Exploring Titus Burckhardt’s “Mystical Astrology According to Ibn ‘Arabi” continued:
Most modern critics of astrology no longer argue that astrology is fatalistic and therefore incompatible with Divine Providence. Instead the discussion revolves around astrology being incompatible with modern science. If you look up the word “astrology” in an encyclopaedia you will more often than not be told that astrology is a pseudo- science and can only claim a place in the history of human error. It is a historical curiosity, belonging to a time when misguided humanity believed the earth to be flat and the centre of the universe. Astrology lost its credibility once the Copernican system was established in the scientific community. From the critics standpoint and out of popular scientific understanding this is correct. But then the intellectual tools used cannot possibly help form a judgement. It is like using a toothbrush to hoe a garden with. The same applies for those advocates of astrology who theorise about gravitational grids, or planetary rays, or who compile statistical analyses. The perfect popular scientist is one-eyed and colour-blind. His only criteria for objectivity are measure, number and weight. The tools that he uses to understand reality can’t possibly comprehend an understanding of reality that takes Appearance seriously.
Titus Burckhardt sums it up this way:
“The discovery of the heliocentric system, which corresponds to a development both possible and homogenous but very particular to the empirical knowledge of the sensible world, obviously could not prove anything against the central cognition of the human being in the cosmos, only, the possibility of conceiving the planetary world as if one were contemplating it from a non-human position…” (p. 10)
He also quotes a passage from Frithjof Schuon’s ‘Fatalité et Progrès’:
“It is ‘legitimate’ for man to admit that the earth is flat, because empirically it is; on the other hand it is completely useless to know that it is round since this knowledge adds nothing to the symbolism of appearances, but destroys it uselessly and replaces it by another which could never express the same reality, all the while posing the inconvenience of being contrary to immediate and general human experience.”
What might be confusing is that the cosmology underlying astrology, and we will see this in Ibn ‘Arabi’s approach, is both helio- and geocentric. At this point we can safely say that an important key is understanding the nature of Appearance.