"The wonder is, not that the field of the stars is so vast, but that man has measured it." (Anatole France, The Gardens of Epicurus p. 6).
"Parable.--Those thinkers in whom all stars move in cyclic orbits are not the most profound: whoever looks into himself as into vast space and carries galaxies in himself also knows how irregular all galaxies are; they lead into the chaos and labyrinth of existence." (The Gay Science #322, The Basic Writings of Nietzsche 175)
See Konvolute "K" of The Arcades Project for Benjamin's reference to Copernicus as the instigator of decentered thought.
SPIRALS, pattern recognition, meaning assemblage. See also, Benjamin's "On Astrology" which reads as follows:
"An attempt to procure a view of astrology from which the doctrine of magical 'influences,' of 'radiant energies,' and so on has been excluded. Such an attempt may be provisional, if you like. It is very important because it would purify the aura surrounding these investigations. And we necessarily come across such research if we inquire into the historical origins of the concepts of a scientific humanism. Nowhere more pervasively, perhaps, than in astrology. I have shown the intensity it conferred on the concept of melancholy. Something along these lines could be adduced for many other concepts. [new paragraph] The approach looks like this: We start with 'similarity.' [See Doctrine of the Similar] We then try to obtain clarity about the fact that the resemblances we can perceive, for example, in people's faces, in buildings and plant forms, in certain cloud formations and skin diseases, are nothing more than tiny prospects from a cosmos of similarity.
Types: pattern recognition is really pattern imposition.
"We can go beyond this and attempt to clarify for ourselves the fact that not only are these resemblances imported into things by virtue of chance comparisons [i.e: chance encounters] on our part, but that all of themlike the resemblances between parents and children [genealogy of morals?]are the effects of an active mimetic force working expressly inside things. Furthermore, not only are the objects of this mimetic force innumerable, but the same thing may be said of subjects, of the mimetic centers that may be numerous within every being. "
Interesting here how the Copernican decentered thing is deployed. The "objects of the mimetic force are innumerable," meaning each and everything we encounter, weon some levelabsorb/become/are swayed by/mimic and also, there is no real identifiable centered "self" because we have multiple mimetic "centers" (note the "s") in other words, NODESneural nexuses and centers of intensity. This fits in quite well with Deleuze.
"On top of all this, it must be remembered that neither the mimetic centers nor their objects, the mimetic objects, can have remained unchanged through time, and that in the course of the centuries both the mimetic force and the mimetic mode of vision may have vanished from certain spheres, perhaps only to surface in others."
Here, he is getting into the grand narrative of history againnot sure I like where this leads, but TIME is crucial.
"For example, there can be no doubt that people in Antiquity had a much sharper mimetic sense for physiognomic resemblances than does modern man, who really only recognizes facial similarities, and no longer has much ability to recognize bodily similarities. We may further reflect that in Antiquity, physiognomy was based on animal resemblances."
This fits well into Djuna Barnes Nightwood, where animals are used to denote modes of human behavior often deemed deviant.
"[new paragraph] If these considerations bring us close to astrology, the decisive factor is still lacking. As students of ancient traditions, we have to reckon with the possibility that manifest configurations, mimetic resemblances, may once have existed where today we are no longer in a position even to guess at them. For example, in the constellations of the stars. The horoscope must above all be understood as an originary totality that astrological interpretation merely subject to analysis."
This, of course, is an earth-centered totality, and thus problematic.
"The panorama of the heavenly bodies presents a characteristic unity, and the characters of the individual planets, for example, are recognized only through their function within the constellation."
The way that systems thinking workscompare poker: the cards don’t give a shit if four of a kind beats a full house. The cards are closed systems. The open system is the hierarchies imposed on what is relatively random. Rules are attempts at creating closed systems, see: GAMBLING.
"(The word "character" is provisional here. We should really say "essence.") We must reckon with the fact that, in principle, events in the heavens could be imitated by people in former ages, whether as individuals or groups. Indeed, this imitation may be seen as the only authority that gave to astrology the character of experience. Modern man can be touched by a pale shadow of this on southern moonlit nights in which he feels, alive within himself, mimetic forces that he had thought long since dead, while nature, which possesses them all, transforms itself to resemble the moon. Nevertheless, these rare moments furnish non conception of the nascent promises that lay in constellations of the stars. [new paragraph] But if mimetic genius really was a life-determining force in Antiquity, then it is more or less unavoidable that the full possession of this gift, the most consummate expression of cosmic meaning, should be given to the newborn infant, who even today in the early years of his life will evidence the utmost mimetic genius by learning language. [new paragraph] This, then, is the complete prolegomenon of every rational astrology.” [Fragment written probably in 1932; unpublished in Benjamin’s lifetime. Gesammelte Schriften, VI, 192-193. Translated by Rodney Livingstone. (Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings. Vol. #2. pp. 684-683)]