"Celestial Psychology"?

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"Celestial Psychology"?

Post by PlutonianEmpire on 25th June 2014, 8:19 pm

Earlier, I was going through some old forum posts of mine on another forum's social groups, and I found a bit of speculation that I wrote a year ago or so. Basically, knowing that our environment can sometimes have a subtle effect on behavior, I had been wondering if or how the night skies above us might have any influence in it. Smile

(For the record, I ran this by Sirius_Alpha just to be sure, and he permitted me to post this. Smile )

Celestial Psychology.

(Yes I just pulled that shiny new term out of thin air. Razz )

The past few months, I have been wondering if and how the skies above us affect our psychological or emotional states, and our attitudes. I know there's studies on how our environments (beyond the home and family) influence our behaviors. Two recent studies suggested that increasing heat raises tempers, and indicated a AGW-warmed world may lead to more large-scale conflicts, such as civil wars, and that increased urbanization contributes to increased individualism.

The part I've been wondering about is whether the mere presence or absences of particular celestial objects in the sky beyond our atmosphere influences the psychology of the human race in general, or how it might affect sapients on other worlds.

For instance, we have one sun, one moon that is tidally locked, one side visible to us at all times, and five plainly visible planets. I've no clue how the 5 visible planets affect civilizational psychology, so I don't know what to speculate on, but I've been wondering about our moon and sun.

The Moon:

For our moon, we all know we see the exact same side as it orbits us, and given the shapes of the maria on the moon, looking at it broadly gives the well-known "man-on-the-moon" look to it. It's like it's watching us. Constantly. Perhaps like a dictator, no? That's one of the things I've been wondering about, is, does our current lunar setup somehow deeply ingrain fascism and authoritarianism into so many current and failed political entities, in the very long term? I was wondering that since it seems to make it easier for either dictators to rise to power or simply just makes dictators subconsciously more tolerable.

The Sun:

As for our sun? We only have one. Plain and simple. No fancy Tatooine or Alpha Centauri here. Huge ball of white hot plasma shining down white light to our eyes. So, for my pondering about Sol's role in our psychology is, does it, again subconsciously, influence our more personal societal matters, such as religion? Right now monotheist Abrahamic religions are the most popular. Monotheism, of course, is the belief in a single God.

We all know sunlight is good for us. Not to mention it makes things nice and easy to see, and we like being able to see. The absence of sun is night. No sun equals no light equals hard to see, and thanks to evolutionary biology and psychology, we panic when we can't see because we don't know what is where and get afraid, and sometimes bad things happen, including hungry wildlife and sneaky assassins. And since we have a tendency to shun things we fear because we auto-assume they bring bad things.

So, we think darkness brings evil, thus light brings good, thus the sun, as a bringer of light, represents God in some subconscious form. Since there's only one of it, therefore, monotheism. Perhaps a huge natural (mandatory) contributor is we orbit the sun, so the sun is the center of the system. Regarding this, did the rise of heliocentric knowledge coincide with the fall of polytheism? I really don't know. If so, then may a correlation potentially exist between our theistic beliefs vs knowledge about our stellar neighborhood? It might also explain the rise of atheism, we more and more realize we're just one world out of many, among countless stars, and slowly realize we may simply be one sapient race among many.

Interestingly, the moon is way more noticeable at night, and given my earlier speculation about the moon helping dictators, it may be no surprise that the greater prominence of the moon at night than day potentially brings out the worst in these dictators, subconsciously.

However, the sun and moon are still the most prominent, so I daresay theism and autocracy may stay with us for the entire duration of humanity's occupation on Earth.

And Here There Be Sci-Fi Nerds!:

And being a sci-fi/sci-fa/space opera fan myself, I naturally wonder, would different orbital situations and/or different, or more, or fewer, prominent celestial objects correlate with or result in any differences in sapient psychology? This is why I post this OP.

I recall asking a few months ago in a questions thread (or the space cadets thread, can't remember) if things might have been different had Earth been a circumbinary world, with two central suns. Someone suggested that secondary promenint deities might exist in major religions, perhaps either as a female companion or a male companion. Perhaps with the former, misogyny might not have been as prevalent? Or perhaps with the latter, homophobia might equally, more or less, be less prevalent?

And if we, or any other sapient species here or elsewhere spread out among the stars, will the inclusion of other systems change things? Or, more likely, I'm assuming, the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors as a whole of the species stay approximately the same, with localized attitudes for individual systems (not much different than Earth's variations in cultures and sapient behaviors)?

I seek to learn more about this just as much as you may or may not seek to learn more. Smile

Thoughts?

I wanted to post this here because I was wondering what you guys here might think, because, I'm actually genuinely curious as to if or how the space surrounding other worlds might subconsciously influence their native inhabitants, if at all. Smile

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Re: "Celestial Psychology"?

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 25th June 2014, 8:43 pm

Early civilisations considered the sun and moons to be divine objects. If the Solar System were binary, or we had more than one moon, I'm certain it would have worked its way into the various mythologies.

Also, more compact planetary systems might usher in quicker revolutions in astronomy. The moons of Jupiter and the phases of Venus are *just* out of reach of the human eye. If our eyes had been only slightly better, we could have had the Copernican revolution eons earlier.

Polytheism in what was the civilised world at the time had already fallen by the wayside when heliocentrism came about.

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Re: "Celestial Psychology"?

Post by ThinkerX on 15th July 2014, 12:11 am

Hmmm...I hesitate to mention this, but...

Many years ago, I worked for a gas station which held the towing contract from the local cops. Somebody hit a tree at three in the AM, we were the ones who got to tow what was left back to the station.

We had two tow trucks. Each night, one of us would be the designated tow guy, and take the tow truck home with us.

On holidays, weekends, and full moons, there would be two designated tow guys. We actually went so far as to mark off the full moons on the calendar because for whatever reason, there'd be more accidents on those nights.

Years later, I dated a gal who worked at the local hospital. Same story: full moons, you expected to have your night off interrupted, get called in to patch somebody up.

Sheesh, that was a long time ago.

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