Of Nuclear Bombs and Reasoning

Dear Friend and Reader:

Yesterday, I was poking around the pages of The Onion, when I found this article: Historians Admit To Inventing Ancient Greeks. It featured a photo of two scholarly-looking pundits, and began:

“WASHINGTON — A group of leading historians held a press conference Monday at the National Geographic Society to announce they had ‘entirely fabricated’ ancient Greece, a culture long thought to be the intellectual basis of Western civilization.”

The Death of Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David (1787).

Without wasting a single moment, I posted this to Facebook. Andrew McLuhan, our resident media theorist, responded quickly: “I dunno…a little too on the nose to be funny?”

The article continued:

“The group acknowledged that the idea of a sophisticated, flourishing society existing in Greece more than two millennia ago was a complete fiction created by a team of some two dozen historians, anthropologists, and classicists who worked nonstop between 1971 and 1974 to forge ‘Greek’ documents and artifacts.”

I thought it was so funny because it was kind of true: history is largely a fictional contrivance. Who really knows what was going on in 500 BC? Who told the current historians? Other historians! Who told them? Other historians! Who the heck knows what was really going on? It sounds like “turtles all the way down.”

Western civilization was, it would seem upon careful reflection, potentially built on a hot kind of intellectual pursuit for which the ancient Greeks (assuming they actually existed) deserve credit. The impact of the Greek alphabet was to give us the kind of reasoning ability that you can only do with printed phonetic text, born from a state of mind that is created by the brain being trained to make sense out of phonetic (meaning, otherwise meaningless) letters. In a word, this is an abstract process. Reasoning is an abstraction. But we depend on it.

Then Andrew added, “I mean, electricity has basically undone all that in less than 150 years.”

If you take a little time and study the work of Andrew’s grandfather Marshall McLuhan, it’s easy to follow that the advent of electric media, starting with the telegraph, and then electric light, and then the telephone, and the radio, the television, and the internet, have done two primary things.

Electric media starts with the telegraph, which moves data at the speed of light. That is confusing.

One is they have all but blotted out the sense of individual inner awareness that print media foster in a person. Electric media turns people into tribal beings: humanity, the flash mob.

These technologies, and the mindset they engender, externalize things like memory and perception. Your computer ‘remembers’ things that you don’t, which everyone else can remember too. For example, my computer remembered that Onion article about ancient Greece not existing, which is from 2010.

Second, electric media from the telegraph forward have, cumulatively, done a number on our ability to reason. To reason means to think, for yourself, in logical steps, in such a way that another person can follow. Electric media obviate the reasoning process, and basically serve as little more than overwhelming input that pushes buttons. If you are in any way informed, it’s at the cost of having your nerves lightly toasted, your buttons pushed and your emotions manipulated. How else would someone buy a car thinking it will come with a wife?

I’m not in the business of making people worry, but you should indeed be worried about this. Any problem the world faces will require the ability to reason, if we want to solve it. We will need to reason collectively, which you can think of as respecting one another and tapping into a level that can correctly be called spiritual. Yet right now, we don’t have much of that. The ability to think in logical steps has become a special skill, like playing the violin or flying an airplane.

Of Button Pushing, Hellfire and Brimstone

On Tuesday at 3:26 pm, a day after a lunar eclipse, leading into a rather significant total solar eclipse, Donald Trump gave what’s being billed as a sua sponte (spontaneous) riff on how he would nuke North Korea if it kept mouthing off about its newfound ability to put nuclear warheads on missiles and shoot them at places like Guam or Chicago.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Given that the discussion is about nukes, he could only mean one thing. Remember: Trump has openly pondered why we don’t use our nuclear arsenal; after all, we have it.

Many, many people were concerned about allowing Trump the nuclear codes, but that’s a concern based on reasoning. If you cannot reason, then it does not matter. You might think it’s a fine idea that a psychotic person can blow up the world.

We’re only 200 days into the Trump administration. Everyone is wondering the same thing: is this going to happen? Why are we even talking about this? For me, this was always the issue with Trump. His misogyny and piggish elitism were always secondary to his control of the nuclear arsenal.

