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The Sign of the Goat


The Capricornus constellation is often depicted as a sea-goat, which has a fish or whale tail as its back half. This is a reference to the Greco-Egyptian story of Aigipan and the sea monster Typhoeus. Typhoeus was so powerful and terrifying that all the gods fled to Egypt and hid in the form of animals - said to be the reason that gods in Egypt sometimes resembled animals. But one god, Aigipan (a mysterious synthesis of Pan, Osiris, and Dionysus, to name a few), turned into a sea-goat, and fought off Typhoeus himself. Zeus was then said to reward Aigipan with a constellation in his image. 

Aigipan, like Capricorn, represents the kind of reliability and dutiful dedication that is needed to resolve wicked problems. Their ability to accumulate grandiose wealth and power can lead them to be scapegoated by those who do not share their level of dedication. 

The 19 days of Capricorn range from New Years thru much of January on the Gregorian Calendar, the first month of every year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the middle of Winter, often the coldest and driest month of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere, however, it is usually the hottest time of year. Either way, it is often considered a period of time to endure. And for that reason, many festivals from various cultures through the centuries have found it to be the right time to make offerings, sacrifices, invest in new projects, and do taxes

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Earth Sign

Earth Signs are notoriously stable, stubborn, grounded, practical, dry, and other obviously earthy metaphors. But Virgos and Tauruses cannot compete with just how rock-solid a Capricorn can be. Virgos change too often, and Tauruses get too comfortable, but Capricorns are Capricorns, rock-solid and stone-cold - and they like it that way. 

But beneath that lies a heart of gold, willing to give great abundance. Structure is their priority, so as long as that is respected and maintained, they will enhance the productivity of everyone around them. If that exchange proves to be too volatile, their inflexible nature can have the opposite effect. Resentment may build a brick wall, impeding progress and preventing others from getting close. 

For a Capricorn, it isn't exactly a comfort zone they require, but a foundation to stand on, and certain principles that do not move. There is a threshold of chaos that they can tolerate and even relish in, but if at any point that influx of novelty threatens the scaffolding that they’ve built, they may become territorial. Instead of bending, a Capricorn at breaking-point is like an earthquake along a fault. They’ll have a lot of weight to throw behind that recoil!

When forced on the defensive, they are in their element. Their grudges are legendary, as their memory is very long for being slighted or taken advantage of, and they can outlast any siege. Rather than trying to force your way into their good graces or break down their walls when they aren’t receptive, gifts work a lot better. Capricorns are easily bribed with the right thing, something in line with their values and priorities. 

They have a deep appreciation for the value of material things, not out of greed, but of understanding that a hard-earned gift means the giver was willing to trade time out of their life to add value to theirs. This tangible exchange is easier for a Capricorn to evaluate than something more abstract, like ideas, promises, or emotional flourishes. 

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Power Sign

Capricorns have a mature sense of inevitability, and can quickly accept the reality of the environment around them without resentment of their circumstances. This patience does not extend to other people, however, because they have high standards and expect that everyone is fundamentally doing their best. 

If someone is perceived not to be, or willfully trying to evade responsibility, it is seen as a major violation. The Capricorn ethic is commonly mocked for being “workaholics,” but on the contrary, they aren’t fixated on working all the time, they are just concerned with results. As long as their integrity is not compromised in the pursuit of a desired goal, there is no virtue in burning out or extending more effort than necessary. Like all Power signs, they have a strong sense of justice, but instead of the fiery, retaliatory Aries, or the cold judgment of Libra, they have a very matter of fact assumption that humans will behave according to the same mechanical laws as the rest of nature. If someone falls, they don’t think ‘oh, bad luck!’ or ‘oh gosh I hope they aren’t hurt!’, instead they say ‘yep, gravity works.’ Because of this they may seem like emotionless observers, taking a view from the top of the mountain as their goat personas. 

The warmth of gravity comes from perception of their sphere of influence. They appreciate the way all things are connected by the imperceptible thrum of magnetism, and are able to tune to this unseen force instead of feeling stifled by it. Though associated with limitation and a sense of being chained, as we see in the Devil card, gravity is that which brings us together and holds us in comfortable orbits without crashing or colliding. This standoffish appearance makes Capricorns seem unapproachable, but they simply have strong respect for boundaries. A great definition is that a boundary is the closest two people can come to one another without losing themselves, and thus the goat is saying “I care enough about you to make sure we don’t destroy one another.” Where they fall short in this is the communication of this intention. 

