From Hegel to Marx to Adorno – The Astrology of Dialectics

As fitting for someone who goes by the name Capricorn Research, the writer has the Sun and Moon in the sign in the 12th house together with 28 degrees of it rising. This Capricorn Ascendant is part of a very tight T Square in opposition to Uranus at 26.30 and Jupiter at 27.30 Cancer which focuses onto an apex Neptune at 28 Libra in the 9th house.

This information would naturally please any sceptics as it conjures the picture of someone with an obsessive nature ( Capricorn ) with an addiction ( opposition ) to  astrology ( Jupiter / Uranus conjunction ) and a tenuous hold on reality ( apex Neptune ). But then any such disbelievers would be using astrology to attack the subject, so its a win / win situation anyway.

They would also be further confounded by the fact that the writer first discovered this noble and cosmic science when his Sun progressed to the opposition to Uranus in his early twenties. Over the following 18 months the progressed Sun moved through the T Square and went over the Ascendant. This was the sunrise of my life.

Up until this revelation, I had been studying Politics and Philosophy at University, operating under the illusion that this subject would naturally reveal the fundamental causes and explain the mysteries of life. As I said I have an apex Neptune in the 9th house.

As my progressed Sun reached Uranus, I immediately dropped out of University and spent the rest of my life in proper study.

Up until that point however, as a triple Capricorn, I had been impressed and intrigued by the materialist philosophy of Marxism and its exceptionally narrow perception of the Universe. I held to the dialectic view of history.

Dialectics is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that has been central to Western philosophy. It originated in ancient Greece, and was made popular by Plato. The dialectical method is discourse between two people holding different points of view about a subject, who wish to establish the truth of the matter guided by reasoned arguments. The purpose of the dialectic method is the resolution of disagreement and search for truth through rational discussion.

The philosopher whose name is most associated with the dialectical method is a German of around 200 years ago, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. According to Hegel, history progresses as a dialectical process.

Hegelian dialectic works in a threefold manner, a thesis which gives rise to its opposite, an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between the two is resolved by means of a synthesis.

The terms he used were Abstract-Negative-Concrete.

This suggests that any thesis put forward is naturally incomplete, it is too abstract. In order for it to produce something significant or concrete, it has to be first opposed and tested by its negative. The testing of this argument by its opposite enables the synthesis of something workable and concrete to emerge.

Hegel’s view was that all things or ideas have internal contradictions. These contradictions lead to the dissolution of the thing or idea in its simple form and to a higher-level, more complex thing or idea that includes the contradiction.

Hegel had a very analytical and constructive view of history. This dialectical process was the way in which human history progressed leading to the realization of the rational, free and equal citizens. His view was that the dialectical process was a natural one that would lead steadily and inevitably towards the perfect state of human existence.

Hegel saw the dialectic as the means by which, through contradiction and tension, human history represents the unfolding of human freedom as the expression of the world spirit, a gradual movement through contradiction of the necessary stages for the fulfilment of the absolute.

History is a constant movement of progressive change through the synthesis of opposition.

So what kind of chart might we expect for Hegel ?

It goes without saying that Mercury would be strong and there is a definite feel of the purity of the analytical Virgoan approach to life.

We would also expect Jupiter, the planet that rules philosophy to be strong.

But there is something about this thesis / antithesis / synthesis vision that sits well with a particular kind of astrological pattern. It is the essence of the T Square.

The T Square is based on an opposition between two planets pulling in contradictory directions. The energy and conflict created by this tension of opposites is projected strongly onto a third planet that is in square to both of them.

This third planet becomes the synthesis of the tension between the two and it indicates the main thrust of the individuals energy. The person has to focus on the apex planet in order to deal with the tensions implicit in the opposition. The outcome or synthesis of the person’s life is the expression of the apex planet.

And because change is a constant in Hegel’s view of history, we would be looking for a Mutable T square. So how about this one.

 

Georg Hegel

Unfortunately no birth time is available but a noon chart is perfectly adequate for our purposes. Hegel is naturally enough an analytical Sun Virgo. He also has a Scorpio Moon, so he is not someone to take a superficial view of life.

But of course the main thrust of his chart is a Mutable T Square.

The philosophical thesis is provided by Jupiter dignified in Sagittarius, a truly visionary placing. The antithesis is represented by Mars. Of course it has to be, no other planet would do.

Mars is the one that fights and contradicts, to assert the antagonistic view, particularly when it is in opposition aspect.

This opposition focuses onto Mercury in Virgo which is conjunct Neptune. So Hegel’s synthesis results in an extremely positive even spiritual view of man’s progression towards perfection. What better way to describe that than an apex Mercury / Neptune conjunction in Virgo ?

Hegel’s philosophy would have a profound impact on many future philosophical schools, including schools that opposed his specific dialectical idealism, such as Existentialism, but the main reason that we know so much about him was because of his influence on the thinking of Karl Marx.