For the next two days, Trump’s various generals, lawyers and spokespeople walked back his comment, or tried to be reassuring. For example, Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state and ambassador to the oil companies, told Americans that they should “sleep well at night.” I’m sure everyone finds that reassuring. We don’t have enough to worry about without the president threatening to bomb a nuclear-capable country, which can retaliate by bombing South Korea or Tokyo or whatever. Don’t worry. Be happy.

Then on Thursday, Trump doubled down on his stupidity (that’s what you do these days — when someone says or does something stupid, the reflex is to do it again). “Frankly the people that were questioning that statement, was it too tough, maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” he told reporters. “They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, many years. It’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. So if anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough.”

Remember that, here in our world-beyond-reason. In our world of teenagers with raging authority issues and access to crazy levels of military power, many individual people are empowered to destroy civilization as we know it. What would Socrates think?

Speaking of the ancient Greeks, I went to one of their reasoning methods in which I am proficient looking for information. That would be astrology. Because astrology involves thought, I knew there were two charts that I needed to check: the event itself, that is, Trump’s comment; and a chart called the Nuclear Axis, or the first self-sustaining atomic reaction, which was set up in a lab under a football stadium during the development of the nuclear bomb.

Let’s take the two charts in order; they are related.

Moon Void in Aquarius — Sort Of

Trump made his comment on Tuesday at 3:26 pm, in Bedminster, NJ, where he’s taking a little time out from Washington. There are some quick methods for checking whether the event of such a chart is solid. In this case, did he mean it?

Chart for Trump’s comments has the Moon done making new aspects while in Aquarius, and mutable signs on the angles. That does not point to a truthful or impactful statement. However, the Moon at 28+ degrees of Aquarius connects to the Nuclear Axis chart — so the issue is up for discussion.

In the chart for someone saying something, the first thing to check is Mercury. And Mercury is in an interesting position: high in the chart, exactly conjunct Vesta, about to station retrograde. That does not match the flip language of Trump or Kim Jong-un, the Korean boy-emperor. It describes the necessity for a serious conversation. We will need to do the Vesta thing and make space for that.

Second, you check the Moon. What aspects is the Moon making? What did it do last and what does it do next? What does it do last?

In this chart, the Moon is making a sextile (60-degree meeting) to Uranus; both are in the next-to-last degree of their signs. The aspect to Uranus makes sense: apparently what he said was out of the blue, with various handlers and advisors saying it took them by surprise.

The Moon, however, makes no more aspects to major points while it’s in Aquarius. So this particular statement, while alarming, has the approximate value of a foul ball. It sounded like something, everyone turned their heads, and then some kid in the bleachers caught the ball. The Moon’s degree, though, is interesting: 28+ Aquarius. That’s interesting because it’s the South Node of the Nuclear Axis chart, like Trump was somehow channeling that chart.

One last: reading the event chart for Trump’s statement, all the angles are mutable. Sagittarius is rising, and Virgo is on the midheaven; in a horary or event chart, mutable angles say “this is not really solid.” This would be especially true if there are not many planets close to the angles, which is the case in this chart.

So, my conclusion is that, based on two specific factors, this particular comment was hollow. However, it does indeed have significance that he can make the statement, and it has meaning based on the fact that he can act on it. We’re just in this odd position now of hoping that the leaders of the military can keep us safe from the commander-in-chief of the military.

The Nuclear Axis Chart

When someone threatens nuclear war, that’s a good time to check something called the Nuclear Axis chart. You can read the history of that chart here. If you do, you’ll see there is some controversy over the time zone used for the event. For reasons I’ll get into another time (involving Chiron and two other centaurs), I am using the original data.

This is the chart for the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction, in Enrico Fermi’s lab under the football stadium at the University of Chicago. The “axis” part of the nuclear axis spans across the mutable signs Gemini (to the lower left) and Sagittarius (to the upper right). There’s another sensitive spot: the Moon-Neptune conjunction on the lower right. That comes back into play when Saturn ingresses Capricorn later this year. It may represent dumping all that radioactive waste into the Pacific; we will see the timing of that extinction-inducing decision, if we ever know.

