Breaking Consensus: First Real-Time Test of Pluto in Aquarius is Coming Soon

We sometimes wonder what this whole digital thing is about. Eric McLuhan got it right when he said to consider the “deep disorientation of intellect and destabilization of culture throughout the world,” an effect of what electrical devices to do body-consciousness.

Photo from the rail trail in Rosendale, NY, by Eric Francis.

All of the inner planets will soon make conjunctions to Pluto in Aquarius. We will get a good first look at what this 20-year transit is about.

Dear Friend and Reader:

PLUTO IS NOW UNDERWAY in Aquarius, the sign of groups, tribes, social patterns and electricity. One Pluto cycle ago, Benjamin Franklin, the first electrician and electrical engineer, arrived at the home of Le Ray de Chaumont outside of Paris, where he was hosted for eight years as the U.S. ambassador to France.

One of the first things he did was erect a lightning rod over his wing of the castle. Electricity was such a strange, new thing that it had to be harvested from the wild. We were at the dawn of electricity, which came at a time of massive social upheaval. Today it is everywhere, and nearly inescapable. And so profound has been its shaping of society that nobody really noticed the effect that it was having.

Much of that effect involved electrical communication, and in particular, radio. Electric signs, telegraph and telephone started the process, but radio pushed the effect into exponents. Seemingly overnight, society reversed its centuries-long process of individuation, and returned to tribal consciousness.

You may have heard the term “global village.” That used to be the name of a modem company, though it originally pertained to the effect of radio. It’s far more applicable to digital consciousness, where what the tribe thinks is all that matters, and where dissenting individuals are easily cancelled and deplatformed.

We sometimes wonder what this whole digital thing is about. Eric McLuhan got it right when he said to consider the “deep disorientation of intellect and destabilization of culture throughout the world,” an effect of what electrical devices do to body-consciousness. This, in turn, has pushed humanity into what we might think of as a savage and faux-tribal state of being, where true individuality is not tolerated (but it’s sold to us daily, and entitles you to do what everyone else does).

A digital tribe: Black Lives Matter, and theoretically other local groups, blocked the street where I live and work on Jan. 5. You can listen as-it-happened here.

Aquarius: Of Tribes and Electricity

The electrical tribes of Aquarius are governed by enforced, artificial consensus. It only seems like everyone is in agreement when all the dissenters have their YouTube and social media accounts suspended or revoked, and you don’t get exposed to the views that were silenced. Then it’s easy to think everyone agrees with you.

Many think they deserve cancellation when it happens. After all, they committed a thought-crime (a term from the electrical world of Orwell’s 1984). At those times, a mob gathers and gives the heave-ho to anyone who threatens the “group think” of the tribe. Craig’s List is famous for this: if your listing is a little too saucy, it’s voted down in 10 minutes. Many people love to jump into the fray and “get rid of” people who don’t endorse their views. A lot of history has been waged on this basis, though it’s never been easier.

Even in its oldest forms, consensus crushes the minority view. The Quaker faith, of which I am part, runs on a consensus basis: the whole meeting must agree on important matters and makes its decisions by unanimous consent (kind of like a jury). Any one person may break the consensus, though in any group there is a lot of pressure to go along with the majority view.*

But at least there is a discussion, which in a Quaker meeting can last a while — and people must face one another, and live in the same community. That’s more than you can say about digital, where many people are anonymous and few actually meet.

Meanwhile, the controllers — the top-level creators of algorithms, and allocators of bandwidth — have the power to shape the ground of consciousness and therefore, to shape society. And, because anyone can post their tacos to Instagram or dance routine to TikTok, many people feel oh-so-original, and know that everyone is really, really special. The tribalism of digital is fake, and so is the individuality.

Great idea to save lives: One-way aisle in the supermarket. Seen at Adams Fairacre Farm Market, Ulster County, NY, spring 2020. This should be a Warhol. Photo by Eric Francis.

The Effects are Not Benign

One effect of digital (meaning faux tribal) consensus was to lock the world down in 2020 based on the claim of a virus that can only be shown to exist by a computer algorithm. In the space of about a month, 4.4 billion people — more than half of the world’s population — were locked out of work and school, told to stay home and not communicate in person.

This effect, often blamed on Fauci, the CDC, the World Health Organization, Bill Gates and other powers-that-be, actually arose from the ground up. It would not have been possible without the active cooperation and consent of everyone who went along with it (which was nearly everyone).

