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Unread 11-29-2014, 10:55 PM
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Re: Origins of psychological astrology?

Originally Posted by waybread View Post
Will the real psychology please stand up? Astrologers don't get to define what it is. Credentialed psychologists do.
Really? The Online Etymology Dictionary offers this: "psychology (n.): 1650s, "study of the soul," from Modern Latin psychologia, probably coined mid-16c. in Germany by Melanchthon from Latinized form of Greek psykhe- "breath, spirit, soul" (see psyche) + logia "study of" (see -logy). Meaning "study of the mind" first recorded 1748, from Christian Wolff's "Psychologia empirica" (1732); main modern behavioral sense is from early 1890s." As for the current sense of the word, putting "psychology: definition" in the google search field yields: "the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context; the mental characteristics or attitude of a person or group; the mental and emotional factors governing a situation or activity."

Academic psychologists didn't create the word psychology, nor has it been patented so as to forbid all usages not certified by them. Rather, they use it in the title of their disciplines as a descriptive indicator of what they do. People who use the word in that context understand that the word is being used in a more specialized manner than its general sense, one which includes "the study of" as an antecedent and the means of study as a further specification. Psychology doesn't even mean the same thing, in terms of its fully specified meaning and context, in every academic discipline that includes it in its title. The subject matter (and means of study) of developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, educational psychology, personality psychology, etc. are not coextensive. Each studies certain aspects of the mind from a particular perspective. Developmental psychology, for instance, is interested in those mental processes that develop over time. Cognitive psychology studies the mind from an information-processing perspective. Psychological astrology is the study of time-based mental processes, with "time-based" referring more specifically to planetary periods. It's obviously not as advanced in the understanding of its subject matter as any of the established academic psychology disciplines are of theirs, but that doesn't mean psychological astrologers shouldn't be allowed to use a word with a generally understood referent (i.e., the mind) to suggest what they do. Psychology in all of the contexts just mentioned is being used as a tag, like the title of a book, one that hints at or implies what's inside. The fully detailed specification of the contents can only be gotten at by reading the book, on the one hand, or mastering the discipline on the other.

Psychology, like any discipline, moves forward. It builds upon the work of its Great Ones, but it also sometimes critiques and disavows earlier work that proved to be unsustainable. Freud's fabricated research "results" would be a major example. But surely you know this? I'd like to see "psychological astrologers" cite current work in psychology.
Astrology, too, moves forward and builds upon the work of its Great Ones, albeit at a glacial pace due to not having yet crossed what might be termed the empirical threshold. A major impediment to crossing that threshold is astrologers' characteristic (mis)use of words. Virtually all treat a given word as if it belonged to a particular planet. (Your treating the word psychology as if it belonged to a particular discipline is a comparably erroneous usage.) It would be a major advance if a sufficient number of astrologers realized that a particular word, like ambition, doesn't go with Saturn regardless of meaning. Rather, it's an observed meaning or effect that recurs at Saturn intervals, of which one of the senses of ambition, something along the lines of a desire to succeed at a profession, is an example, that goes with Saturn. In the short run this would give astrologers less to say, because they would no longer be able to make a given chart (even an erroneous one) fit a given event (even an erroneous one). But in the long run it would give us far more to say, because over time we'd be able to say more, and with more accuracy, about what predictably coincides with a given configuration, as well as which configurations and kinds of configurations (not all!) even have terrestrial correspondents. And what we'd be able to say would be largely psychological, because I believe astrological effects are psychological (albeit not coextensive with the psychological effects any given academic discipline studies). That's why, although I have no problem with psychological astrologers using the word psychology to indicate that astrology as they practice it has to do with the mind rather than external events, I don't use that term to describe myself. To me it's redundant, the equivalent of saying wet water.

I take your point that astrology is theoretically weakly developed. But this doesn't mean it is sensible or wise for non-credentialed people to identify their branch of the field as psychological astrology. It just shows our ignorance.
Actually, I think your argument demonstrates ignorance of the relationship between observations, words, meanings, and legitimate usage, an ignorance characteristic of astrologers.
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