Marx took and rode with some aspects of Hegelian thought whilst dismissing other parts of it altogether. Marx was essentially a materialist thinker who was not interested in the philosophy for its own sake, only in it’s application to world of matter. He believed that dialectics should deal not with the mental world of ideas but with “the material world,” the world of production and other economic activity.

He therefore used Hegel’s views to construct a system that later became known as ” dialectical materialism “.

The basic tenets of dialectical materialism are that everything is material and that change takes place through “the struggle of opposites.” Because everything contains different elements that are in opposition, “self-movement” automatically occurs; the conflict of opposing forces leads to growth, change, and development, according to definite laws.

Under these doctrines the social, political, and intellectual life of society reflect only the economic structure, since human beings create the forms of social life solely in response to economic needs. Men are divided into classes by their relations to the means of production—land and capital. The class that controls the means of production inevitably exploits the other classes in society; it is this class struggle that produces the dynamic of history and is the source of progress toward a final uniformity.

Marx believed that the feudal structure whereby the land was owned and controlled by a small aristocracy with an underclass of peasants who actually did all the work was an example of dialectical materialism in action. The thesis of the landowners, carried within itself the antithesis of the serfs which made a revolution inevitable. The result of this industrial revolution was the synthesis of the rise of the capitalist bourgeois class.

As dialectical materialism is a constantly changing and responding pattern, this synthesis naturally became itself a new thesis with the means of production in the hands of this emerging capitalist class. In order for it to work at all, it had to create an industrial proletariat of factory workers.

So the means of production was still largely in the hands of the few which created the new antithesis of the proletariat. The tensions between these opposites would naturally and inevitably result in a revolution that would produce a new synthesis.

Marx foresaw the result of this would be a dictatorship of the proletariat, which would take control of the means of production.

This would be the next stage and the process would continue, presumably through further dialectical processes until the means of production was shared equally throughout mankind.

 

Karl Marx

 

Many people are surprised to find that the father of socialism and the political theorist behind the two greatest revolutions in human history, the Russian and Chinese, was a Sun And Moon Taurus.

Taurus is the one sign that is most associated with maintenance of the status quo. So how can such a figure as Marx be a double Taurus ?

Taurus is the sign of materiality, of money and possessions. It is the sign of the means of production itself. Marx was essentially an Earth person, a materialist having no time whatsoever for either an Air based intellectual conception of the world or a Water sign emotional interpretation of it. Neither was he interested in a Fire sign type notion of the inspiration of individuals.

To Marx, the whole of human history was a simple mechanistic and inevitable process based around the ownership of the means of production.

So not only was it entirely appropriate that Karl Marx was a Sun and Moon Taurus, it’s also right that this conjunction should occur in the 2nd house of money.

Marx like Hegel had a Jupiter / Mars opposition indicating the dialectical opposition fundamental to his thinking.

An important difference between them was that whereas Hegel had this opposition between signs that are principally concerned with ideas, Sagittarius and Gemini, Marx’s combination was between  Capricorn and Cancer.

This opposition is the one that signifies dialectical materialism.

Jupiter in Capricorn very simply sums up the thesis of the feudal landowning classes or the capitalist bourgeoisie.

Mars in Cancer represents the peasants working in the fields or the proletariat in their factories.

But there is another extraordinary tie up between the charts of Hegel and Marx.

The conjunction at the apex of Hegel’s T Square representing his positive and progressive synthesis of the dialectical opposition was Mercury at 13 degrees 53 Virgo and Neptune at 11.15 Virgo.

Marx’s Sun and Moon are in exact trine aspect to both of them at 13.56 and  11.16 Taurus respectively. In 35 years of staring at charts, this is the closest double conjunction synastry aspect that Capricorn Research has ever seen.

It is an incredible link between the two German philosophers. As it was Marx’s Sun and Moon that were involved, its clear that the author of Das Kapital was giving a specific practical expression of Hegel’s intellectual ideal ( Mercury /Neptune ).

By way of light relief in the middle of this article I will digress to a famous Monty Python sketch, the Communist quiz show which featured Eric Idle as the quizmaster and the contestants of Marx, Lenin, Che Guevara and Mao Tse Tung.

” The first question is for you Karl Marx. The Hammers is the nickname of what English football team ? ” Cue, long silence and strange look from a thickly bearded Terry Jones as Marx.

” No, well bad luck Karl, it is in fact West Ham United “…..

” Our special prize is this beautiful lounge suite. Now Karl has elected to answer questions on the workers control of factories, so here we go with question number one.

The development of the industrial proletariat is conditioned by what other development ?

Jones / Marx  answer –  The development of the industrial bourgeoisie.

It is indeed well done Karl, you’re on your way to your lounge suite.

Question 2  A struggle of class against class is a what struggle ?

A – A political struggle.

Good yes it is indeed, well done Karl, one final question and that beautiful non materialistic lounge suite will be yours

Final question – Who won the English football cup in 1949 ?

Er — the workers control of the means of production…the struggle of the urban proletariat..

No, it was Wolverhampton Wanderers who beat Leicester 3 – 1.

