M.D. (Medieval Doctor?)

How does one fight medieval thinking?

Well, one way is with more medieval thinking.

Leon Kass has shown himself to be a deep medieval thinker, and the man has been much derided in the blogosphere. I tried to answer his ancient thinking with more ancient thinking, with mixed results. (Some readers take satire a bit more seriously than maybe they should. But I'm glad they're reading and I welcome input.)

However, late the other night I heard ancient voices.

Soothsayers, maybe?

They told me to "look to the stars!"

And I realized that no one (at least no one that I know of) had bothered to do anything like a serious astrological analysis of the good doctor.

Astrology is still respectable enough to at least be worthy of consideration, isn't it? I mean, I may not be Joan Quigley, but I am at least competent, and I try to live up to my occasional title of "Eric G. Scheie, Astrologer at Law."

So, in the interests of giving a fair medieval shake to a fairly medieval man, I thought, "Hey, at least run an 'astro check' on the guy!"

Let me begin with my standard disclaimer. I am one of those amateur dabblers in astrology -- a dilettante, if you will -- who does not take it too seriously, and hence I dislike wasting time preparing elaborate "charts" -- which are a confusing mishmash of squares, trines, quincunxes and other meaningless gobbledygook. I think it's more fun to zero in on the most important (read most entertaining) stuff. Astrology is for me entertainment, and I would never base any important decisions on it. But I do enjoy it. And I offer the following in that spirit.

I lack Dr. Kass's time of birth (which would be helpful) but I do have his date of birth: February 12, 1939.

This is enough for me to decrypt the single most important aspect of his profile: his Sun Moon combination.

Kass is an Aquarius-Sagittarius.

The following comes from Jefferson Andersen's Sun Signs/Moon Signs (New York, Dell Books, 1978).

Sun in Aquarius/Moon in Sagittarius: The Dilettante

You are a deep thinker, given to the abstract and the philosophical. Extremely independent and imaginative, you are broadminded and fond of the exotic. Easily bored with the tried and true, you continually search for novelty and adventure. Inspiration is the key to your nature, but unfortunately your inspiration is not always grounded in practical reality. Your combination can sometimes produce the reckless drifter, content to wander from one new experience to another, always experimenting, hut never mastering. Dilettantism is all too apparent in the unique combination of Aquarius-Sagittarius.

Although intellectually inclined, you believe that experience is the best teacher and action the best use of knowledge. Forsaking the scholarly or the academic, you prefer instead to discover and create your own worlds and ideals. You have a thirst for travel, particularly in youth when your desire for independence reaches its peak. Settling down and applying your gifts doesn't come easily, especially then. The challenge for you is to give practical expression to some of those visions by focusing your talents on a single pursuit. You are honorable and conscientious, but any commitment to work, study, or profession too often feels like an imposition on your freedom, making it extremely difficult for you to develop the discipline and dedication necessary to accomplish something substantial.

Your independence is admirable and attests to your courage, but it's important for you learn to adapt to life's realities. Your rebelliousness may extend late into life, and eventually all that nonconformism may seem to have been simple selfishness. If you can learn to control that tendency, there is little you cannot accomplish. Natives of your combination include Charles Dickens. Charles Lindbergh, and Mozart.

A Sagittarius Moon can uplift the creative imagination arid originality of Aquarius, resulting in a very inventive and pioneering individuals—whether in politics, the arts, or the sciences. Your positive outlook and your casual, irreverent manner always attract people to you. Some may find you a bit peculiar because, like all Aquarians, you are eccentric. And some of your more unconventional interests may seem a little weird to most people. But you just love being different! Civilization be damned! You'll go your own way everytime, because you prefer it that way.

In love, you are an idealist and a romantic, but your curiosity about members of the opposite sex is endless, so you will undoubtedly have many affairs. Because of your extreme individualism, you may not fare well in a traditional marriage. If you should choose to settle down permanently, make sure you have an unconventional living; arrangement. Find a partner who respects your freedom and fans your intellectual enthusiasm.

