reform. To be replaced by Saturn conjunct Pluto in 2019 which tends to be repressive, favouring the power-holders. Then the minor triple conjunction comes into play with Jupiter in Capricorn in 2020 which will bring some uplift but will tend to benefit the moneyed rather than the poor.
Final thought on why astrology is not more widely respected. The major problem is that it (as yet) fits into no existing scientific theory of how the world works. Sacks again: ‘A discovery is premature if its implications cannot be connected by a series of simple logical steps to canonical, or generally accepted knowledge.’ So until science catches up, I’m afraid we’re stuck out in the wilderness. Maybe Pluto in Aquarius will help.