“…Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the Kingdom of Brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of Communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. Now, when I say question the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.”—
Okay, I really meant it when I said I wasn’t worried about defending astrology to the masses, but, well, anyways:
There’s a fair amount of criticism floating around about people “falling” for the sidereal/new sign of astrology thing, as if all these poor new agers or fluffy hippies or unwashed rabble or whatever were taken in (again) by the latest hoax. First of all, people who are deeply into astrology already knew that this stuff didn’t really apply to its mainstream. I knew, and I don’t believe in it, really, I just think it’s an interesting framework for a type of idea (ugh, I know, sorry, but more on this below). But even if I were a true believer, why should that ultimately matter?
Let me present a scenario, one which is tailored for my argument (to be sure) but one which I think will have mass recognition. In this scenario you are you but you like to play video games (if you don’t already); and let’s say you’re playing a video game — Halo maybe — with which if you’re not familiar involves shooting lots of things and is pretty rad, really, and you’re just super into it, right, but then you die or maybe the power goes out and you cuss up a storm, frustrated, nakedly emotional, invested? Now let’s say I walk into the room and guffaw, spraying my drink out of my mouth, whatever, and start pointing at you and talking shit about how you must think you’re really a space marine, HAH, what a deluded dumbass! LULZ, etc.
How is that really any different than looking down your nose at someone who plays around with astrology, or who doesn’t care to diss it vehemently whenever it’s brought up? Or who thinks it’s fun or funny to pointlessly hyperbolize about it on the internet?
And of course there’s the need to carve your identity out of the sociocultural ether and that part of that carving involves perceived opposition to others; but I think there’s a better context, one not too far removed from the oppositional, where we can look at these entertainment choices in a more egalitarian way. What does it really matter what entertainments we choose as long as we don’t overindulge? (Or, um, overindulge too often.) Ultimately what’s the difference between wanting to locate yourself as a sexually vital Scorpio (as long as you’re safe) or a macho loner super soldier (as long as you don’t go all gun nut and shoot people)? Or a woodland elf? Or the coach of a nonexistent sports team? They’re all the same ego-stroking entertainments. They’re all ways for us to tell ourselves the things we want to hear. And we all do it, whether we like it or not, whether we admit it or not, whether we even deign to think about it or not.
I like astrology partly for the mythological content and partly because I think symbolic systems like it have a kind of pleasant aesthetic beauty to them (also: Tarot, William Blake, lots of Moore and Gaiman comic books) not totally unlike the pleasures found in balancing math equations, but sort of even lovelier because they never totally balance out in a concrete way. I even think this kind of thinking might be useful to science if it could find a way to utilize it (and maybe it has, please share). Consider the uneven history of nutrition science (cribbing Michael Pollan here) and the ways in which its typically reductive scientific approach has perennially led it down unhealthy alleys. Wouldn’t treating nutrition as a complexly balanced or stably unstable system be a better approach (not a new idea, I know)? What else might benefit from this kind of approach? Or is there even such a thing as non-reductive science? Maybe not, but there are definitely such things as non-reductive understandings of the world and the people inhabiting it. I think they are worth seeking out.
So I’m definitely not too vested in defending astrology to the masses, but I’ve always bounced around the idea that if there were any truth to it, maybe it had something to do with the typical types and levels of nutrition we received while in the womb based on the season. Maybe thousands of generations of being tied to that rhythm can still affect us, somehow? On the one hand, I consider myself a pretty typical Pisces (whether by design or coincidence); on the other, I’m never shocked that people don’t “live up” to their sign.