Hey, I can begin to see why so many people who meet Kass like him! He's downright, well, likeable.

Bear in mind that this reveals the individual's basic Sun/Moon profile, as yet unaffected by the other positions of his planets. Such major negative tendencies as dilettantism (if that is a negative) can also be overcome, and in Kass's case the argument may be made that it has been. But it is interesting to note that the man did drift around quite a bit -- as a physician, a biochemist, a philosophy professor, a ethicist, and finally, as a, um, politician? He's done a lot of things.

And what's the difference between a Renaissance Man and a medieval dilettante, anyway? A few centuries? Didn't yesterday's alchemists and barbers become today's scientists and heart surgeons? Why, I think one might be able to make the case that moral relativism is on the side of Dr. Kass!

Enough editorializing.

On to the Major Planets of Doctor Kass.

Can't you just feel the suspense?

(to be continued.....)

UPDATE: I have had Jefferson Andersen's Sun Signs/Moon Signs for a long time, and my copy is beginning to look like the medieval relic that it is. I thought it might be worth looking for a replacement copy, but alas! No Amazon used (although Amazon confirms its existence, and offers rave reviews); in fact the only mention I could find of it was here:

Andersen, Jefferson, Sun Signs. Moon Signs
This is my favorite book of all time, the one I turn to as soon as I learn someone's birthdate. Unfortunately it's out-of-print and I haven't been able to find it online. My copy is a little paperback published by Dell in 1978. It lists a clever title and a brief description for every sun/moon sign combination and I've found it incredibly accurate (only wrong once about a totally psycho boyfriend). I've been wanting to publish it online for years (since it seems to be unavailable otherwise and I think it's so valuable).
I couldn't have done a better job of taking the words right out of my own mouth! In fact I'll go one better; it has never been wrong about anyone -- not even the many "totally psycho" types I have known over the years.

Of course, there's always the first time!

posted by Eric on 03.17.04 at 11:43 PM


Hmmm.... Most interesting. I love those descriptions: "eccentric", "idealistic", "romantic", "creative", "independent", "imaginative" "extreme individualist". That's me! And _I_ was born under the sign of Aquarius.

Makes me wonder if there might be something in this astrology after all. I'm interested in all kinds of "crackpot" theories, and personality type theories, and "as Above, so Below". But I never was able to get into astrology. Astronomy fascinates me more, stars and planets, galaxies, clusters and superclusters of galaxies, the Big Bang, this dark matter and dark energy, the vastness and infinity of this Universe and possibly other Universes. If astrologers started talking about these things, I'd be more into it, I think. Interesting questions about it all...

Thanks Steven and a warm welcome again!

I share some of your tendencies, and if it's any consolation, my Sun/Moon combination is called "The Cobra" -- and it ain't a pretty picture (although I try to moderate my darker excesses).

Eric Scheie   ·  March 18, 2004 3:04 PM


Every time I'm tempted to post about Leon Kass I ask myself if there is some better way to counter his views aside from attacking them. What I ususally do instead is to write a post about how aging can eventually be reversed and that it can be reversed within our lifetimes if we just spend enough money on it. When I do that I feel much better because it is a more adaptive response.

I tell you this to encourage you do the same. People will ignore Kass if they come to believe that aging is really reversible. Support for research to improve and rejuvenate the human body will be enormous once people know it is possible.

To put it another way: The best defense is a good offense. Sell a better vision of the future.

If you need ideas about what to write about along these lines see my Aging Reversal archive on my FuturePundit site.

Randall Parker   ·  March 18, 2004 4:02 PM

Thanks Randall.

I see your point about getting people to ignore Kass by educating them about the future. I particularly agree that the best defense is a good offense. Selling a better vision of the future is of course the best way to counter Kass, but I don't want to neglect selling a better vision of the past, lest his medievalism prevail. Nor can I resist a little satire occasionally.

Eric Scheie   ·  March 18, 2004 11:01 PM

No problem. I'm just determined to get more people to think about and write about the possibility of reversing aging!

Randall Parker   ·  March 19, 2004 12:49 AM

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