Omar Khayyam (96): Against Astrology

The good and bad
that are in human nature,
the joy and grief
that are in fate and destiny–
do not attribute them to
the movement
of heavenly bodies;
for according to the path of science,
the stars are a thousand times
more helpless than you.

Translated by Juan Cole
from [pdf] Whinfield 96

5 Responses

  1. Always found it ironic that western interest in Astrology (which was more widely condemned in the Islamic world) may have contributed to the west outpacing the Islamic world in astronomy.

  2. Dear Juan Cole,

    Again, Omar Khayyam makes a good point.

    The gravity impact of planets are next to none, compared with the gravity impact of neighbors (at the moment of conception) or hospital personnel (at the moment of birth).

    Even if astrology was a fact, it would still miss the point. Astrology describes the conditioning of humans, i.e. cause-and-effect-cause-and-effect, which is a kind of blind machinery, or being chained.

    However, the human task is the opposite: liberation or freedom, i.e. to be unconditioned. To see, hear, taste, what really, really is.

    Most of the time, we are deeply conditioned by projections, the past, unconsciousness, and so on.


    True thinking has its ground in non-thinking, the uncondionioned. It could be called wisdom or a total view.

    Let the thunderbolt from the empty sky hit!

    Warm regards,
    Björn Lindgren

  3. Now that makes sense – thanks. The Whinfield translation is no doubt a remarkable piece of work, but not a whole lot less obscure to me than the original. Your translations have considerably enriched my appreciation for Omar Khayyam.

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