Monday, October 17, 2011

Something's Happening Here

Last week Tom Friedman, op-ed columnist for the New York Times wrote a piece entitled "Something's Happening Here",  about two books that present alternate views on the general social turbulence of the times.  One author sees current events as a "Great Disruption" and the other as a "Big Shift". Paul Gilding, an Australian environmentalist, sees the world wide demonstrations as evidence that our growth obsessed capitalistic system is breaking down. "Our system of economic growth, ineffective democracy, of overloading planet earth-our system- is eating itself alive." He argues that the demonstrations that are occurring are a result of the realization that for last 30 years all economic growth has affected only the one percent of people at the top.

Two other authors, John Hagel III and John Seely Brown in their book "The Power of the Pull", see what is happening as the early stages of the "Big Shift", which merges globalization with the Information Technology Revolution.  We experience this shift as the growing stress that comes as we continue to operate with institutions and systems that are increasingly dysfunctional. However, this cultural shift also brings with it a huge flow of new ideas, innovations, markets and collaborations.   It is this flow of innovation that brings human potential to the forefront as both individually and collectively we have to respond to this flood of new opportunities, and we will be the better for it.  I am always amazed how often Friedman has his finger on the pulse of things.  I use astrology to understand, he just intuits.

Ultimately both positions are correct.  The demonstrators in Lower Manhattan are evidence of the "Great Disruption" as were the young people in Tahrir Square last January, and  Mohamed Bouazizi, the young man of Tunisia who set himself on fire in protest of governmental harrassment last December the 17th, which event triggered all the disruptions since.  Since "Occupy Wall Street" began about a month ago, as of today, it has spead to 105 cities in this country (even our small village on eastern Long Island had a demonstration Saturday) and other European capitals. 

I would guess that most of these demonstrators are part of the generation born 1984-1998, those individuals aged 13-26 (Mohamed Bouazizi was). This group has the planet Neptune in Capricorn, as Wendell Perry points out in his article in the current Mountain Astrologer magazine, "Are You Ready for the Neptune in Capricorn Generation?" Neptune is the planet of our dreams, what we idolize, our hope for the future, our visions of what utopia will be like.  This generation is very idealistic about government and institutions (Capricorn) wanting them to take RESPONSIBILITY for the common good (Capricorn).

The last time Neptune was in Capricorn was 1820-1834.  Those young people were just coming of age in 1848-9 when  there was a wave of evolutionary upheavals in almost every capital in Europe, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Dresden, Baden, Prague, Rome, Milan.  The University students in Vienna forced the Austrian Emperor to dismiss his minister, Prince Metternich, who had been in power for 30 years (sound familiar?). The students  (later disenfranchised workers stood with them)  had to march while being fired at by the autocratic Austrian government. Each generation's job is to bring the world's attention to what they see as the defining injustice of the era.  We did it with the Vietnam War.

In addition to their innate sense of wanting the best for all of society, not just the privledged , the current generation has the planet Pluto in Scorpio.  Pluto rules Scorpio in part and so is very powerful.  These demonstrators have a tenacity, ruthlessness and passion which will set them apart.  What they choose to take on as their cause they will never give up on until it is accomplished, or they die (Mohammed Bouazizi) as it comes from the deepest part of their being.

I also see evidence of Friedman's second book, of this time being a great opportunity.  I was in NYC on Friday and took a taxi.  The taxi driver was quite excited with an almond bar he had dreamt up and was going to have produced.  He showed me all the wrappers of the ones on the market now, that his was better than.  He said he would never get rich driving a taxi but instead of complaining, used his ingenuity to come up with a product to sell to the masses.    I am sure there are lots of other examples out there.

The "Big Shift" that astrologers talk about is the move into more Aquarian principles-where ideas, inventions, group collaborations, wealth and gender equality and freedom of the individual to live with dignity are among the important themes.  The big shift for this astrologer is this move into a post-materialistic society. Believe it or not by the time that Saturn and Jupiter met again in early Aquarius in December of 2020 and Pluto enters Aquarius in 2023, we will be in an era where our relations with our fellow men will be valued, not the size of our bank account. 


  1. Kate: Good insights about the current chaos. Keep it up. I'll be back.