In the mid 1990s I had a male boss who was neat and tidy. I asked him if he was always that way.
“Yes,” he replied. “My mom raised me right.”
While I had meant it as a compliment, I was still struck by his comment that his mom “raised him right.” That meant that being neat and tidy was a virtue.
By the mid 1990s, being neat and tidy had transformed from a virtue into a negative quality called “anal retentive.” What was a virtue was now a flaw in one’s personality.
I didn’t tell my boss.
Today this man might have even been treated for obsessive compulsive disorder!
So how do parents today raise their children? “Pick up your jacket from the floor. Hang it up, but not too straight.”
When blogging recently about greed, I came to realize that a quality once a vice was now socially sanctioned under consumerism and transformed into a virtue by a society that bases its economy on consumption.
Economy, thrift, frugality and resourcefulness are defunct virtues now that greed is elevated. None of these moribund virtues are good for the US economy.
Is it Freaky Friday? Have our virtues become vices and vices virtues?
As President Dwight D. Eisenhower left office in 1961, part of his farewell speech included a warning against “the military industrial complex.”
The entire farewell speech is both beautiful and prescient. A five-star general, Eisenhower certainly understood the need for security but also spoke toward the need for balance. Balance – that’s a Libra keyword and Astrotheme shows Eisenhower to have both sun and moon in Libra.
The word balance occurs ten times in the speech. This paragraph contains the most uses:
But each proposal must be weighed in light of a broader consideration; the need to maintain balance in and among national programs – balance between the private and the public economy, balance between the cost and hoped for advantages – balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between the actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.
Later in his speech, he portends the future (“the element of time”):
Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
What’s a citizen to do? Eisenhower advises:
Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Is it a virtue or vice to “compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery?”
Today challenges to the establishment – government and business – can earn one the label “conspiracy theorist.” Challenging large, complicated power structures is not a virtue.
Wikipedia says that the term conspiracy theory has been around since the early 1900s but became popular in usage as an “alert and knowledgeable citizenry” tried to understand how John F. Kennedy came to be assassinated.
Analysts look for patterns and spend a lot of time trying to verify those patterns. Sometimes the interpretation of those patterns is correct, sometimes it is not. Part of the analytical personality is the desire to be right which can result in the defense of ideas that are ready for new information. Yet in learning, being wrong is part of the process just as failure is a part of success.
Not all theories are conspiracy. However, power is a complicated matrix of relationships and when looking into power structures, there are bound to be dependencies. The dependencies don’t create conspiracy but suggest complicity arising from those dependencies.
Maybe “conspiracy theory” should be renamed “complicity theories.” Looking into our own shopping and investing habits may reveal our own complicity.
Outer Planets in Capricorn
The three outer planets – Uranus, Neptune and Pluto – have gone through the authoritarian sign of Capricorn in the last 30 years.
Neptune spent 15 years in Capricorn from early 1984 – early 1998. Uranus spent 7 years in Capricorn from late 1984 until early 1996. Pluto began transiting Capricorn in January 2008 and will end this transit in late 2023 – early 2024. Saturn also spent a couple years (1988-1990) in Capricorn adding its own energy to Uranus and Neptune.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, I believe, came the idealization and spiritualization of business which is where greed transformed into consumerism. Astrologically, this fits with Capricorn which supports authority and structure. Authority said it was okay to spend every penny we have and then borrow some more. We trusted authority.
During this same time there was a rise in the study of business, which helps to idealize it. Business grew into large conglomerates. With big comes power. Today no individual can compete with or win a fight with a large New York banking house or Walmart.
Is business the new government? Should an “alert and knowledgeable citizenry” take a deeper look into the mechanics of big business?
In the concluding chapter of Russ Baker’s book about the Bush Family called Family of Secrets he explains that in trying to understand how a man like George W. Bush became president has “. . . inadvertently, invited us to examine anew many things we have long taken for granted. He enabled me, for instance, to gain a whole new understanding of how power works in America.”
Russ Baker admits that his fear of being labeled a conspiracy theorist created an internal censor that he had to “resist again and again.”
Time and again, there has been a rush to bury inquiries into the most perplexing events of our time, along with a determination to subject dissenting views to ridicule. And the media weren’t just enabling these efforts; they were complicit in them – not least by labeling anyone who dared to subject conventional views to a fresh and quizzical eye as a conspiracy theorist.
Pluto in Capricorn
Capricorn, ruled by Saturn, is authority and structure. Authority and structure are elements of life, but not necessarily the most fun elements. Yet, they are critical to the smooth functioning of any society.
Like all qualities, authority and structure need to maintain balance. Transiting Pluto in Capricorn (beginning in 2008) has revealed some areas of authoritarianism in our society such as universal surveillance, universal health care and the right of the government to label you a terrorist (an undefined term) and imprison you forever.
Russ Baker explains that his friends dissuaded him from publishing his information in Family of Secrets, although they found it both “credible and highly disturbing,”
I began to realize I was experiencing the very thing the process is designed to induce. The boundaries of permissible thought are staked out and enforced. We accept the conventional narratives because they are repeated and approved, while conflicting ones are scorned. Isn’t this how authoritarian regimes work? They get inside your mind so that overt repression becomes less necessary.
Baker then asks who this serves.
As this book demonstrates, the deck has long been, and continues to be, stacked on behalf of big-money players, especially those in the commodities and natural resources – from gold to oil – and those who finance the extraction of those materials.
During Pluto in Capricorn it might be time to transform those ideas mislabeled conspiracy theory into a virtue, the virtue of alert knowledge seeking.
As in any analytical pursuit, you will chase false leads, make mistakes in reasoning and sometimes come up with crap that you later discard with the advent of new information. With more and more information available through the Internet, sorting out the accurate and relevant information becomes a greater challenge every day.
Next time you chat up your local conspiracy theorist at the corner coffee shop, consider that while you may not agree with all her theories, her mom definitely raised her right.