The Nuclear Axis (sometimes called the ‘atom split’ chart) has been a dependable indicator of nuclear issues. The most dependable indicator of whether that chart is active is Saturn, which has indeed been a factor. The chart has the Sun, Mercury, Juno and Venus in Sagittarius, and Saturn has been conjunct them all. There is a real problem, somewhere. However, Saturn is not making any major transits to the Nuclear Axis chart now.

Neptune is much more active, though that’s an influence that sends things invisible.

Neptune in Pisces has been making squares to all those planets — and to Saturn and Uranus in the nuke chart. This indicates that the problem is hidden from view; we may be talking about North Korea, and we are definitely talking about Fukushima, which is a slow-motion atomic blast gradually contaminating the Pacific Ocean and all its creatures with various types of radiation.

Tokyo Electric Power Co, or TEPCO, plans to dump 777,000 tons of tritium-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean, which means into all of the oceans. Tritium (a form of radioactive hydrogen) is just fine, unless you ingest it; then it’s kind of deadly.

This has all been going on below the level of the news, and behind our backs. TEPCO is one of the most corrupt organizations on Earth. I would much rather have the Mafia in charge of the Fukushima cleanup.

So, nuclear issues are afoot. However, the timing is later in the year, when Saturn enters Capricorn and makes new aspects in the nuke chart. In particular, Saturn makes a square to the nuke chart’s Moon-Neptune conjunction. This looks like an invitation to come out of denial on the nuclear issue.

For other reasons, the issue seems to have arrived for a while, recalling the old karma of the atomic bomb and its child, nuclear power. Neither the issue nor the radiation are going away.

Denial is the most important drug of our era. There’s so much to worry about, it would seem that the only way to cope is by using denial. However, where we’re living is the moment when all of our denial is coming due, pretty much all at once.

Eventually, we will need to stop pretending. However, it’s not encouraging that so many people feel like they have to keep that game going as long as possible. It’s just not making anything any easier. Denial is like getting drunk and thinking you’re the Buddha.

That’s about where we are today.

With love,

Your Weekly Horoscope for August 7-13, 2017, #1162 | By Eric Francis Coppolino

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Most people will do nearly anything to be part of a group, which leads to some dangerous possibilities. Many of them are psychological and spiritual, though it’s clear that people will do things as part of a group that they would never do as individuals. The time has come to stand apart from certain people in your life, and the things that they do. You are well beyond the point of needing either conformity or approval from your peers when you express your personal intentions and desires. What you want to do would indeed be curtailed or hemmed in by seeking approval, whether you seek different forms of relationships, expressing yourself as an artist, or doing what feels right as a lover. If you want to get out of the habit of looking for validation, today’s eclipse will be a boon.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You may have some experiences this week that will help you see through a group dynamic that’s taken shape in your life. Any activity that involves what feels like a ‘family’ will help you clarify your early experiences and how they have shaped you as an adult. The moment you’re aware of the connections, you will be on top of whatever game is implicated, and you may make a discovery that will serve you for a lifetime. Remember that when people get involved in groups, they tend to subjugate their individuality, and as a result do things they would never otherwise do. If you spot this tendency in yourself, that’s the time to raise your awareness and to start making decisions. There may be considerable pressure to do what’s not right for you, though this is nothing compared to the rewards of living with integrity.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — If you say less, you will be saying more. It’s your natural tendency to give the longer version of the story, and to provide the background information too. This is especially true with the Sun and Mars in your house of communicating. However, your ruling planet Mercury is slowing down, and you would be well advised to focus your message and to say only what is necessary. This way, you’ll have greater impact. If you must say a lot, put it in writing, and don’t publish it right away. Spoken words have a tendency to disappear, which gives them relatively little impact. The written word is an enduring thing, though this would rightly be in some form other than tweets or other social media posts. You do indeed have something to say, and you deserve the opportunity to make it count.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Venus in your sign is inviting you to immerse yourself in the best that life has to offer. We’re in the season of eclipses — a lunar eclipse occurs today, and a solar eclipse is coming soon. Eclipses help you break old habits and establish new ones. That’s an invitation to spend your time doing as much of what you love as you can. Do the things you rarely seem to have time for, but which you know nourish you. Speaking of nourishment, any habits around food that you cultivate now have a much greater chance of becoming established. One message coming from your solar chart is to eat as many meals at home as you can. This will save you money, reduce your intake of unwholesome ingredients, and help ground you in your home — which for one born under your sign is essential. 

