Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Can destiny be changed?

The book "Liao Fan's Four Lessons - A Classic Work About How to Change One's Destiny" is an insightful book. The entire book has been translated and can be found in this website:

The high accuracy of Destiny Reading is very much exaggerated in the beginning of the story. In the end, the hero of the story changed his destiny by his good deeds and the accuracy became 0.

The moral of the story is:

Destiny Reading can be highly accurate but we can change our destiny to make all predictions highly inaccurate. Therefore, the art of Destiny Reading is to advice people how to live a meaningful life within certain limits. A good astrologer can predict accurately your path of life according to your natal chart. A better astrologer can advise you how to make the prediction inaccurate to your favour.



Olman said...

Four Lessons is a very instructive book. If you are interested in a more verbose version, here you can find a translation more faithful to the original Chinese text:

Sherab Wong said...

Good piece Joseph, I like it.

joey said...

This is the best I`ve read in years, although I dont buy the karma thing,like needing hundreds of years of good deeds to have good fortune.
But Danny was being unreasonable on the other thread. If I predict he will pass an exam next year but he gets over-confident and fails to study, what will happen to the accuracy of my prediction??
Sometimes it`s better to be ignorant about the future

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joseph,

This argument is flawed.
It's easy to see why.
For example somebody goes to a doctor with certain problems.
The doctor listens to the story, takes his scans, charts and pictures, and then comes to a certain analysis and diagnosis that this patient has a deadly cancer.
Next special treatment is given and the cancer is cured.
So this person's "medical destiny" was changed by the doctor's advice.
But does this mean that the doctor's diagnosis has been proven inaccurate?

On the contrary, I would say.
If the advice works and the person manages to change his destiny, then it is evidence for the accuracy of the methods and the advice that was given based on them.

The different possibilities of changing away from the most likely path (aka destiny), are also part of the picture.


At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what name we chose to give to our service.
An astrologer can offer predictions, forecasts, prognosis, advice, change of destiny... you name it.

But accuracy will always be in the picture.
His predictions can turn out to be accurate or not.
His advice can also turn out to be accurate or not.
If the advice leads to even worse problems or nowhere near the expected "change of destiny", then it is hard to make the case that the advice was accurate.

And this is what we need to look at time and again, since we are not practicing an exact science.
And because it is not an exact science, the question of accuracy comes up, just like it always comes up in weather prediction, economy, medicine...
How accurate are the models, the methods, the techniques..?
Well, the outcomes in reality will tell us.

We have to ask the question of accuracy, not only to verify the quality of our work, but more importantly to improve our skill, methods and techniques.
The astrologer who doesn't question his accuracy is also not likely to improve on it.


joey said...

Well,I could show you a flaw in your argument as well.
If I predict that you will die on the 12 th of January next year in a car crash, but you avoid driving or are particularly careful while driving on that day ,thus avoiding death, we`ll never know if my prediction was accurate in the first place ,or whether it was changed by your cautiousness.

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joey,

If you predict I will die in car crash on January 12th, and it doesn't happen, then it is simply a bad prediction, the facts have proven it to be inaccurate.

Then it makes no sense to blame my staying home or my cautious driving for your prediction not coming true.

While it is good to study why and how a prediction failed, it stays a bad prediction because it was too inaccurate.
But a bad prediction is always a good prediction in the sense that something has been learned from it.
What more one can ask for?


joey said...

Some of the contents in this book are the typical teachings given by those at the top to the masses, "be good and you`ll be rewarded" to keep them under control. So I don`t takem them too seriously.
On the other hand, I`ve read that the Victorians exercised discipline,patience and self-control, not out of moral and religious grounds, but down to the fact that they knew the power self-control can give to those who master it.
Still, whoever said that didn`t mention the side-effects, fact that they were sexually repressed and obsessed, to the point of covering the legs of tables.
So, I`m not sure about the good of discipline and control.

joey said...

That doesn`t make sense.If I predict it directly to you and you stay home thus avoiding the accident, then you can`t claim it was a bad prediction. All you can say is you don`t know if my prediction would have been accurate had you been driving.
Unless you`re a Robot who will drive in spite of my prediction. You are forgetting human luck.
If the car crash is caused by your temper in that particular day you may need to control yourself, but there`s always the chance it might be caused by another driver, so I would still advise you to stay at home or use public transport.

Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

Do you think that every thing in life is predetermined?

If your answer is positive, then astrology should aim at being accurate. We can talk about accuracty when there is a standard and deviation from the standard produces inaccurate results and thus poor accuracy.

If your answer is negative, then astrology should not aim at being accurate but rather aim at being helpful.

Astrology can tell us what is before us on our path of life. The outcome depends on our reaction on encountering certain things in life. Our own character and personality of course play an important part and it is not difficult to see the probable outcome. However, it is only probable outcome and not predetermined outcome. Good advice can help us make the right choice to avoid the probable disaster.