Although love languages are very individualistic, it may be assumed that earth signs communicate their considerations through physical care, especially of necessities. Being a provider is often the core focus of a Capricorn in relation to others, such that the emotional qualities of the connection are not given as much energy. But that isn’t to say they don’t care deeply, their ways of showing it just tend to be very matter of fact. Attending to the needs of others, being of service, and removing discomfort are some of the Epicurean practices they employ to express affection. This can become a very broad, encompassing sense of agape and ambition to improve all of humanity through philanthropic or business endeavors. But it is essential they take care not to bite off more than they can chew, and while they have incredible self control when it comes to delayed gratification and restraint of their own desires, that humility doesn’t necessarily extend to their broader ambitions. 

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Personal Life / Personality

Those born under the Capricornus constellation or with a Capricorn influence in their Star Chart tend to have an aura of dedication. They seem to be born entrepreneurs, focused on learning, practicing, and mastering skills at an early age, grinding for their entire lives. It’s almost miraculous how capable, talented, and tough they are as children. Their parents are caught off-guard by having a little helper around who probably works harder than they do.

Their sense of taste is also quite powerful attuned. They’re not picky, perse, but perfectionistic; if something isn’t good enough for them, it’s usually because they know how to make it better. That being said, when they do like something, it may become their motif, their crest, or a representative of their very identity. This also makes them incredibly devout, not merely in the spiritual sense, but in the way they identify, ritualize, revere, and practice their favorite routines.

Needless to say, this tendency has its dangers, from obsessive-compulsive urges to identity disorders and delusions of grandeur. But Capricorns usually choose to make a deal with these devils and strike a balance, taking on the risks in order to unlock deeper motivations than any other person usually has in their arsenal. Armed with these forbidden fruits, Capricorns succeed, excel, and achieve at almost anything they try. 

Interpersonal Life / Relationships

Unfortunately, as fortunate as they are in everything else, their relations with other people tend to complicate things. Because their work ethic proves so adaptive as individuals, Capricorns often try to relate to other people in ways that may come across as unapproachable, transactional, impersonal, superficial, or even objectifying. Most people probably won’t relate to someone with so much success and dedication; they may admire them, listen to them, support them, or enable them, but not authentically relate to them. 

Thus, it’s important for Capricorns to better recognize when a more personable and vulnerable approach is necessary. With their attentiveness and honesty, they are capable of engaging at depths greater, perhaps, than the whole of the Zodiac. The truth is, they could go to the Underworld and back for those they love. 

They accumulate many acquaintances and colleagues throughout their lives, but many of them simply become ghosts, either because their momentary mutual interest had long past, or because they simply couldn’t relate on a deeper level. Their single-mindedness and sharp elbows tend to bypass other people’s opportunities to share perspectives, divert attention, or open up. They must learn to listen to, consider, and truly understand where other people are at before proposing their own direction. Asserting direction in a conversation, for instance, may get you what you want out of the conversation, but it closes off the possibility of discovering something new, unexpected, and potentially enlightening.

They are easily the most committed sign in the Zodiac, but also one of the most selective. Once they’ve chosen their friends, partners, and lovers, they maintain them with a profound sense of duty. 

The ultimate danger for Capricorns and for their relations is to let the relationship become purely professional, or otherwise lacking in emotional depth and commonality. It’s easy for Capricorns to accept the difficulties and tough-out an immutual relationship, even when the soul of the relationship has long died. This makes them potentially one of the most sacrificial signs in the Zodiac, but also one of the most toxic, when they do everything in their power - and they are powerful - to keep a partnership together, at any cost - and they can afford just about anything. 

They are consistent, but this might also make them seem like a bit of a bore, and their constant hustle can burnout their caretakers and partners alike, who eventually feel their fickle “too much.” They have a tendency to stress themselves out and those around them with the gritty details of their day. Although this comes from a sense of responsibility they seem to have for everything, they must learn to relax, lighten up, and unwind, which they may feel at times to be impossible.

They’re reliable, level-headed, and resilient in the worst of situations, but during those times, they may not be emotionally available for those who need them to be. Their need for security and instinct to take responsibility for it can lead them to be dismissive of other peoples’ feelings, afraid of being undermined by them, even to the point of becoming cruel and repressive. When they feel insecure, they become critical, intolerant, negative, petty, restrictive, and arrogant. Even when they find themselves insecure due to the perceived neglect or ineptitude of their partner, for instance, they tend to become more needy, resentful, demanding, argumentative, unforgiving, and controlling, only worsening the situation and incentivizing toxic codependence. In such a dynamic, their stubborn preoccupation with preserving the relationship leads them to compromise and demand compromise in ways which might violate boundaries and make everyone involved feel trapped. They often feel misunderstood, but don’t see how their own standards have made the situation more toxic than it had to be. Even if they weren’t originally in the wrong, their maladaptive strategies,