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Monday there is an eclipse of the Moon in the angle of your chart that describes your relationships, and the environment that surrounds you. Suddenly it seems that environment is changing in significant ways. Mostly this will come in the form of letting go of old friends and getting some new ones. It’s essential to go through this every once in a while, especially if your goals, your sense of purpose, or your idea of who you are becoming are changing. Essentially, you need friends who are not threatened by your willingness to change and grow. There’s no way to overstate this necessity. You are indeed evolving rapidly; and having people around you who in some way object or are made nervous by that fact is a perfect way to thwart your own progress. If someone really cares about you, they will honor your need to grow.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — This is an interesting week in the history of Virgo. Mercury, your ruling planet, is about to station retrograde in your sign. This happens Saturday, Aug. 12, though the effect will be full strength through the week. What’s so original is that Mercury is making a long conjunction to Vesta, a beautiful and complex asteroid whose themes of service and devotion relate to your sign. Two themes emerge: one is about holding space for the right thing to happen. You don’t have to make it happen; your role will be to facilitate. This may mean serving as a translator in a moment of sensitive communications at a time of confusion and misunderstanding. Without taking sides, serve the role of keeping the channels open and clear. Second, there’s something personal here about how your relationships happen. One keynote of Vesta is unusual relationship patterns. Most of the seemingly normal things that people do are not really for you; and if you can accept that fact, you get to experience your own distinct and unique form of beauty in love and bonding.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — It’s been a while since anyone figured out that feeding the people is a key to bonding, cooperation and respect. That’s what your charts are about this week. Venus, the Libra planet, is crossing your 10th house of responsibility and authority, which for you is the sign Cancer. You are a caregiver in any leadership role, though particularly this week — with Venus conjunct Ceres, the goddess of food — you must look after your flock. Figure out a way to actually provide food for the people you work with, whether your colleagues or those who report to you. Bring food, order some in, or take people out to a meal — whatever works for you, as long as you’re the one who is doing the nurturing. With food comes a conversation, and with Mercury in such interesting form (see Virgo), there will be plenty to talk about. Focus on making the world a better place, starting here and now.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Mars and the Sun continue to streak across the most visible area of your solar chart this week, while a lunar eclipse is about to happen in one of the most private areas. In old-school thinking, this is a reminder that you must balance devotion to your professional life and your personal life. I would offer another idea, which is that you must be the same person in private spaces as you are in public. You cannot divide your character, despite the popular perception that this is possible. You are one person, living one life. Your inner truth and your outer truth are one thing. Therefore, toss aside all excuse-making, and anything designed to enhance your image, and be absolutely sincere in all that you do. You will gain strength by revealing your vulnerabilities. And you will go deeper into this rarefied thing known as integrity, which is the very substance of life.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — This week, Mercury stations retrograde in the angle of your chart associated with accountability, responsibility and leadership. This is an indicator to take things slowly and in incremental steps. You need to be aware that you’re not working with full information, which is typical of the week that Mercury stations retrograde or direct. There’s always some key data that will be shaken out of the cosmos, and you need to pause major decisions until you have a grasp on what that is. You may feel like you’re acting in a sincere and noble way, only to discover you did the opposite of what was necessary. Take this approach through the whole Mercury retrograde — the really interesting information comes to light at the very end of the process, during the first week of September. It will be worth doing this, even if it seems inconvenient. Both your reputation and the common good are at stake. So: one calm, calculated day at a time.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Belief is fragile, and it verges on useless. Why is that? Believing something tends to extinguish the quest for truth. What’s worse, most beliefs are of themselves not based on reality, on facts, or even on accurate perceptions. This week, Mercury stations retrograde in the angle of your chart associated with religion, spirituality and all processes of learning. You have Virgo in this angle, which describes your tendency to want the details before you offer your trust. That would be a wholesome approach to life this week. Let yourself ask the big questions. Don’t be in a hurry to have answers; let the mystery stand, and feel the strength that doing so gives you. Your quest through the Earthly plane of existence is driven by your questions, and it’s suspended by accepting false answers. A new phase of your quest begins this week. Be bold and stay hot on the trail…of whatever you may seek.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Monday there’s an eclipse of the Moon in your sign. This may influence several facets of your life, though none more than your commitment to the work that you do. You are inspired to do good work because you care. You know that money is a relatively small influence for you, though you need to be mindful of cash flow. So make sure that you’re doing what you love to do, just in case you have to do a lot more of it. The other aspect of existence covered by this eclipse is your overall health and wellbeing. You simply must commit to this as a way of life. You must eat real food, drink pure water (coffee and soft drinks do not count) and get actual rest on a nightly basis. This is about longevity, and it’s also about efficiency. If you work yourself into exhaustion, your efficiency goes down; and if you’re well rested and prepared, it increases rather dramatically. You know all of this. Put it to good use.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — There’s a mysterious angle of every chart, called the 12th house. This is the zone of the chart that covers parallel realities, like dreams and experiences on drugs; it includes cinema and any form of illusion; and if we look to Vedic astrology (the kind practiced in India), the 12th covers “the pleasures of the bed.” Today there is an eclipse in this area of your chart, which will stir up your deepest desires, your fantasies, and maybe some psychological clutter that you’ll want to look at before you toss it in the dustbin. Fortunately, at the same time, Venus is moving through Cancer, which is encouraging you to take a physical and emotional approach to your desires, rather than just sending some saucy texts. Let yourself out of your container. Let yourself be the physical, sensuous, erotic person that you are. If you make yourself available to people you trust, everyone will benefit.

