The Vatican apparently is now interested in astrobiology, i.e. life among the stars. This has set many tongues wagging, with commentators pointing out that if life does exist on other planets, this would go against a literal interpretation of the Bible. I do not think this will be too much of a problem, as the Catholic Church has not let its magisterium be constrained by something so inconvenient as actually reading the source text up to now.
However – never mind about what happens with regards to Christianity when life on other planets is confirmed: more importantly, how will this affect the Qabalah?
- A Tree of Life Crop Circle which has been photoshopped by some teenager *cough* I mean created by an alien who knows about Athanasius Kircher.
The Tree of Life
I have heard some people argue that the Qabalah is in fact a universal principle, given that there have been instances on earth of Crop Circles in the form of the Tree of Life. (Strange how our alien brethren approve of the Kircher version of the Tree of Life, as opposed to, say, the Lurianic version!) Now the Sepher Yetzirah makes great mention of the fact that the Qabalah is based on the number ten, not nine, ten, not eleven. But… what kind of Qabalah would an alien with a different number of fingers to us humans have come up with?
Now some people, still pointing to the crop circles as proof, have tried to argue that the number ten is a universal principle which has nothing to do with the number of fingers that we have. However: the evidence is in Sepher Yetzirah that the magic number ten is indeed associated with our fingers, as Qabalistic attributions are given thereto: moreover, it attaches importance to being able to form letters of the Hebrew alphabet with ones fingers. This incidentally is how Leonard Nimoy devised the Vulcan Salute. It is actually the sign a Cohen makes as he is giving the valedictory blessing in a synagogue (it actually represents the letter Shin).
Most authorities are of the opinion that we use a decimal system as opposed to any other simply because we have ten fingers – because they are our first counting tools. I therefore say this. If aliens have a version of the Qabalah and the Tree of Life, it will be based not on Ten sephiroth, but on whatever number-base they happen to use – i.e. which is most likely to be the number of fingers they have, if indeed they have fingers.
The most popular forms of Astrology present on Earth are by their very nature Geocentric. The constellations are the way that the stars appear from Earth, and the belt of the Zodiac is defined by the route which the Sun – our Sun – takes through the heavens.
However, if Aliens had their own version of Astrology, firstly it would not be Geocentric; secondly it would be based on a completely different Sun and set of planets; and thirdly there would be no correlation to our constellations whatsoever, as their own would appear to be completely different. The only feature of our astrology which might feature in their version would be the fact that our Sun might be visible from their own solar system. This is significant because the development of Astrology on our own planet has been governed by attaching importance to that which is most visible (the Sun, the Moon), and then defining the rest of the system in relation to that. It is therefore reasonable to assume that Alien Astrologers would only attach importance to the objects which are most noticeable from their own home planet(s), which could mean that if our Sun is in what is to them a relatively obscure part of their sky, it may not enter into their consideration at all.
This is somewhat by the by, though, as I predict that Earth Astrology is soon going to be refuted according to its own logic. This has nothing to do with astronomy purporting to have refuted it already. I shall explain: Earth Astrology relies on a given birth / event / etc having a time, date and place somewhere on the planet’s surface, because the key to the Horoscope is the Ascendant, the sign which is on the horizon at the time for which the chart is drawn.
However, the higher one is above the ground, the more fluid the concept of the horizon becomes, until when one has left the Earth altogether, it ceases to have any meaning. Thus – at some point in the future, there is going to be a human being born in outer space, and when that happens, it will be impossible to draw up a horoscope for that person. Therefore I say that at that point conventional astrology will have to be abolished, because there will be at least one person alive to whom it cannot apply.
There is such a thing as Heliocentric astrology, although because of the peculiarities of the heliocentric system it is not suitable for dealing with the kind of issues for which geocentric astrology is currently used. However, even Heliocentric astrology is going to be refuted when the first human being is born outside our solar system. Which brings me back to Alien Astrology – if aliens do exist in other solar systems, then we cannot apply our astrology to them.
The Age of Aquarius
Finally, I shall just like to briefly mention this: the whole idea of cosmic ages is another geocentric notion which is going to go the same way as geocentric astrology. Now, as noted above, I predict that astrology is going to be refuted when at least one human being is born in outer space. Reason suggests that this is going to be sometime in the next hundred or two hundred years. The Age of Aquarius is due to begin in the next hundred or two hundred years – at approximately the same time that the whole concept of the Age of Aquarius will be refuted according to the logic of Astrology. Irony of ironies! Were I a superstitious man I would be inclined to say that the birth of the first human in space will be the actual event that signifies the Age of Aquarius. In any case the challenge of the next great aeon will be to move away from a human-centric, ego-centric, notion of mysticism and to evolve a more cosmological outlook.
Take me home, country space-ways
Good things, like valuable parcels being delivered by the Royal Mail, often take a long time in arriving. Just this morning the Daily Telegraph reported that Sri Lankan-born scientist Chandra Wickramsinghe has claimed that all humans are in fact aliens from outer space. What the Daily Telegraph failed to point out that Wickramsinghe, along with his late mentor and colleague Fred Hoyle, has been saying the same thing for around thirty years or more. There’s nothing like up to the minute reportage!
Professor Chandra Wickramsinghe
The basis of Wickramsinghe’s claims is a phenomenon termed Panspermia, the notion life on this planet was in fact “seeded” by organic material brought to earth by passing (or in some cases impacting) comets. If you are thinking at this point that this sounds like a plot device from an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, then you are correct – the show’s writers lifted the idea from Hoyle & Wickramsinghe’s work.
Note however that the theory of Panspermia does not by itself, contrary to the Telegraph’s headline writers, suggest that we are in fact aliens, or that alien life does exist elsewhere in the universe – merely that the seeds of life may come from outer space. However there is at least one theory by Francis Crick (he of DNA fame) that Panspermia might in fact be “directed” – i.e. brought either deliberately or inadvertantly by our extraterrestrial brethren. Apparently the rationale for directed Panspermia is that the probability of such life-seeds hitting earth by mere chance is literally astronomic.
See also: The Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology.
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Tagged as aliens, astrobiology, chandra wickramsinghe, francis crick, fred hoyle, panspermia, star trek