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As we have seen (2.1), analogical thinking plays a key role in the working model of the astrologer. This way of thinking is not new; we know the concept of analogy since Pythagoras (*). Many readers will be familiar with it already, but for the sake of clarity, I will mention a few characteristics of analogy here.
Many readers will be familiar with it already, but for the sake of clarity, I will mention a few characteristics of analogy here.
The analogical relation
An analogical correlation refers not to an equivalence in form or nature between two phenomena, but to the equivalence of two or more relationships between different phenomena. An example may well clarify this. In concrete thinking, we cannot contend that an apple is equivalent to a pear. Not only are they different in form but also in nature. So in concrete thinking, the two phenomena of the apple and the pear remain separate entities.
In analogical thinking, however, we can state that the relationship of the apple to the apple tree is equivalent to the relationship of the pear to the pear tree. So:
apple : apple tree = pear : pear tree
The equivalence sign (=) within an analogical statement refers to the equivalence of the two relationships that are described on both sides of the sign.
In our (habitual) causal thinking, we focus on a different type of relationship than in analogical thinking. Causal thinking, too, is based on relationships between two phenomena, but not in the sense of displaying similarity or correlational equality, but in the sense of one being the consequence of the other, or being dependent on it.
For example, when I turn a switch over here, a light will flash on somewhere else. Between these two phenomena there is a third, causal factor. This causal factor changes the state of one phenomenon (the switch) which in turn causes a change in the other phenomenon (the light bulb). A causal relationship always implies a certain time lapse between the first change and its subsequent effect. A causal relationship is tested and proven by repeating the observation many times over, in order to reduce the chance factor to a minimum. So it is in practice that the validity of the causal relationship is demonstrated.
Erroneously, astrology is often studied within the framework of causal thinking. The influences that the stars are assumed to emanate are taken to be the causers of specific events here on Earth, as if we were tied to the stars like string puppets...
In our exploration on this site we have found no evidence for this hypothesis. On the contrary, we have seen that within Zodiac-based astrology, such influences are inconceivable and therefore out of the question (1.3).
So as an approach to astrology, causal thinking can only lead us astray. Discussions about the validity of astrology that I have witnessed sometimes betrayed a lack of awareness of the impossibility of this claim. Such discussions, for example about ‘astrology and free will’, would inevitably turn out to be virtually fruitless, even though a different outcome would perhaps have been possible. (1.0.2).
Abstractions and laws
One great merit of the analogical correlation is its potential power of expression. In one simple equation, a whole category of phenomena can be summed up. For example, the relationship between the apple and the apple tree does not limit itself to one particular tree, but is valid for all plants and their fruits. An analogical equation refers to a whole category of relationships. A good example is the theorem of Pythagoras, which refers to the analogous ratios of the sides of any right-angled triangle. Based on the analogical correlation between the lengths of the sides of any right-angled triangle, Pythagoras came up with the following formula (using the arithmetic mean) for determining those lengths:
a ² + b ² = c ²
By means of this formula, the analogical correlation is being transferred into a physical, factual appearance. (3.1.1)
Contrary to the causal relationship, this correlational relationship does not need to be tested in practice but can be relied upon as a consistent mathematical law applicable to all cases.
Now this is taking an interesting turn! Let’s go over it once more:
Analogical thinking is based on reciprocal correlations between sets of phenomena. As we have seen, these phenomena are viewed according to their function within that specific correlation. Apparently, under certain conditions (3.1.1), such a correlation can be converted and transferred to the physical plane, where it reveals itself as a consistent law that is applicable in practice.
It is the law-like character of the formula that supports its applicability. A verification of results based on large amounts of data, including testing by repetition or control groups, as is always required for causal thinking, is not necessary for analogical thinking. It is simply out of order.