July 23, 2021 | Interview with Mark Crispin Miller, professor of film and communications at New York University: Propaganda, digital conditions and the world crisis
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Planet Waves FM is 100% sponsored by our listeners, with no corporate influence. We are responsible only to you and our conscience. Any new monthly donor will receive a copy of my new book Planets in Motion.
My guest tonight is Mark Crispin Miller, professor of communications at New York University. Prof. Miller teaches a class called Mass Persuasion and Propaganda. (My father took this class as part of his doctoral studies at NYU, long before Prof. Miller’s time.)
Prof. Miller made international headlines last year when he gave his class all the known studies on the effectiveness of masks, and asked his students to decide for themselves whether they really worked. In response, his colleagues called for his removal, circulating a letter to the public that earned them being sued for libel. I spoke with Prof. Miller one week ago and present the full interview on the new program. You may listen separately here.
On Tantra Studio, I share a short segment of the Bari Weiss interview with a sexworker and Onlyfans model named Aella. Together, they challenge the myths about male sexuality, and I respond to their thoughts and ideas. You may listen in separately here.
Bari Weiss is a former New York Times writer, and presently writer, speaker, commentator and Jewish activist.
Here is the JAMA study on sexual experiences of men 18 to 24 years old.
Here is Aella on Onlyfans.
“For those who want free astrology, there’s plenty out there, and a few good ones that I look at. Yours is the only astrology column I subscribe to. I consider it to be worth it.” — Martha Hauser
“I have wanted to thank you so many times for what you have written, especially during what seems to have been at times, a very long and grueling year or so. Thank you for being a very centered, grounded person, even more so as you are writing about astrology.This comes through in your written words. I feel as if I have been given a spiritual, for lack of a different word, blessing every time I read your work.”
— Eileen Metz
“Thank you Eric. I have followed you for many years and appreciate your journalistic rigor and astrological insights! Good job and I appreciate you and your work. Thank you.” — Michelle
Now Available! Planets in Motion 2022
What’s happening in your astrology right now?
Dear Friend and Reader:
My approach to astrology is based on what is happening right now. I have just completed Planets in Motion, an e-Book that covers about 20 transits happening to people now, ages 1-84. This is an easy introduction to using astrology in practical ways. I write in clear language and bring your astrology to life. It comes with an audio introduction to the topic to help you get oriented and learn the value of transits.
You will read about the first and second Saturn return and related transits, Uranian opposition, Chiron Return and related transits, and then many subtle events that are specialized to specific years of birth. These will be relevant for many people in your life, young and old. We finally have a resource on people born between 1980 and 2000.
Thank you for your business and your trust.
What if the Moon landing happened?
My question was intended mostly as a thought experiment. I was interested in two things: one, the basis of people’s belief that the Moon landing occurred or did not occur, and two, philosophical ideas about the implications of humans visiting another world for the first time in known history. What if?
Belief is Deception: Mercury Retrograde, Then and Now
Dear Friend and Reader:
Mercury retrograde is not quite over. I know the station direct was June 22, which in our time frame seems like an eternity ago; it was less than three weeks.
As you probably know, while Mercury retrograde lasts about 23 days, there is a time margin on either side of that where the effect is not only still strong, but for some people more pronounced than when Mercury appears to be moving backward. This is called the shadow or echo phase. The storm phase is the few days clustered around when Mercury appears to change directions.
Here is a classic article from 2014 about this.
In the present cycle, the shadow or echo phase ends July 7, though this is complicated by an aspect: Mercury retrograde in Gemini began in a square aspect to Neptune. This is slippery. Lately it has reminded me of how oil and water don’t mix.
This special edition horoscope offers excerpts from the Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age annual readings for each of the Sun, Moon and rising signs.
This week’s horoscope is a sample of An Aquarian Era, transits that track your astrology out to about 2025. While this is an unusual duration for an astrological reading, there are events on the horizon that make this a valuable tool. Those include Pluto entering Aquarius, and the forthcoming conjunction of Chiron and Eris. The link to the full reading is right above each of the horoscope entries. — Eric Francis
From Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age for Aries:
Aries (March 20-April 19) — To build face-to-face reality takes work, and it will take adaptation. It does not need to be expensive, and an essential ingredient is the community itself bearing the costs and, more to the point, sharing resources.
