‘By “infinitude’s despair” Kierkegaard means the sickness of the personality, the opposite of health. And so the person becomes sick by plunging into the limitless, the symbolic self becomes “fantastic”—as it does in schizophrenia—when it splits away from the body, from a dependable grounding in real experience in the everyday world. The full-blown schizophrenic is abstract, ethereal, un-real; he billows out of the earthly categories of space and time, floats out of his body, dwells in an eternal now, is not subject to death and destruction. He has vanquished these in his fantasy, or perhaps better, in the actual fact that he has quit his body, renounced its limitations.’ Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death, Souvenir Press, 1973, p.134.
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” George Santayana.
Moon: Your referral indicates an anxiety problem. Would you like to speak about that?
Earth: Well, I am tearful all the time and I can’t sleep, and the hope I had for this relationship I’m in with people is not working out, and some blame it on me, and say I haven’t done my work on myself and I need to see you.
Moon: Shall we talk about your relationship, or the work you need to do on yourself?
Earth: I suppose my relationship might be working out better if I didn’t have so many contrary habits, the most problematic of which seems to be the way I love. My existence is imprisoned in time. I recover from each loss by attaching myself to something new, which in turn matures and dies. Eternity, the big picture, beckons as a solution, but what is that really but a craving for the end of loss?
Put it this way: in the immensity of the universe everything seems insignificant, meaningless and futile, but my heart breaks for the brevity of human life, and the meaning people try to create. And I have such vivid, horror dreams, which some say may be my struggle with my ego and a sign that I’m on the verge of letting go, but letting go of what? War? Attachment? Time? Or loss…and love…and tears?
Moon: We can explore your dreams in another session, and in the meantime, it might be helpful to focus on some negative thoughts you seem to have and see if we can’t identify them, and change them into positive ones.
Earth: You mean, don’t you, that perhaps my anxiety arises from not feeling good about myself, not being grateful for just being here, having unrealistic expectations, being needy?
Moon: Perhaps. We are in this space-time thing together. If we are unperturbed, there’s no reason we can’t reach out to eternity in harmony, each of us cooperating with the other in ways that work to our mutual satisfaction, such as my libration and your tides, and all we have to do is feel good about that.
Earth: If only I were just a rock in spacetime, but I’m not! I am humanity’s home, and its burial ground! I realise I am not the author of existence, that you and the Sun and the galaxies are as much part of it as I, but the oceans that fishermen work are of me, the gardener’s rain falls on my soil, and the rubble of war is my ruin. I have hopes; I have regrets. I am made of the aspiration of generations, to transform me, to use me in their heroic quests. I have been their perspective and their disappointment.
In the long run, none of it matters, I know that. Form is a figure of speech; ambiguity rules. But if nothing matters, harmony doesn’t matter, nor does eternity. Perhaps it does all come down to habit, but habit is real, my sleeplessness is real, and the fullness of emptiness is real!
Moon: What do you mean by ‘the fullness of emptiness’?
Earth: There is a war going on inside me, and it seems to get worse the wiser I get. First it was spiritual versus material, and then capitalist against socialist: people trying to expand their inside, their subjective experience, against people trying to perfect everybody. None of it was real, but many generations were consumed by anxiety, hatred and war. Out of it emerged an uneasy stalemate: the spirit of the universe has evolved as the projection of egos which regard themselves as delusions. Even you are not much more than a rock these days, reflecting light from the nearest star from different angles, and if I weren’t here you wouldn’t even do that.
Moon: I am ok with however you want to see me.
Earth: Precisely! Any definition is a delusion, including that one, but defining is real, and so is ambiguity. That’s the fullness of emptiness! Your ‘ok’ does respond to how I see you. That is the war going on inside me as it has evolved. Bullies are looked upon as pathetic creatures of reified belief, and yet they cause suffering, which does not seem empty to the perfectionists. The age-old solution was to negate a bully’s belief by standing up to him, thereby validating the belief system which informed the bullying. The new solution is to teach emptiness to the bully, and in effect indulge the victim in a compassionate validation of irresponsibility. No?
My anxiety is about compassion becoming a habit which entails a kind of heat-death, the dissolution of ego’s energy into an anti-heroism content with an aspiration to gratitude for inherited cocoons. My anxiety is about the fullness of this emptiness. Empty bullies hurt!
Moon: It is difficult to resist your impression of the root of your anxiety, but I perceive another possibility which I suggest you deliberate on between now and a next session should you request one. In affirming a tension between finitude and infinitude one merely states the conditions of existence. There is no cause of anxiety here. Anxiety arises in despair: the refusal to be finite in relation to the infinite, but alternatively the refusal to be infinite in relation to the finite. In familiar terms, we share the characteristics of hurtling and falling, and each exists as a determinant and effect of the other. Freedom is the relation to the relation of possibility to necessity. Your anxiety may result from the relation of infinitude to finitude, as you seem to believe, or in your self it may be arising from a refusal of the denial of that relation that is being transferred to you by the despair of others. It may lie in the relation of your love to an imbalance towards abstraction and a denial of limitations in those you love, or its relation to an obsessive absorption in the everyday which denies possibility, in other cases.
Fullness, as I take your meaning, can be likened to the heat which creates the steam. Remember, as the old saying has it, a watched pot never boils.
Your anxiety may arise from your sanity in a sick world, or your own sickness…and on that note we must interrupt our conversation.
End of Session.
My definition of astrology is rather loose, if not perverse: it is a gaming of reality — feeling, time and form — which enhances meaning and expands it until it implodes for lack of, you guessed it, objectivity.
The world is made of subjectivity, not objects, and that is where astrology properly begins and ends. Unfortunately, as practised by many astrologers, it affirms the belief that we have an essential nature as subjects and can therefore be understood like objects as having independent existence.
We may feel no enmity, but as object to some we would befriend, we have become ’the enemy’. How is equanimity attained? Is it really despite yourself that you are someone’s enemy? Will you die at peace, or simply already dead to poverty and devastation?
You can find a SHA chart of the opposition of the perfectionist Sun in Aquarius to the confused Moon in Leo here, and the cast of my “Astrology” characters here. Game on!