Thursday, February 19, 2009

Uranus Vs. The Tolstoy Effect

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."

-Carl Sagan


"I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives."

-Leo Tolstoy


I gave up on being able to wear a watch a long time ago. It's a common enough phenomenon: you probably know (or know of) someone like that. It's one of those strange things that everyone has heard of, or is familiar with, and yet nothing (so far as I can tell) has ever been done to dig further into the matter, scientifically.

We are all prone to The Tolstoy Effect. We expect to see things work a certain way, therefore we do see things work a certain way. The most intellectually dishonest skeptic and the most rigorously scientific astrologer have that in common. This doesn't just apply to what we call "the paranormal" either.

Consider the phenomenon of "spontaneous remission." Almost no research has been done into it. Logically, it's easiest to assume that if a diagnosed incurable illness goes away on its own, the diagnosis is wrong. So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised if (as one study discovered) only about one in ten cases of spontaneous remission are even reported in the first place. After all, if you were a doctor, would you want to report you may have given a patient a death sentence by accident?

And yet, damned near every doctor out there has seen it happen. "The other doctors may have bungled their diagnoses, but not me. I went over the test results repeatedly, and yet..."

In my case, I've spent most of my life expecting electronics to fail at a higher rate than they appear to for the average person. Clocks, microwaves, computers, telephones... they all have an unfortunate tendency to not merely break down, but screw up around me spontaneously. They do so more than they should... and when I am under stress, the phenomenon (string of coincidences?) is dramatically amplified.

As a long-term chronic insomniac, I've had the opportunity to have more than one CAT scan and EEG done on myself. If you've never had either, let me tell you: they are more uncomfortable than they look on TV. And every time I've had one of those tests done, I've gotten stressed out. And every time, I get to hear some variation on those magic words: "Um, sorry, we're having some trouble with the equipment...."

If I was going to blame this on something in my birth chart, I'd blame it on my strongly aspected natal Uranus-Pluto conjunction. All I can tell you for sure is that the ongoing Saturn-Uranus opposition has been twanging on my Uranus-Pluto conjunction (and squaring my natal Sun) for months now, and the problem has been more pronounced the whole time. And yesterday, as the transiting Moon squared the conjunction, this blog vanished for a while. And both my computers developed debilitating issues. And my internet connection slowed to a crawl. And my cordless phone setup stopped working properly.

And (coincidentally, I'm sure) my records have vanished from the Government's systems.

This is by no means a new thing with me. Inconvenient electromagnetic phenomena have been following me most of my life. It's only now that I am reluctantly coming to terms with it.

So remember: the next time you think you see a ghost, or a UFO, or have a sudden precognitive flash that something is going to happen (and then it does)... remember: the simplest solution to any given situation is usually the best.

The problem with that, of course, is that sometimes the simplest explanation is just plain crazy.

That, and if there really is such a thing as "mutant super-powers"... why the hell couldn't I have at least gotten a useful one?

6 comments:

Nathan said...

My friend Purple has the same problem with electronics. It took him years before he owned a computer.

Lara said...

hoo hoo hoo, Magneto...

I also have this (so far) useless super-power. I can wear a watch (my g'mother couldn't) but I kill electronics. not computers but printers. I have ten dead printers in my garage. I can't read a compass: the needle always points to my heart. I have a diagnosed electrical heart condition that supposedly isn't life-threatening.

I have pluto-uranus opposite my sun-mercury on the spine of a kite.

satori

Matthew The Astrologer said...

Hmmm... if I didn't know better, I'd almost say I feel a research project coming on...

And... Magneto? Hell, I woulda settled for Toad.

Lara said...

I always get Wolverine in those meme quizes.

this is the first time I've encountered this particular phenomenon in another person who speaks astrology.

granted, it's not my first language, but I know how to ask where the bathroom is located.

ex.blue said...

All wrist watches I've ever had would stop, well, not stop, but jam at 2:10, the hand showing seconds would still work... few seconds forth, then back...

And I have always had trouble with portable devices such as walkmans, cell phones, MP3 players lately. I'd either at least break some small plastic somewhere, break them completely, get them lost or stolen...

Mercury conj. Mars in 2nd HSE (Gemini) opposed by Neptune in 8th HSE (Sag, ruler of 12th HSE).

Glimmer said...

I kill watches too!