The result could come in the form of a potluck, a food coop, a musical space, any form of creative collective, a lending library, a dog-walking/pet care organization, a community garden, a spring-cleaning society (where people help one another clean) or a hundred other possibilities.
They can be home-based, though remember that in the United States and many other countries, there is an abundance of unused space sitting idle and basically deteriorating. The value of using and sharing space rather than letting it sit empty is something we need to teach and learn.
Establishing and building community is true leadership: the type that is not vested in authority. Rather, it is grounded in your ability to relate to people, and to find a common purpose with them.
While we cannot exactly repair the past, it is possible to preserve what remains of a way of life before the digital environment was allowed to take over – and before it takes over so completely that most people don’t remember anything else.
From Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age for Taurus:
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You are a personal keeper of humanity’s traditions, even if in small and modest ways. I suggest you step into this role personally, and with your circle of friends, and especially with the people who you end up in the position of leading in some way. I can give you a small example from my life. We are in the age of digital technology. But throughout my office, there are many desks with cutting mats and graphic arts blades, as well as pens and pencils to draw with.
This is a reminder of the tradition from which digital graphic art emerged. I explain to my creative team how the work we were doing was done 25 years ago, 50 years ago, 75 years ago. In all ways, know the roots of your ideas.
If you have an interest in something, trace it back and see where it comes from, why it exists, and where you stand in the lineage. You will find personal relevance there. The past matters, especially to you. The old way of doing things matters, even if you use the new way. There is a new age rapidly coming upon us — so fast all most people see is a blur. You are, without any doubt, being called to leadership in this time. That will fully manifest with Pluto in Aquarius, which I will cover at the end of this reading as my closing thought.
It is your role to address the “tyranny of the new” and make sure that some of the old and valuable survives in a way that really matters to you, and that you can express to the people closest to you.
From Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age for Gemini:
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — The bottom line lesson of the past three years — or 12 years, depending on how you measure — is to focus on agreements, because that is where power is transacted. It’s where you gain or lose power; sell yourself out, give yourself away, or merge with others in a way that creates a synergistic effect. The ideal state of the 8th house would be that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But humans tend not to be good at win-win situations.
You, however, are capable of considering such a possibility on a much wider scale than most people. Yet for that to happen, it’s essential that you divest yourself from situations where the theme is “every man for himself,” or any situation where one person can take possession or ownership of another. These are crucial matters to fully encounter, work through and resolve before one can move on to the greater adventures of life. You may notice how much time, energy and money you’ve invested in the affairs of this house, as there has been such intense emphasis here going back many years, though especially since late 2017.
Now, new adventures are calling you. Do what you can to bring your 8th house matters to closure. You don’t want to take them with you on the next phase of your journey. Rather, you want what you learned from these experiences, because you earned it, you paid for it, and you don’t want to have to go through all of that again.
From Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age for Cancer:
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — If there is a secret to the sign Cancer besides take care of your home, this is it. You must make a contribution to society that is representative of your true being; your work must have actual meaning. The other work-related house is the 6th, and here you have Sagittarius (“the most philosophical sign,” in the words of Jim Morrison) which amplifies this message.
You now have two extraordinarily powerful planets transiting your 10th, which are defining your experience of life.
One is Chiron transiting Aries since 2018, and for the next five years. Chiron has a way of pulling focus and coming along with a crisis. They are related. If you are around age 50, this is a particularly important time, as you are in or close to your Chiron return. That would also mean that you have Chiron in Aries in your natal chart.
This is activating your 10th from the standpoint of service and healing. It is not a convenient placement or transit, as it confers so much responsibility. It will also bring up many issues that require healing, all of them related to your ability to function in the world and be fully present for both who you are and what you do.
The other planet in your 10th is the ultra-longterm visitor to Aries, Eris. While Eris has been in Aries since 1926, it is called into prominence for intervals of history by other planets making aspects to it. The last big outrageous burst of energy was the Uranus-Eris conjunction of 2016 and 2017, which describes the utter chaos that got Trump elected, leading to the “pandemic” situation a few years later. This was true insanity, though it’s left in the shade after what we witnessed in 2020 and beyond.
From Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age for Leo:
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Earlier, I mentioned that you are experiencing Saturn in your 7th house, and that in under two years this will give way to Pluto. Saturn represents all things tangible, solid, documented and established. In Aquarius, it’s serving as a kind of filter through which you can see all that is, and all that has become. Jupiter is doing something similar: it’s a kind of magnifier that is allowing you to see the details, and also, a condenser allowing you to see the wide-angle view.