♑︎ Capricorn

Transaction Platforms, Essential Infrastructure, Synergistic Architecture

Capricorn lays the foundation, the scaffolding, the infrastructure from which all other ideas can be hung. But our lives today are relying more and more on platforms which are not physical. The coming days call on us to figure out how to bridge the gap between the purely digital experience into something more tactile. Through rendered architectural simulation spaces we can reduce the need to invest tangible space and resources, especially for experiences which are repetitive or redundant in different locations such as chains. Virtual warehousing can reduce the amount of time and effort it takes to get a product into the hands of someone who actually wants it, and 3D printing on demand can take that notion even further by producing only that which is actually demanded, instead of creating a wasteful surplus collecting dust in a warehouse. Economic philosophy has centered largely on this concept, the ‘means of production’, and never before have we had more opportunity for individuals to seize it and make it their own. The platforms which support this exchange are fundamental in determining whether this will be generative, or give rise to yet another form of exploitation. 


To be able to speculate on what may be possible in the future, we must first examine the past circumstances that brought some of these disruptive platforms and technologies into being. Let’s look at Uber as a specific example. Uber only worked because there were so many un and underemployed people who had vehicle payments to make, and the interface was so easy to use. It came about at exactly the right time for the economic conditions, and demand for this type of work outlet. Then as it became more trusted and reliable, more people came to regard it as a legitimate form of transit and it came to really disrupt the existing taxi industry, for better or worse. In this business model, the lion's share of the work rests on the individual contractors, and once things are established on the back end, the maintenance done by the platform is fairly minimal. For the foreseeable future it seems upcoming platforms will follow in that model, creating a space for exchange where people looking to make extra money can put in work without a centralized company needing to formally employ them. In truth, ‘traditional’ employers have long been doing this, they just had the benefit of an air of business legitimacy, but contract is a time honored tradition to work around the inconvenience of offering employees security or benefits. ‘Business as usual’.


The user interfaces currently at our disposal shape our relationship with money, thus access to resources, and in turn our ability to enact our will upon our environment. The farther removed we become from the latter, the more powerless we feel, just as too many clicks between us and a purchase tends to erode our resolve to buy it. Bad design breeds contempt. The closer a tool is to being a toy, the more people will become excited by the chance to use it and push the boundaries of what it can be applied to. Can you imagine the state of architecture if Minecraft were a legitimate CAD software? This wall we built between work and play does a great disservice to our natural creative propensity and ability to learn. An interface should be fun, not just addictive, but enjoyable to engage with. And that puts us in a bit of a pickle with Capricorn being in charge, eh? Each mission is attended by the sign that is uniquely qualified to grapple with it, because it so closely resembles the battle ever raging within themselves to unify two disparate possible states. As humans, we must always hang in this balance between what is and what could be. To preserve our adaptability to change we must take solace in the unknown and learn to be comfortable without absolutes. (The Capricorn shade continues.) 


In a very literal sense, Capricorn also deals with structure in the form of buildings themselves, which present the most striking standoff between the rigidity of function and need for variability of form. How can a house be alive, and potentially grow? Can we repair instead of needing to constantly replace? If there is no such thing as one size fits all, why do we insist on cookie cutter solutions to novel problems? Philosophically, we need to do away with this conflation of ‘permanence’ with civilization, therefore legitimacy. Whenever a historian carries on about what ‘counts’ as a city, vs. what was just a large settlement of a ‘culture’, it takes a good amount of self control to keep my eyes from rolling all the way back into my head. How little we know about the incredible solutions our ancestors came up with for their buildings if gods forbid there was no stone available. Some ancients clear cut forests to build rampart walls, destroyed their environment and were wiped out within a cycle, but if they left behind particular artifacts we like which mark them as ‘civilized’ we will sing their praises till the end of time. We love ruins. The buildings we currently make will be rubble in the blink of an eye, but it seems to be the type we like. Not that filthy stuff that goes back into the soil when we are done with it and goes on to become something new. The kind that takes up space forever, to remind us of our glory days when we made bad life decisions and drove ourselves to the brink of extinction. 


I’ve always been fascinated by microactions, not in the way of loot boxes, but in breaking down a large set of data that needs to be interpreted into tiny little tasks like how ReCapcha does. Fun fact, those annoying little word photos you are asked to type out are actually fragments of books which are being digitized or translated. Rather than take a problem head on, it may behoove us to build a mechanism that breaks down monstrous tasks into bite size pieces and incentivizes huge numbers of people to each do a small part. If you task a single person with trying to move a mountain, they will laugh in your face, but if you ask millions of people to each transport a handful of sand, one grain at a time in intervals so small they don’t even notice… That’s really what cells are doing. Teeny tiny pieces self assembling. The program tells them where to go, each individual doesn’t need to place the word they are typing out in the correct position in the book, the asset is tagged and automatically goes there. 


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