Your Planet Waves Horoscope for Aug. 11, 2017 | By Eric Francis Coppolino

Aries (March 20-April 19) — The Moon in your sign today and tomorrow will lift you out of any mental or emotional bog that was holding you down. At a certain point you must leave your doubts behind, and now is an excellent time to do so. Stand your full height and recognize the gifts you offer to the world.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — This will be an interesting weekend, though it’s unlikely to go according to Plan A. Make sure you know your bare minimum priorities to ensure you’re accomplishing what you need to, and focus on that first. Even this may be a challenge, though a little effort will go a long way.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — If you’re well nourished, you’ll feel more abundant. Eating a snack before you go grocery shopping can save you lots of money; now you can apply that principle to the rest of your life. Make sure your basic necessities are fulfilled and you’ll feel like you have many more options in life.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You may have an opportunity to connect your professional aspirations to your talent to your income — a perfect situation. Yet you’ll need to take the steps. You must be the one who asserts your intentions and your willingness to do the job. Stand up and stand out; fortune favors the bold.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Today’s astrology will provide you with a whole new outlook, considerably more positive than what you’ve experienced the past few days. You need your independence, which involves recognizing that people really do have the ability to take care of themselves. You don’t have to do it all.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — As a Virgo, you came to this planet to serve the Earth and serve humanity. There are those who would argue that there’s no such thing, and it’s left to charities way too often. You must stand up for what is right. There’s a reason you know the truth, and that’s to act on it.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — People may be more forthcoming or assertive today and this weekend, which I suggest you welcome. Give others the space to be interested in you. You are interesting, you’re attractive and you take care of yourself; people notice you, which is indeed a reflection on you. It’s OK to say yes.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — If you’ve recently been inspired by an idea, you’ll have plenty of energy to manifest it in some form. This might be a project of some sort, or a new approach to your work responsibilities. One role you play in life is to be the ‘inner child’ in a room full of adults.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — If a professional situation does not unfold according to plan during the next 48 hours, take a detached view of the situation. Whatever information comes out will provide you with the missing keys to a more productive approach. Only when you spot the glitch in the system can you fix it.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Compassion is about honoring how other people feel. It would only be about you because you’re the one recognizing someone else’s situation. Keep an open heart with everyone. You’re not doing them any favors, really; you’re doing yourself the huge favor of being open and available to life.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Mercury is about to station retrograde in the sector of your chart addressing shared finances, agreements and contracts. Something deserves a closer look, and you must take nothing for granted. The generous and noble side of your nature must yield to the fact-checker in you. Run the numbers carefully.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Notice that someone you may consider unavailable is likely to be open and willing. This is not exactly a hot romance, though it’s likely to be something better: an experience of true devotion, with all possibilities open, and without the clutter of attachment. You will recognize this person because they recognize you.

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