You may be experiencing Saturn in its form as the symbol of limits. You may, in particular, be reaching what seems like the structural boundaries of your relationships, that is, the place where they cannot go any further. This counts for all kinds of partnerships. One of the roles of Saturn is to clear space for what is about to happen next. Sometimes Saturn clears enough space in the foreground to reveal what is going on in the background.
One reason people stay in relationships that are not serving them, or never leave home, or stay hooked on substances that hurt them, or stay in dead-end jobs, is so they don’t have to address the material that these conditions conceal. However, with Saturn moving across your 7th, you can be sure that some or most of those situations will be shifted, or even removed, and you will get to see what is underneath them. That is the whole point of a Saturn 7th transit. Therefore, limits in all forms are your allies. Study them, understand them, work with them, and rise to the occasion that they present.
You can get a lot done during the remaining seasons of Saturn in your 7th house. I would propose that this is the best possible transit you can have at this time, because you can work with it.
From Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age for Virgo:
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Chiron conjunct Eris is an explosion of consciousness waiting to happen.
For you, this is about observing the need you have to self-actualize through sexual experience and through relationship experience and not confuse the two. Sex without some concept of commitment (meaning a form of marriage) is still considered a sin. Yet it’s not a sin to be alive, to breathe, to feel and to desire. And to explore your desires, you do not need to offer yourself into any form of slavery. If you experience any guilt around this, you have discovered a place where you can claim back another piece of yourself.
Chiron conjunct Eris seems to be four years in the future, as a known and inevitable event, but it can be tapped into right now. It is happening now, as both planets are in the same sign. The simplest way to describe this conjunction is to say that it’s about liberating yourself from the nearly compulsive impulse of society to demand that everyone pretend to think the same way, and where every human transaction is another opportunity to give yourself up.
How do you know where you stand on these matters? Well, if you agree too much with others, I suggest you be suspicious about whether you are really using your discernment. Once you are in possession of your own views, you’re not going to agree with many people on many issues. And you will be highly unlikely to accept someone’s idea of who you are or who you should be.
From Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age for Libra:
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Another long-term transit lasting through May 2026, Uranus in Taurus is a comment on the stability factor of your relationships. Various circumstances may be creating the sense of being unsettled in what were previously solid commitments. You are not the type to make too-fast decisions, so it’s likely that you have stuck with certain arrangements hoping that the situation will go back to normal.
If your relationships are changing, it’s because you are changing. Taurus is your 8th place, associated with commitments and exchanges. Taurus places material of substance in this house, that wants something solid to hold onto. Whatever is in the 8th is your medium of exchange, and Taurus is tangible, valuable stuff, beautiful and well-crafted. This is what you have to give and are open to receive.
You want your relationships to be based on solid mutual values. Do you feel this way about your exchanges?
Let’s add Uranus to the equation. Uranus can scramble up whatever it contacts. You are getting one message from Chiron and Salacia, to reevaluate your relationships. Both of these points lean toward reserved, respectful, and honoring of modesty. If they change the status quo, it’s through a kind of homeopathic approach. Eventually Chiron may emerge as radical shifts in awareness, though its approach is always gentle at first, enlisting your participation and involvement in your own healing process.
Uranus works differently: it can feel like getting struck by cosmic lightning. It can flip your entire reality. Taurus is about what is time-honored and Uranus does not give a toss about this whatsoever. Uranus exists entirely outside of time. It is the realm of pure energy. (Saturn is our chronological model of time, and Chiron is what grounds one into the other.)
From Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age for Scorpio:
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — The theme of false collectivism is currently driving society and driving it insane. It is being driven by sales and marketing, like many other things that have taken over Western society, though the condition of the world (described by the Aquarian Era astrology) is currently making it easy for vast influences/influencers to get control of large groups of people, mostly against their conscious will.
Your mission at this time is to define yourself as you are and as you want to be, and to meet the world face on, on your terms. Nobody gets to do this 100%. There are immovable facts of life, and conditions that influence us. However, it is one thing to state your proposition and another thing to pretend not to.
To assert your individuality may seem like an isolated or isolating journey. There is a campaign telling us how antisocial this is. To an extent, this is true: one of the costs of individuality is confronting the fundamental aloneness that it implies. Yet that is not the end or the destination. It is the point of true beginning. Right now, and for the long foreseeable future, you are a point of gathering in your world. This will work whether you do it consciously or not; whether you want it or not.
From Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age for Sagittarius:
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — The world operates on what it thinks of as the basis of “permanent relationships,” which are never supposed to change.
However, you are able to perceive that everyone is changing all the time. Yet this does not make you feel secure in any way. You are likely to react against this by striving for relationships that you perceive as everlasting. This is not a condition that exists on our planet, in the framework of space and time. Here, we live with the passage of time and constant change, exhausting as it is.
You are in contact with the fact that the universe itself changes all the time. It is in a constant act of self-creation. However, from the standpoint of life on Earth, this kind of transience can seem especially brutal. It also presents one of the most challenging experiences of living on the surface of the planet, and perhaps the most necessary: working within the structure of what is finite — even if it’s an illusion or secondary reality.
It is vital for your growth, wellbeing and happiness that you confront change directly rather than trying to fight against it. There is a rhythm to your relationships, and to the world in which they exist, and when you feel that rhythm you will be much better adapted.
From Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age for Capricorn:
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You have the potential to be among the most independent of all people when it comes to asserting your true being and your actual values. You have so much energy in reserve here that it can be easily used against you. And there is always the lever, the threat, of being cast out of the tribe. At a certain point, your personal, verified truth must take precedence over what others seem to expect you to believe, and what you think they might do if you do not believe it. I am here to encourage you to make no compromises where this is concerned.
In effect, it’s time to take the risk of doing so. In the end you will feel less lonely for being truthful to yourself than you will for being “accepted” and untruthful with yourself.
Yet there is a juncture here: you can, if you want, proceed in a fashion that seems to be better for you financially but does not honor the truth of your values. This would be in the name of being practical, acceptable and not standing out.
Or you can proceed in a way that honors who and what is true about you, stand up for yourself, and take a chance. This will involve, or may seem to involve, pushing people — but you’re not pushing them to do anything but to accept the fact that you are being real in their presence. This is too much for most people, who tend to cower under their own strength. I am not suggesting that you be defiant or disrespectful, or even ask anything of anyone: only that you resolve to be yourself at all times.
From Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age for Aquarius:
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Aquarius is the sign whose motto should be, “Know when you don’t know.” I suggest you be extremely cautious around any assumptions related to your intelligence. I am not implying that you’re not intelligent. Rather, the difference is your ability to monitor your thoughts, your thought process and the conclusions that you make.
You need to ask yourself constantly the fundamental question of the fact-checker: how do I know that? This is the assumption-busting question – and the one that few people want to ask.
This is particularly true in our era of pretend knowledge, bubble thinking, and group ideation that is taking over the world. If you can keep questioning yourself, you will start to catch your leaps of imagination that pass for intellect. By all means use your imagination, though you must be able to distinguish it from the truth. This is “convenient” when the truth is uncomfortable. It’s also extremely dangerous.
While you cannot solve the problem of the whole society, you can certainly resolve it for yourself, in the sphere of your own life. You can dedicate yourself to what is meaningful because it’s true.
From Aquarian Era, Aquarian Age for Pisces:
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — One last thought before we enter the future. You have finally come to the point where your perspective on yourself is far more meaningful than what anyone else might think or believe about you.
This is a vitally important step in maturity, and a challenging one for a Pisces. You must cultivate and maintain a discipline of refusing to take on the projections of others. The more visible in public you are, the more critical this is. The more what you do is considered meaningful, the more critical it is.
Your rudder in the spiritual water is Chiron transiting your 2nd house or 2nd place (same idea). This is about your priorities, your self-respect, and your personal assets (anything from your talent to your money to your computer to your pots and pans).
Chiron is saying stick to your principles. Make sure you have them, and make sure you know what they are – before you stick to them, or defend them. Principles are real. You will not have many, if they are true to what you live for. When in doubt, start with one, and test it out. Know when you’re making an exception and why. Exceptions should not be treated casually. They deserve a journal entry. It might begin (just giving an example), “It is my usual policy to tell the truth, but today I had to lie to someone.”
Chiron is the master teacher, and will constantly be teaching you that who you are is directly related to what is important to you and what you do, based on that knowledge. Your identity is not something you declare. It is something you discover through processes of trial and error, trial and discovery, and trial and correction.