A superb flaming of astrology in today’s Guardian. A snippet:
“What star sign are you?”
“I’m whatever sign whose prediction this week read, ‘On Sunday, a friend who has masqueraded as a rational human being for the 15 years of your acquaintance will stand revealed before you as just another cack-brained, gibbering fool swirling in a festering cesspit of stupidity’.”
Astrology has always mystified me. Why do people who usually claim to being rational and level-headed happily let some snake oil man in a newspaper predict and dictate their actions? Why especially do newspapers like the Mail, which preach “common sense” shriekingly from the rooftops, happily peddle idiotic “personalised horoscopes” on the following page?
A counter-argument is that “Well, it’s only a little bit of harmless fun” – well, no. It’s fraud, simple as that. A few people are happily getting rich (admittedly, with admirable chutzpah) by conning others into saying they predict the future and the stars are guiding you (hang on, why aren’t I doing this? I could write a pseudorandom generator for the horoscopes and let the cash roll in).
And while Joe Public living by their horoscope is relatively “harmless” in the great scheme of things, it gets a little less serious when you find out an American President happily relied on them. Dunno about you, but I feel a little worried by a man with his hand on the nuclear button being manipulated by some shady soothsayer.
Egotism, I think, is probably the driving force. That and lack of time or commitment. Unlike other systems of belief, such as most major religions, which rely much on communal activity, sacrifice and humility (a generalisation I know, but a reasonably accurate one), the astrologist just wants your money. In return, what you get is purely individualised – the more money you fling, the more individualisation. At the very heart of it lies a spectacular arrogance, in the belief that the planets and stars are actually moving on your behalf – if the world doesn’t revolve around you, then at least all the other celestial bodies are doing so.