What Is Divination

Divination is a game of wisdom for those who want to become master of their fate and to be worthy of it. It may seem absurd to ask such a question in a world where everything seems to be planned and organised in advance and where nothing is left to chance any more. We could discuss divination for some time and say that it has existed since the world began, since the gods and the soothsayers, with whom they communicated, seem always to have been an integral part of the thoughts and mentality of human beings.

If we want to find historical reference points for divination and for the observation of the heavens and the stars, for we have a need for chronology, we could go back to the Chaldean astronomer, astrologer and priest, Berose, who was also an historian and who emigrated from Babylon to Greece in about 300 BC, where he founded the first school of astrology on the island of Kos. He estimated that divination went back 490,000 years.

However, he was not alone in putting forward such a number of years. Cicero, the Roman philosopher who lived in the 1st Century BC and Pliny the Elder, the Roman naturalist and writer in the 1st Century AD both agreed in saying that these sciences went back 480,000 years. As for Diodorus of Sicily, Greek historian and contemporary of Cicero, he thought, more modestly, that he could evaluate at 473,000 the number of years which span between us and the advent of divination.

Now, we have no way of confirming these estimates. But we could not justify refuting them either. It certainly seems that the related notions of the divine and divination are to be found everywhere in the history of humanity, as far back as we can go.

Let us come back to the present day and try to understand what divination entails and also what makes it different from scientific experiment, which, for reasons that we know, is the only tangible reference for us. To do this, we are going to take a very simple example and, on this occasion, we absolutely will not criticise scientific observation, which has every reason to exist and from which our modern world has drawn numerous indisputable advantages.

It is not a case of setting the oracle of divination against scientific observation, but about trying to show that they each come from different points of view, not opposed but different and, who knows, perhaps even complementary. This is because, historically and chronologically, we cannot deny that the oracle of divination not only came before scientific experiment, but was also at the origin of the science of prediction, which we may regard as the first methodical and scientific organisation of the world and so, as the ancestor of modern sciences.

This example is that of the coin which you toss in the air while saying: heads or tails, when you want to share a task, get or acquire something or make some other choice, but where you do not seem able to make the decision, which coming from either party would seem arbitrary to the other person. What do you actually do by tossing the coin and saying the well-known formula? You let chance decide.

So, you are not making a decision one way or another, you are leaving this difficult task to chance. And, if you are lucky enough and the coin comes down on your chosen side, you may be led to believe that you have just been given a piece of positive information and so a favourable oracle. On the other hand, if the wrong side of the coin comes up, your oracle is unfavourable.

It is quite obvious that scientific observation excludes all perspective of chance. For the man of science, chance cannot exist and must even be eliminated. Scientific experiments imply an unchangeable repetition of certain factors and parameters, which are identifiable, measurable and quantifiable, which you can reproduce ad infinitum and which certainly never leave anything to chance.

If, just by chance, an unexpected intervention shows up, the order and coherence of a formula, for example, will be challenged. From this we can deduce that, from the scientific point of view, chance is an element which must be absolutely ruled out, while in the case of the oracle of divination, everything rests on chance, everything depends on it.

Experiments eliminate chance, the oracle puts chance at its centre; the experiment is based on repetition, the oracle is based on a unique act. The experiment is based on the calculation of probabilities and the oracle uses the unique and individual number as a source of information.

Emotion is constant movement. Man is obviously a being endowed with numerous emotions, which, usually cause within him just as many contradictions and a general confusion. Now the game, of whatever sort it is, is just a way like any other of organising the internal and external world simultaneously, of being at the centre of this organisation and thus putting some order into man’s emotions, indeed even mastering them.

When the mind of man plays, he is a god, or master of his emotions. Now, this control allows him to make choices, to take decisions, to act ‘in all honesty’ or ‘in all good faith’ as they say. He does what he thinks he should do. He does this all the more and all the better if he has received a sign, an approval or a piece of advice.

That is the reason why he asks questions or consults the oracle and why he practises divination. The great game of life, is reality. Through divination man has always sought to avoid losing his life, but instead to gain it, that is to become master of his destiny and to be worthy of it.



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