I noted that one of my “regular” readers (Thank you Mr. Volk! — and I promise I will get to some more of your comments some day. They are appreciated.) recently perused a response I had written to another piece by my good friend and all time favorite Czech, Martin Rezny. While “regular” is probably not the best descriptor for anyone who reads my stuff often, the post he had read was a small part of a back and forth Mr. Rezny and I were having on the topic of astrology. By the way if you have not any of Martin’s many writings about astrology you really should. They are powerful and I can virtually guarantee they will change they way you think about something that you probably almost never think about. By that I do not mean to imply that suddenly you will be a believer and looking to the stars to plan your next big life event, only that they will make you reconsider just why it is you have always dismissed it so lightly as junk pseudoscience without a second thought. That certainly was how I had felt about astrology for my entire adult life, and I had never once thought to question that belief or the source of it until coming across some of Martin’s work. Personally, I love stuff like that, writings that make you question your most cherished or least examined beliefs, practices, thoughts, etc., and then makes you justify them. This is how we grow and evolve as persons, by constantly having to justify the way we think, behave, act. And we must justify those things to others for sure, but mostly we must be able to justify them to ourselves. That justification must be strong enough to withstand the most potent of attacks and survive if it should be deemed good enough to build your own life around. For me the best method for doing this is the scientific method and so in my own life I use a modified version of what I do for a living, research science, as a way to mold/build what I hope is a justifiable life. Hypothesis generation, designing experiments (methods), evidence gathering, testing, discussion, and drawing conclusions, are the major elements of the process of doing science and they work quite well (at least for me) as a process for doing life. Of course, you will note that no where in my neat little tidy summary of how I have mastered life and how to live it did I mention the words feelings or emotions or any other touchy feely stuff. Nor did I mention that a huge part my life has been a disaster and a mess and full of pain and misery. I take some consolation in the fact that the vast majority of experiments do not “work” or are considered “failed”, so it should be no surprise that so are the vast majority of things one tries in a life full of experimentation. No doubt I just need to tweak my system a little more and it will be nothing but rainbows and lollipops from here on out. Lol!
To get back to the topic at hand (eventually I promise) I pride myself on my own self critical nature and so I was caught totally unawares by my naked biases and non-evidence based dismissal of astrology. Where was the data showing that astrology was false? One would think scads of papers would have been published in reputable, peer reviewed, scientific journals, showing clearly and without bias or prejudiced intent that an astrological system could never make the predictions it was purported to be capable of with any level of accuracy beyond that of a wild guess. As it turns, like with most things, it is actually a much more complicated question than it would first appear. Read Martin’s stuff if you want more of the details but essentially no such papers exist. None that are anywhere near as clear cut as one would expect at least. Yes there have been some attempted “scientific” studies of the practice of astrology, but all suffer from some serious methodological issues which is complicated by the fact that nobody seems to agree on an exact definition of what “astrology” is, what it is really capable of, and who is qualified practitioner of it. Astrology, as it turns out, is a very fuzzy thing. If asked to “define” it I think most people would say something along the lines of
“ a method of prediction which uses the positions of various astrological objects (space based but typically visible from earth by the naked eye or telescope) to infer the occurrence and/or likelihood of certain events occurring or not at certain defined times in the future.” When it comes to space, position and even time are not as clear cut as we make them out to be from our vantage point here on earth. Leaving aside those technicalities I think that sort of definition is fine enough as a segue for my point, which is that astrology would seem to be a rather clever way for a hypothetical simulator to “communicate” with its simulated creations. If one wanted to speculate wildly (I do) one might even suggest that for the awoken people on earth with knowledge of the simulated nature of our existence this would be an ideal method. The advantages are many but the biggest is that as a purported “pseudoscience” with no basis is reality or fact it would escape (as it continues to do today) even the most cursory level of scrutiny by the “legitimate” scientific community. Thus, there is little or essentially zero chance of any accidental signal “leakage” or “intercepts” that might unintentionally reek havoc on the rest of the still “naive” to our simulated existence society.
What about alchemy? Where does it fit into my twisted and insane simulator based conspiracy? As another so called pseudoscience it would seem capable of playing a similar role as astrology. However, that comparison falls apart very quickly when one examines closely the many significant differences between the two. Firstly (is firstly a word even?), astrology is still practiced and believed in by many the world over to this day, alchemy is not. The vast majority of people on the planet today have a conception of what astrology or an astrological based system is or might be, but the same could most definitely not be said of alchemy or an alchemical system. Finally, as traditionally defined and understood astrology is (mostly) a method of predicting the future, an abstract concept with very fuzzy edges as I discussed briefly previously, while alchemy is most often thought of as a method with a specific end goal, the transmuation of base metals into gold, or the creation of the so called philosophers stone. The one area of significant overlap between the two is in the use of arcane symbols by serious practitioners to “encode” secret information. These symbols are only translatable by the initiated (or typically only by the author), and only with serious and dedicated effort. It is here that the simulators would most likely intervene. Like with astrological communication the simulators might have “encoded” secret messages into the alchemic symbols through subtle influences on the minds of the alchemists as they created them. The entire practice and concept of alchemy might have been a simulator idea from the beginning of the base program. Knowing they might need a way to communicate with their simulated creations in the future they (or some subset of them) openly or secretly added a set of algorithmic functions whose end result was the creation of alchemy and its system of arcane symbols. The practicing alchemists would have had no idea that the symbols and systems they thought so clever and original were actually not of their own making but rather part of their very being from the day they entered the simulation as new programmed entities.
Isaac Newton was a serious practitioner. Just saying….