Anticipation of the future has always been, and will always be a powerful motivating force. It is a driving force throughout all levels of existence. Presently the rules surrounding anticipation, and how it is perceived by society is in the process of changing.
Recently a lawsuit was filed by survivors of the September 11, 2001 attacks on America against airlines and airplane builders because they both should have anticipated that the flimsy cockpit doors would likely be breached leading to airliners being used as possible weapons of mass destruction. The right to execute such suits was ratified by a member of the judiciary. Even though lawsuits defining responsibility for past wrongs have been in the courts for many years (e.g. tobacco companies being sued by various states), this precedent, in effect legally validates the human ability to study conditions and predict possible outcomes, and to assume legal responsibility for those outcomes.
This raises the issues surrounding ethics of prediction (or forecasting). Humans have been long enamored with the nature of time and spend a great deal of energy identifying methods and techniques of anticipating specifics of a projected future moment. In all levels of society they do so as a matter of course in each discipline.
Agricultural historians and farming experts are consulted about future planting cycles. Economists and financial specialists are paid good salaries to successfully pick market trends and specific investments that earn better than the average. Mathematicians and physicists study the predictability of complex systems and measure the far-reaching effects of initial conditions associated with quantum mechanics and chaos theory. Meteorologists’ and weather forecasters’ techniques reveal the potential course and severity of storms. Technologists study state of the art products and developmental needs to predetermine how and when and what to invest in time and resources. Ecologists project potential effects of natural cycles and long-range societal development and practices on natural resources. Sociologists study trends of behavior and possibilities of cultural deterrents and remedial techniques. The list goes on…
All of these are based on a mixture of observed past cycles and the specialists’ assumptions about those cycles and potential repeatability. The medical profession presents an example of the consequences of this type of legal responsibility. Do all of these experts now become legally liable for their opinions?
Humans are not the only ones who place great value on the anticipation of the future, although they do contribute (some say manipulate) to many of nature’s processes, especially if their needs also are filled through those efforts. At a less than conscious level, all nature is constantly engaged with preparing for the future. Animals grow heavier insulating coats in preparation for winter cycles. Hibernating mammals eat prodigiously in the summer and fall and search for safe locations to winter over. Salmon risk individual peril while surmounting great odds to perpetuate their species. In Bridgewater, MA a homeowner noticed that one of the area squirrels hid nuts from that area in higher than normal locations (instead of the normal height of a foot, nuts were stashed at a height of 5 feet). That winter the area received a week of storms that left 42 inches of snow on the ground, which still allowed the squirrel easy access to its winter stash. (Birds & Blooms, October/November 2003 page 32.)
Plants respond to signals that humans may not be consciously aware of, which makes us wonder about the mechanics of time. Many conifers produce larger numbers of seeds before heavy winters. Humans have learned to use stimulation techniques to enhance a harvest. For instance, in the California interior where almonds are grown, almond tree trunks are annually flayed with chains, which stimulate them to produce larger numbers of fruit.
Natural anticipation is necessary for survival.All baby animals learn such techniques, some by observation, and some by trial and error. Baby deer can be observed following their mothers to forage for food through a repeated daily path, learning to jump fences and to avoid guard dogs. During World War I, ravens and crows, feasting on the bodies of the dead learned to stay just out of range of the angry soldiers’ gunfire. Science News (9/6/2003 pg 164) recounts a study that reveals that 4 to 6 month old human babies can easily learn to anticipate the eventual path of a ball being rolled behind a screen. And many of you have observed how budding baseball players learn to anticipate the correct time and place to position their mitts in time to catch a ball in the outfield.
However, humans alone consciously compile and communicate information dealing with probable futures. In fact, Information Technology (IT) has become an industry of its own. If we really think about it, Information Technologies main purpose is the help it provides for anticipating the future.
Because of the primarily western cultural and religious prohibitions against astrology, most of its work is done behind closed doors, beingespousedonlybythediscerningbraveinsociety,andofcourse, by astrologers.
In February 1997, I authored a paper (OnTime and Space) originally published in “Continuum”, published by the Jim Lewis Slayden Foundation that explored the nature of space and time and its elastic qualities, and consciousness, the defining character of human ability to perceive them, to overstand and understand them, and to apply their meanings to our futures. Here is an excerpt from that paper:
“… We calculate linear time in duration, and geometric space inparcels. Our measured space takes on 3 dimensions: height, width and depth. Our linear perception of time has 3 parts: past, present and future – but only one dimension: now, and only one direction: forward. When I look out across the lake, space and time merge together, and I can see where the truck probably was, where it is as a particle in the now, and where it will be in its probable future.
Philosophers of the past proposed that time is a Whole, and that in our physical bodies, we are limited to being a particle – only able to experience one compartmentalized piece of space and time which we call “here and now” only able to move in one temporal direction. Through our non-physical components, we can move out of linear time. We can re-member the past, and dream of the future. We can be as waves, perceiving patterns and cycles that don’t exactly repeat, but dance familiar dances that fill us with experiences that help us to prepare for our next set of choices.
Each one of us points of consciousness in a body is a bi-polar instrument that enables us to process space/time. Our input and output devices, our senses, are polarized to collect memory (yin), and to spit out information (yang) once we process it.The processor, then, is the membrane between — the mind/spirit/ soul/psyche – that elusive combination of our non-physical consciousness. In astrology, we equate the process to fixed and cardinal and the mutable membrane between.
We use those senses on many different levels of space/time, in fractal dimensions of condensed and expanded self-similar patterns, unique to each individual. In astrology we call them techniques of derivative perspectives, such as harmonics and progressions. We fine- tune our senses to the potential qualities of time/ space that creates a spectrum of meaning to our interpretations (end of excerpt).
Astrology is the most unique of all the worldviews. As a tool, it allows us to see time in a larger context than just the particle of a moment, and to unite waves of time to the whole of our Earth. We can lift ourselves above linear time and compartmentalized space, and embrace a wholeness that frees us from fatalistic control, and allows us to be more conscious of our potential of choice. We can use astrology as a tool in our comprehension of the properties of chaos…”
Astrology can be used to enhance the usefulness of all other disciplines. Why do some astrologers apologize for developing and using techniques of anticipation through prediction and forecasting? All of nature is motivated by competition to succeed, and those who do the best job of anticipation reap the greatest rewards: survival, and a life of quality. The techniques and the concepts they use are not inherently bad, but their ethical uses are important to review, investigate and espouse. As with all human endeavors, conscious responsibility needs to be the defining factor.