An advice can be good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate, productive or destructive, but not accurate or inaccurate. Your choice of word is not appropriate.


Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joseph,

My answer is that life is not predetermined.
But to me that doesn't mean astrology should not aim to be accurate.
On the contrary, because life is not predetermined, that's why the question of our accuracy becomes much more important.

I agree with almost everything you have brought to this discussion.
Yes, life is not predetermined. Yes, there is a lot of "chaos" involved.
It is true that one can change "destiny".
I agree that two astrologers may read the same chart differently.
And I agree that an astrologer may chose to limit himself to only give "advice"..

But all this does not in any way imply that we cannot and need not aim for accuracy.
That's where the faulty argument is.

Remember, the weather man could bring just the same arguments that you have brought.
Weather is not predetermined, there is a lot of "chaos" involved.
Weather can also be changed as our Chinese friends proved.
And the weatherman can also say that he is only trying to be helpful.

But this doesn't mean he shouldn't aim for accuracy, because fishermen may die at sea when his reading of the weather picture is too inaccurate and he gives a wrong advice based on it.

It is no any different for the astrologer.
His advice is based at least partly on what he reads in the astrology chart picture, otherwise we cannot say that he is practicing his astrology.
So the quality of his advice will always depend on the accuracy of his reading of the chart picture.
It cannot be avoided, no matter what names he gives to his service.
He can call it advice, he can call it "being helpful", what difference it makes?

If he practices astrology then he depends on the accuracy of his astrology. That's logic 101.
Just like the meterologist depends on the accuracy of his weather charts and the accuracy of his analysis of the charts.
Both can claim that their field is chaotic and not predetermined, both can claim that they are only trying to help.
But accuracy has to be their first aim.
Because if their reading is not accurate then their "help" may not be helpful, it may well be harmful.
Fishers are sent out into sea just before a major storm hits them.
People are told it is a good time for them to start a business, and the next year they are bankrupt.
That's what will happen more often if the "helpful advice" is based on an inaccurate reading.
So to me it is just shocking to hear an astrologer say that accuracy is not his aim.

Of course an astrologer could only pretend to read something in the charts, and then give some general common sense advices to his client.
Then his advice would not depend on the accuracy of his astrology simply because he is not really using it.
But then he is not an astrologer, then he is only pretending to be one.


Olman said...

Dear Joseph and Danny,

Lets say, the chart can show some essential circumstances of an accident on a given date and time. It means that the astrological system is considered rather accurate.

The astrologer's accuracy is in understanding these circumstances.

If he can read only that there will be an (undefined) accident, he can advise the client to be careful on that date and time. It can't be considered accurate, as it did not revealed all factors provided by the chart. Technically: the client cannot prepare himself for an unknown danger.

If the astrologer understands the chart completely, he can tell the client that the accident will be a car crash, or even tell the car color. It is surely helpful and accurate enough to prepare the client.

The accuracy of the advice is relied on the accuracy of the reading which is relied on the accuracy of the astrological system.

However, the charts show just possibilities. If the client doesn't do anything to change the outcome of the predicted events, the accident is very likely to be happened. If the client does something to avoid the crash with high awareness, there is a chance that the accident will not be realised. A very good astrologer may even tell the degree of possiblity/chance, which is useful to see how much human effort needed to change the predicted outcome.

Olman said...

My opinion on the "accuracy" vs. "art" sides of the astrology:

The accuracy is to tell what the chart shows, as there is something to which we can correlate. The art is to tell the client how to change the predicted undesired events. So I think the advise measure is not the accuracy but the efficience.

joey said...

I dont think we can be that accurate. A few years ago I broke up with some friends because one of them had stolen a lighter. This showed in my western chart as Mars was in house 2 of possessions opposite Saturn indicating conflict over possessions. But I don`t think anybody could have predicted it would be over a lighter.There are limits

Mary Catherine Bax said...

Dear All,

This is the challenge we all face as astrologers and Feng Shui practitioners, how do we measure our work?

How do we know that our advise has helped someone weather a storm or get the most of a sunny, fine day?

When I see someone is about to lose their wealth and suggest he give it away to someone he can trust instead of being robbed, will he ever know, will I ever know if I was accurate?

This is where the 4 lessons come into the play, the most important being humility. As Danny mentioned, we have to always question our method and our skill set. By looking at charts of those who are not our clients such as Tiger Woods, Sarah Palin or Susan Boyle to see how qi is playing out, being present to qi as our teacher.

I read a quote yesterday morning that hit the mark to what I try accomplish with my study with Joseph..."There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing".

If I have learned anything through this metaphysical study it is Time (Heaven) is the ruler and trying to accomplish anything outside the boundaries time gives us, is time wasted.

The philosophy of "The Secret" which advises people to attract wealth into their lives when time says wealth is dead or vanishing only causes frustration.

If we can help others and ourselves to not waste time, to ease their frustration with life, to help them know themselves to reach the higher bound of their destiny, this study of time is well worth it even though it may not be able to be measured.

