Friday, January 14, 2011

Sidesteppin' astrology

Surprise, surprise! The big "shift" is underway!

I have to admit, this one took me a bit by surprise. Turns out that Earth's precession is necessitating a reshuffling of the astrology charts. So if you're a "creative and sensitive" Virgo, you might be about to become a "deep and imaginative" Libran.

Or not.

Now, I've been pretty straightforward in my views on astrology. In two words: it's nonsense! And, in fact, I've been thinking of doing a blog on astrology for a while now. Here's my chance. Let's lay it out for everyone here.

First of all, there is not one type of "astrology." In fact, there's many different forms of astrology. But they all attempt to accomplish the same thing: tie the affairs of tiny humans to the movements of the stars and planets. Where a planet or the sun or the moon sits in a particular part of the sky determines your "fate."

Let's really look at this for a second. The Milky Way galaxy has been around for about 13 billion years. The solar system for 4.5 billion. And we humans have been around for about 2 million years. So what did the universe do without us all that time? Did it wait for us to come along, just so it could start determining fates? I suspect otherwise.

And that's the core of my issues with the concept of astrology. It seeks to place humans at the core of creation. I thought we were past that nonsense with the insights of Copernicus and Galileo.

Also, like a lot of "magical" thinking, it requires the belief that distance has no impact on the effects. For instance, Venus comes closer to Earth than any other planet in the solar system. It's possible to see its disk withe the naked eye. However, Pluto (argued by astronomers over whether it is or not a planet) also has an effect, even though it's so far away, it's light takes four hours to reach us!

Then there's the selectiveness of it. Why just the nine classic planets (again, nine if you count Pluto...which I do)? Why not Ceres? Or Vesta? Or Chiron? All these bodies are large enough to have pulled themselves into spherical shapes. Why would they not have an effect on the fates of individual people?

But, like a lot of this sort of thinking, it boils down I think to not just individual but collective vanity - the belief that we are the end point of a universe's evolution instead of just a single point of a much larger, complex system.

It's a big universe that existed a long time before we ever came along. It will be here a long time after we're gone both individually and as a species. And in the time we've been here, through science, we've discovered that the universe is an amazing place all on its own.

To quote Douglas Adams, "Isn't it enough to see that the garden is beautiful without having to believe there's fairies at the bottom of it?"

Clear skies.

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