Will data sciences change the fortunes of astrology?
14 billion years ago, was heard the first note.
A big bang.
And it’s been playing ever since – the wise say, in B Flat.
70 million years ago came an opposable thumb.
And Neanderthal walked just 250,000 years ago.
Man, erect and proud, took a little longer.
We became hunter gatherers.
We had only the forces of nature around us,
we were in awe.
The sun, the moon, the stars
hum a silent song as they twinkled along.
The ages kept rolling by.
Stone, iron and bronze.
(Heavy Metal came later.)
And faintly, we began hearing the song.
We started keeping the beat of time.
The nature, the pattern, the pass of days.
The sun, moon, the heavens have a rhythm,
the listeners said,
and that’s winter, summer, monsoon, spring.
We started wondering.
Are we alone,
are we created?
Is someone up there in the sky?
The one, with intelligent design?
Otherwise, this wonderland , this hugely curious place,
couldn’t have been;
imagined, designed, engineered, crafted.
And we started worshipping,
the first religion, animism
the first gods, everything mysterious
and, the wrath of nature
drought flood tsunami fire.
While much didn’t make sense, much did.
We figured. The dance in the sky,
the changes on the terrestrial are correlated.
That it must be the language of the creator,
a twinkly, sign language.
The Vedic Indians
The Western civilisation
Each culture developed its own methodology
for making meaning of the sky.
Started keeping account of the stars.
And, juxtaposing the pattern in the sky
to foretell the script to which we were born.
We extrapolated these patterns
to our human lives.
We cleverly divided the sky into 12 parts.
Into familiar forms – bull and sheep and lion.
And now that we had the zodiac,
the rest of the narrative was easily told.
We were born under the influence of one zodiac or the other,
by extension, we had the properties of that animal.
The pattern and the animal foretold our tale.
We were born to a script,
and fatalistically, lived this script tight.
3800 years ago, or so goes the tale,
Abraham wrote the Book of Formation.
Astrology, cosmology, all the secrets of life.
The Jews kept account.
An account of stars, of things, of everyday life.
They noticed eclipses, conjunctions, exaltations.
Celestial harmonies and synchronies.
They noted Jupiter and Saturn,
line up thrice in Pisces.
A once in a millennium occurrence.
They applied geometrical intelligence.
Soon, they were able to see more.
A Star, they said,
will herald the Son of God.
“I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near;
A Star shall come out of Jacob;
A Sceptre shall rise out of Israel.”
Sometimes, events did follow the pattern told.
Sometimes, most times, not.
Sceptics called this superstition.
And people’s ability to ignore the inconsistency of prediction,
as conformation bias.
Believers, couldn’t care less.
For him who believed, patterns worked.
The inconsistency with scientific logic,
became the shortcomings of science of that day.
The believers identified.
With the characterisation in the zodiac.
The believers identified.
With the said descriptions of their personality.
Their likes and dislikes. Their mating preferences.
a good case of collaborative filtering.
Too generalised, psychologists will say.
Too broad-based, this zodiac and our natures.
We all have some cockroach,
some frog, some scorpion,
some goat, some sheep, some fish in us.
But somewhere the data provided by time,
by formations, the astrology of things,
had been appropriated by religion.
And that put it beyond the pale,
beyond the rigour of questioning.
The answers of astrology could never
be subject to the questions of science!
There have been honest attempts,
and here and there.
But with sincere and due respect
to all of them,
they were all on a meek scale.
With modest ambition and objectives.
Isn’t it a time then for the search?
For the ‘god’s particle’ of the astrological kind?
Compute the patterns, scientifically?
The stars and their mysteries, astrology,
deserves a large Hadron Collider of its own.
I think so.
As no other time in the history of man,
have we been able to see farther,
look deeper, hear clearer.
We see more stars than Abraham.
More constellations, than Ptolemy.
Make better models than Copernicus.
data sciences, astro and quantum physics.
We know all the particles.
This is the age that Kepler and Galileo
fantasised about on Sundays.
With our ability to map every movement in the sky.
With our ability to gather all data of events,
and shape of human life.
With our ability to big data all these inputs.
With our ability to see the causal relationship.
With our ability to detect the absence of it.
With our ability to bring enormous computational power.
With our ability to comprehend patterns.
We have a need to know.
That is what makes us erect and proud.
To know if there is a correlation,
between the great bear and the bear market,
to know if stars are dumb or smart.
I am no Yuri Milner,
I can’t spare no millions. For aliens.
I, though ,
am ready to commit my enthusiasm,
(alright, some money too)
behind a sincere data science led
scientific enquiry into a mystery
that is as old as civilisation.
Let me know, let me know for once.
Is that just a diamond in the sky?