APROPOS the letter ‘TV astrologers’ (Jan 24), there is stark difference in zodiac and psychic interpretations because both apply different modus operandi to predict future. For example, purely scientific data is used to know about planets’ positions to make zodiac interpretations in an intuitive manner, and, therefore, it is simultaneously a science as well as an art.

However, psychic interpretations are based on extra-sensory perception (ESP), including oracles and intuition, etc., instead of strict use of scientific data.

As far as validity of astrological predictions is concerned, astrology had been used purely for purpose of future predictions for centuries and every prediction based on intuitive assessment is not necessarily proved right. But why don’t we condemn pure science for having failed in accurate weather forecasting all the time? It is because weather forecast mostly is correct or beneficial for us.

Likewise, astrological predictions have helped a lot of people to utilise upcoming trends in their lives due to some even ‘vague’ glimpses about their future, especially in the 21st century when astrology has transformed it from predictive (so-called pseudo) science to therapeutic approach owing to harnessing its potential for scientific implications.

The said letter’s hunch that ‘astrology is like I Ching’ is also wrong. This is because, unlike astrology, no astronomical data is used in oracle of I Ching, in which bamboo sticks or coins or colourful stones are used to seek insight about ‘here and now’ with the help of its archetypal situations contained in its 64 hexagrams.

Mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz deciphered I Ching into ‘64 predictions’ instead of ‘64 positions of binary arithmetic’, which was actually Gottfried’s domain because I Ching has been used as a predictive tool by Chinese roughly 2,000 years before the birth of Gottfried. Besides, the impression should also be dispelled that if Aristotle could not understand a zodiac plate, it was worthless.

Moreover, the roaming of Alexander naked around Ulysses had nothing to do with astrology but with some superstition or his belief system.

Strangely as well as interestingly, the letter has recommended that Myers-Briggs should be read instead of astrology etc. One must be cognizant of the fact that 16 personality types explained in titular personality test are strikingly akin to 12 personality types having been expounded by astrologers for centuries.

The question is: why renowned psychologist Carl Jung believed in I Ching? It was so because the analogy of archetypes inherent both in I Ching and psychology are similar.

I encourage people to go through books on astrology, especially with reference to astro-therapy and astro-psychology, before forming an opinion against astrology and allied subjects.

Muhammad Aleem Iqbal

Lahore

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2021

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