I introduce part five of the Astrology Challenge – my attempt to see if any astrologer can explain how the ancients worked out all those detailed rules astrologers use. Today I’m just listing the recommended reading the various astrologers gave me.
Just to be clear, I’m not rushing to read any of these selections; in fact, I may not read any of them. Some might find this a little closed minded. It’s not, though: if I really thought one of these books even partially answered my question, I would buy it straight away. But I know they don’t, because the astrologers recommending them specifically said that the books explain the different way I have to look at things, why science doesn’t know everything, etc. I’m showing this list for the sake of completeness. And if anyone has read any of these books and wants to comment, please do so.
Here’s the list:
Francesca Rochberg’s The Heavenly Writing, “details the way astrology developed in Babylonia from astral omens to horoscopic astrology, and the dovetailing of divinatory practices to what might be called Babylonian science”. Might be interesting as background, but honestly I’m not that interested to lay out $70. I would borrow a copy to read it, though.
John Anthony West’s The Case For Astrology “which also discusses the origins of astrology” - might be almost worth the $8 to find out what he thinks. Almost.
On a more surreal level we have:
Fritjof Capra The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems, is “about the ever expanding concept of ‘approximate knowledge.’ These are the kinds of paradigms in which astrology functions.”
Arthur Koestler, The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe (Although an Amazon reviewer writes: “We may see it as the history of the replacement of religious-based dogmatism by what physicists today call the Galilean approach: the discovery and consequent mathematical description of nature thoroughly repeated, identical experiments or observations” - which sounds to me more like a refutation of astrology.)
Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity “The development of this kind of thinking in ecology and networks”.
Ralph Abraham, Chaos, Gaia, Eros “An amazing professor of physics who happily goes beyond the known limits of the mechanist-materialist universe.”
Ilya Prigogine, The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Physics “This is a seminal work by a Nobel Laureate in physics”.
Anthony Mansueto, Cosmic Teleology and the Crisis of the Sciences “A paper presented at the Boston Congress of Philosophy in 1998” - I found it virtually unreadable
Allan Chapman's Gods In The Sky.
Francesca Rochberg, The Writing of Heaven.
And of course there was also this list. If anyone can make sense of that I’d be interested.
Tomorrow I’ll summarize.