One of the most devastating effects was the crushing of real tribal groups (the family) and instigating the electrical ones. By the autumn and winter holidays of 2021, families and friendships were ripped apart over a claimed vaccine, forcing even more faux tribalism: you go with your crazy, reckless people, and I will go with my perfectly sane, responsible people (i.e., keeping mom away from Thanksgiving dinner because she didn’t take the shot).

We have only just seen the beginning of this. Its hallmark is the impersonal, cold, unrepentant quality, just like what you see on the internet. People learn their behaviors, attitudes and values from their tools, then from others who use those tools, then they dramatize them in physical life.

Much of the sheer stupidity that you see and experience in the world is based on algorithmic, digital tribalism. So, too, is the failure to question that which is plainly ridiculous. It’s the stupidity of one-way aisles in supermarkets as disease prevention, and that of people who chant, “My body, my choice,” thinking others should be forced to take injections.

The mean spirit of society right now is merely a clone of how our computers, and existing in the digital environment, have taught us to relate on the internet, which morphs into “real life.” It’s a little like this:

Inner Planets Will Soon Meet Pluto in Aquarius

Aquarius is the holder of patterns, and especially of social patterns. In our times, this has everything to do with the internet being the field of nearly all social interaction. Pluto is going to disrupt those patterns. We will see many norms shaken up, and we’re about to get a major test run between February and April.

You’ve probably read my writing about the total eclipse conjunct Chiron in Aries on April 8, followed by Jupiter conjunct Uranus in Taurus on April 20. But there is a big adventure ahead of that, and it involves Mercury, Venus and Mars entering Aquarius over the next few weeks.

The inner planets (also called personal planets) will give presence and impact to Pluto. They will personalize the disruptions, and give us a chance to see just what this new environment is about.

Personal, emotional planets that represent the mind, body and feelings will make the experience of Pluto in Aquarius more distinctive. They are condensed enough that we will be able to note any potential effect — and spaced far enough that they may be distinct. One by one, the planets go through a kind of initiation by making a conjunction to Pluto. Many people will experience this as a personal revelation that is then infused into some dimension of group or shared reality.

Here are the dates:

— Mercury enters Aquarius and conjoins Pluto on Feb. 5.

— Aquarius New Moon / Lunar New Year, Green (wood) Dragon, Feb. 10.

— Mars enters Aquarius and conjoins Pluto on Feb. 13.

— Venus enters Aquarius and conjoins Pluto on Feb. 16. The chart below will give you an idea how they look together.

— You may notice that Venus is approaching Mars for its long-anticipated conjunction; this also counts as an activating event. The conjunction takes place on Feb. 22 at 2:15 pm.

Venus enters Aquarius on Feb. 16, 2024.

Coming Soon: Aries Total Eclipse Conjunct Chiron

One last thought for now.

The real challenge to group-think and consensus is going to be the total solar eclipse of April 8, which is conjunct Chiron. There is no debate that Chiron is a distinguishing factor, and in Aries, it will push the limits of individuality. I think once the spring gets underway, there will be many dissent-type events around that time.

Yet this has a way of not lasting long. Just as people make up stories when they are faced with any uncertainty, they will often submit to consensus “reality” when they are on the line as individuals and feel exposed to critique, or support their own views.

It’s a little like the guy who once stood up at a personal growth workshop and said, “I tried being myself but it was too hard, so I went back to being like everyone else.”

Hey, at least he was honest about it. That’s pretty special, isn’t it.

With love,

Eric signature
Another digital tribe? — November 2021, New Paltz, New York.

*I am solidly Quaker in my values and my approach to faith, though this is the one place that I potentially dissent. I don’t see the use in saying much about it — in that forum, with nearly 400 years of tradition behind it. It’s surely more progressive than having the pope telling everyone what to do. Quakers were the first modern religion to treat men and women as equals. All matters are decided by committee, not by an individual. We oppose violence, war and prisons. God is held to be within — known as the “inner light.” So my objection to consensus among the Quakers is only in principle. Were there some issue where I opposed the meeting acting in a certain way, I would most surely speak up. That is the whole idea. If I am in the minority view, I am never suppressed — but then, my chart has a LOT of Chiron.

Coming Soon: Planet Waves Spring Reading.

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