Wishing you all a time of peace, health and prosperity this New Year!


Fourpillars.net said...

Olman wrote:
> The accuracy of the advice is relied on the accuracy of the reading which is relied on the accuracy of the astrological system.

Now we are talking.
It is so obvious that I am amazed that anybody wants to discuss against it.

Whatever we do, be it an "art", a science, or anything in between, we always depend on the accuracy of the "tools" or "instruments" used in our art. How it could be otherwise?
The surgeon depends on the accuracy of his scanners, his knives and whatever other tools he uses.
The musician depends on the accuracy of his instument.
The weather man depends on the accuracy of his weather maps and computer models.

In astrology the chart is our "tool", so we inevitably depend on the accuracy of the system of astrology used to make the chart.

But that's not the only way accuracy comes in.
If the accuracy of my skill does not match the accuracy of my tool, then I will not be able to fully use it, if at all use it.
You can give me a Stradivarius violin, but I won't do anything good with it because my skill on violin is so inaccurate that you will ask me to stop.

It is the same in astrology.
An accurate chart will not help me to give useful advice if my reading of the chart is not accurate. Accurate reading will not only mean a more correct reading but also a more detailed reading, more subtle reading.
Just like a master musician will get more subtle tones and nuances out of the same instrument, or the master cook will get more subtle tastes out of the same ingredients.
The better astrologer will read more details in the same chart.

So it is because of differing accuracy that no two musicians play the same, no two cooks cook the same, no two astrologers read the same.

And when the astrolger has done the reading of the chart as accurate as he can, then he can also give the best advice he can.
Not only will the advice be more helpful, it will also be more detailed.
An astrologer who does not consider the accuracy of his methods, who does not aim for accuracy in his reading, what advice he is going to give other than vague advice and/or general common sense advice?
If there is no aim for accuracy, then there is also no aim for quality.

Only an amateur can be allowed not to aim for accuracy in what he does.
An amateur musician may be happy to play just some simple tunes for himself, it need not be very acccurate.
An recreational tennisplayer may not care whether the balls fly in or out, or whether he hits or misses them. He is content to improve his fitness a bit.
A hobby astrologer may be happy to just read the big lines in a horoscope, and have a fun topic to talk about when he goes to the pub. He need not be very accurate because it won't harm anybody.

But any professional should hold himself to a higher standard and accuracy should always be his aim.
Because the quality of his advice will depend on the accuracy of his methods.

An astrologer who says that accuracy is not his aim, is like a surgeon who takes out kitchen knives and says that he is only trying to be helpful, or like a feng shui consultant who says that the accuracy of his lopan doesn't matter.


I am happy about this discussion because it has helped me to formulate this point a bit more accurately.

A happy New Year to all.
May everyone discover a bit more accuracy in whatever they do.


Annie Pecheva said...

One of the biggest laws in Nature is that of change. The change in prediction is very possible and natural.

I personally never make such predictions of when somebody is going to die, even as a joke. This kind of predictions and thoughts may return as a boomerang and happen to the person who made them.
There was a joke that the rain falls down only at the head of the meteorologist who predicted the rain. While for the others it's a nice sunny day.

Happy New Year to all!

joey said...

Annie - neither do I. It was just an example of a specific prediction.
Danny- even if the system is accurate, like I said, If I make a prediction to someone and he acts upon it,he can change it.
If you predicted that one day I would be the next president of the USA, and I decided to stay home doing nothing and leading an idle life because we can`t change fate or it`s all written in the stars, do you really think I would ever become President? I doubt

joey said...


I had been looking by this chapter on Astrology by Guru osho for years. Found it today by chance. 7 pages worthy of reading.

joey said...

Part 2 of Osho`s view of Astrology:

An eighty-year-old man was walking along when his foot slipped on a banana peel that had been thrown onto the road. Now, is it possible to inquire of an astrologer, to know from the moon and stars on which road and on which banana peel the foot will slip? Such queries are foolish. But you are curious to know in advance whether your foot will step on a banana peel and slip if you go out on the road today. This is nonessential. This has nothing to do with your being or your soul. These events happen on the periphery, and astrology has nothing to do with them. But because astrologers were busy talking only about these kinds of things, the great establishment of astrology collapsed. This was the only reason.

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joey,

That's what I have always said, it makes no sense to use astrology to explain or predict every little toothache in a person's life.
The weather man also cannot predict when the first raindrops will fall on my doorstep next February 25th.
Does that mean the astrologer and the weather man do not aim for accuracy?

We always have to understand the "scope" of our instrument.
We cannot use binoculars to study micro-organisms, a microscope would be more suitable.
Does that mean the binoculars are not accurate?

Astrology is not a microscope, it is more like binoculars.
Astrology gives us a more accurate look at the big picture, but we will not see when somebody will slip over a banana peel.
That's not within the normal scope of our instrument.


Lisa said...

Hello, I was just Blog-Hopping and ran across your blog. Very well written!