|Management of Measurement Constructs
Notebook, August 31, 2004Learning beyond Descriptions
At the end of a very long, detailed book review in one of my favorite magazines, the reviewer shared a thought incisive for us. He had labored throughout the review to bring out the nuance and importance of the book (non astrological) about which he thought very highly, clearly. But he was worried that people might not see the values championed by the author of the book and extolled in the review.
He wrote: “There are sounds here that are above the frequency of the average listener’s ears. The reader only gets out of this what his own ability enables him to recognize.”
Whew! How uncomfortably true so often.
I immediately saw the applicability of this thought to astrology, to how we approach learning.
Over the years, I have read many, many hundreds of astrology books –some very old—and have seen transcripts of horoscope analyses –some by historically celebrated astrologers in the past. To our eyes now, so many of the books are shallow, clumsy … and so are almost all the transcripts. That was the state of the art back then.
We must remember that only now have we completed the first century of what we could call the “Psychological Age”, which began with the serious studies of Anton Mesmer (earlier) and Jean-Martin Charcot, then Freud and William James, Jung Pavlov, Watson, Skinner, Maslow, etc. [Please see the opening Chapter of The Creative Astrologer showing the birth of this Age through the XXth century horoscope: January 1, 1900, 00:00 AM, anywhere.]
As learning spread into allied professions, psychology became softened conceptually into “humanism” and gained application to Astrology. Opening the door strongly was Rudhyar’s The Astrology of Personality --would you believe 1936!—with the subtitle, A Re-formulation of Astrological Concepts and Ideals, in Terms of Contemporary Psychology and Philosophy. East was enriching West here, even though the sounds were hard for us to hear at first.
Perhaps the major shift that occurred in the human sciences that were born just after WWII was that describing behavior, measuring it (the Behaviorists), went into its separate camp from those working to understand motivation of those behaviors (the Psychoanlaysts). While these two camps were separate, they needed each other, and perhaps have come together best as “Social Psychology” [See Aronson’s The Social Animal, an invaluable reference book for the practicing astrologer.]
But with the sophistication of psychologically sensitive astrology now able to accomplish small miracles with helping people [the whole movement of Single-Session Therapy; please see The Creative Astrologer], not everyone knows to listen for the sounds. Astrology supporting abject descriptions still appeals –it requires no interpretive skill, just the rote memory of details; it still intrigues –descriptively capturing the human condition rather than appreciating it; and it fortifies the astrologer in the proof of astrology to others who think description is all there is.
Then, this poor, dull astrology spawns more and more measurement probes to ferret out more and more descriptions, and we end up with an overly decorated Christmas Tree.
Yes, a person who gives compliments and support is higher on the “likeabiliity” scale than one who doesn’t. But what motivates that person? Then, why is that person so often taken advantage of? Why can that person lose him or herself to others? What does that do for the balance of relationships and the model for children that come from the union?
What does that say about the person who can not give compliments? Who never has felt secure enough to trust hearing them her or himself?
…I think that our great sophistication with humanistic astrology [I’m not avoiding the word “psychological”; I’m absorbing it.] carries with it sounds and themes that must be heard or our work will have no sense, no music. It will remain a parlor game.
Astrology is no longer a hobby. It is serious stuff. What a privilege it is to have such an inferential tool revealed to us. Learning to use it requires that we know why we are learning.
We must read. We must study. We must set goals for our learning –e.g., in this month, I will learn as much as I possibly can about parental interactions in the early family and how we can see those dynamics in my astrology, to bring it literally and figuratively to life.
We must approach our body of monumentally every-growing knowledge knowing there are sounds to hear that are easily overlooked. --I don’t want to be an average participant. I want to be “in the know” about a living Astrology.
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Next Update: September 30, 2004