This was the first book to be written by Adrian Gilbert. It makes the case that our Solar System is an ordered whole and not a random collection of particles. Gilbert shows how, knowingly or unknowingly, the cosmic wisdom — what he calls astrosophy — suffuses our culture in all of its aspects: science, art, philosophy and religion. Based upon the psychological insights of C. G. Jung, the book is divided into four sections, which themselves represent four human types or attitudes of approaching the world: Sensation, Feeling, Thought and Intuition.
These four types are recognised as corresponding to the four elements of astrology: earth, water, air and fire.Accordingly, the four sections of the book present an esoteric understanding of astrosophy and how the four elements find their expression in the four fields of study: Science, Art, Philosophy and Religion. Thus the book itself is a picture or reflection of the very thing it describes: man in his relationship with the cosmos.
The author’s own views on the matter are made clear in a lucid Foreword, which sets the tone for the rest of the book:
‘We live in turbulent times for the spirit of man. After centuries of abuse, we are beset with fears for the safety of our ever more vulnerable ecosystem. The issues of nuclear proliferation, war in the Persian Gulf, poverty and hunger in the third world, unemployment for the masses and rising crime rates have tended to overshadow the utopianism of the sixties. As E. F. Schumacher stated so eloquently in his famous book Small is Beautiful, it is not possible to have permanent economic growth in a finite world. In the end resources must run out and with them disappear for ever that elusive quarry “quality of life” the gaining of which was the purpose of the “growth”.
For many, particularly young people, the world today seems to have few attractions and even fewer opportunities. Politics of right and left is dominated by economic questions, arguments over ownership and the sharing of the cake. These debates and struggles will become completely pointless when it is discovered that the “cake” has already been eaten. In any event, these materialistic philosophies offer a very narrow view on life and act as foster parents to the twin demons of envy and greed.
Yet beyond and behind every dark and gloomy storm cloud there still shines the Sun, even though its light be temporarily hidden from our eyes. We should not allow the mundane affairs of the world to keep us forever from seeking to raise consciousness, to find out what it means to be truly human and not just a consumer.
More and more people are seeking for the true meaning of life, for a higher purpose or faculty. They are trying to find a deeper wisdom which can give substance or meaning to their existence. However, to search is not necessarily to find. How is one to go further than what is commonly taught in schools and universities? The sheer diversity of knowledge, culture, art, science, philosophy and religion would seem to make this an impossible task. How is one to research such an enormity of human experience in one lifetime? The only way it can be done is to find seams or threads that run through this great tapestry of life and, by following them, to find a common denominator that will unify the diversity of a multifaceted research programme. One such cultural seam is Astrosophy, man’s appreciation of the cosmos.
Astrosophy literally means “star-wisdom” and is different from either Astronomy — the scientific study of the heavenly bodies — or Astrology, which is the study of their occult influences on organic life. Astrosophy, as defined here, is not a science in itself but is more akin to a kind of mental yoga. It is a method of bringing about a higher awareness of nature, oneself and ultimately the great creative power we call God, through the study and contemplation of the macrocosmic world of the heavens. In this contexts knowledge, scientia, is a path and not the goal itself.
…Wisdom (or sophia to give it its Greek name) is not the same as knowledge. A man can have knowledge and still be lacking in wisdom. To become wise his knowledge must first go through a process of fermentation. If the gathering of grapes and crushing them to make grape-juice can be likened to the work of the scientist, then fermentation is the work of a philosopher. The quality of wisdom is not itself knowledge but rather consciousness. No amount of knowledge can of itself add to consciousness just as no amount of unfermented grape-juice can be called wine. Yet to make wine it is still necessary to first crush grapes and to gain wisdom about a subject it is first necessary to have knowledge about it. Books cannot of themselves give wisdom, even if the knowledge they contain is true and verifiable. They can, however, give the juice of knowledge which if properly fermented in the individual may lead to wisdom…’
(from the Foreword, Copyright ©Adrian G. Gilbert 1991 & 2004).