Oh shit. ”

In a sense one has to admit that the Marxist view of history was quite effective and it certainly dominated most of the 20th century. But it was also essentially narrow and reductive and far from producing a situation of continuing progress and improvement, many people would say its overall impact was regressive.

So dialectical materialism failed to produce a positive outcome. Although another way of looking at it would be that the synthesis of Russian state socialism in the USSR became a thesis itself which inevitably created an antithesis amongst the people who lived under its controlled and oppressive regime. Eventually these same people would rise up and revolt against the state as they did in 1989 with the ensuing collapse of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Empire. A new pseudo capitalist synthesis emerged.

So in this respect dialectics continues to play a part and to evolve, its just that the trajectory was not in line with the positive results that Marx predicted.

During the 20th century another German philosopher emerged whose main theme was that of the dialectic.

Theodor Adorno was known for his critical theory of society. He proposed a new term ” negative dialectics “. Adorno stated that the tradition of dialectics worked but he asked us to reject the idea that the outcome of the dialectic will always be positive.

He asserted that it is an open process that could have developments that could be positive or negative.

Adorno’s view was that the dialectic was the way to understand an idea first put forward by Heraclitus that everything is constantly in flux, and that the basic condition of the world is change and not stability. But change towards what?

In Hegel it is a kind of spiritual absolution and enlightenment and in Marx, it is the liberation of humanity in some form of communist society. In Adorno’s negative dialectics there is no necessity for things to turn out in a certain way.

Negative dialectics is a more open ended system than either Hegel or Marx’s version. The results of the dialectic process of thesis /antithesis / synthesis are conditioned by contingent events and not by a pre-given endpoint. Change itself is the nature of things, it can be seen as positive or negative, it doesn’t matter.

This view is in a sense more connected with an astrological view of the world where change and the movement of the planets is the only constant.

With this in mind it is very interesting to have a look at Adorno’s chart to help us understand how he came to see things this way.

 

Thedore Adorno

 

Fascinatingly Theodor Adorno was a Virgo, like Hegel. He also had Virgo rising at 12.13 of the sign, his ascendant was right in the middle of Hegel’s Mercury / Neptune conjunction.

Hegel’s Mercury / Neptune conjunction in Virgo shows his view that the movement of the dialectic is a spiritually positive one. Adorno also has the two planets in aspect but this is the more difficult square, so he lacks Hegel’s view of an inevitable positive outcome.

Also the chief aspect pattern in Adorno’s chart is not a T Square, but a Mutable Grand Cross. The Grand Cross is considered to be the most stressful and difficult aspect pattern. In Mutable signs it would suggest constant challenge and perpetual change.

Adorno’s Sun is part of the Grand Cross making an opposition to Jupiter in Pisces in the 7th, but both of these planets are square to a Uranus / Pluto opposition. These two are the planets of revolution, indicating that the only thing we can rely on is constant change and upheaval.

The fact that all of this is figured as a difficult Grand Cross makes it easy to understand Adorno’s negation of Hegel’s view that the dialectic process must be a positive one for human growth.

Theodor Adorno’s period of peak influence was during the 1960s when his theories impressed many of the younger generation of left wing revolutionary activists like Angela Davis.

Its interesting that he was born with such a prominent Uranus / Pluto opposition because the period when his influence extended widely was while Uranus and Pluto formed a conjunction around his Sun in mid Virgo in the middle of the 1960s.

Pluto was conjunct his Sun when his most famous work ” Negative Dialectics ” was published in 1966.

Adorno’s time in the philosophical limelight was short-lived however as he died suddenly of a heart attack in August 1969. Pluto had just made its final contact in the Grand Cross that year, a square to his natal Uranus.

Whilst it is not strictly relevant to this article it is very interesting to look at the synastry between the charts of Theodor Adorno and his wife Gretel.

Gretel Adorno was a chemist.

Gretel Adorno

 

Her Sun is at 18 degrees Gemini in very close square aspect to Theodor’s Sun and right in the middle of his Grand Cross.

Gretel also has the Sun in aspect to Pluto and Uranus, an exact conjunction and opposition.

She also has a Mercury / Neptune aspect in this case the conjunction.

Jupiter is also in close aspect to her Sun, a trine.

Theodor’s Moon is exactly conjunct Gretel’s Venus. The Adornos were a very close couple, soul mates.

It is also notable that Gretel’s Venus is in the 8th house of death and she was devastated by Theodor’s sudden heart attack. She made an attempt on her own life soon after and although she lived for another 24 years, her health was impaired as a result of her attempted suicide.

One of the most powerful things about astrology is that it gives credit to the principle of oppositions.

So much of conventional thinking is propelled by the notion that there is a right thing to do or be or a right direction to move in. People feel a tremendous pressure from themselves and others to do the right thing. But we are made up of many different planetary energetic pulls, some even working diametrically opposite each other.

Astrology is fundamentally about the interplay of opposites, day and night, winter and summer, Sun and Moon.

Astrology allows people to contain contradictions, it even indicates that this is right and proper and that if we are going to grow at all we have to accept these opposites.

It is Astrology that is the true dialectic.

 

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