I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the things in which I believe, and very little time talking about the things which I don’t. There are several good reasons for that, the primary one being, that I enjoy talking about my beliefs. Talking about them helps me to explore them further, to poke and prod them, learning more about their depths and limitations. It’s a big part of why I’m here.
On those occasions in which I write about the things I do not believe, it is typically because someone, somewhere, thinks my lack of belief is somehow an impediment to their own freedoms, or the American way, or something equally silly.
There are, however, those rare occasions, when I simply feel compelled to clear up certain assumptions that have been made along the way.
These assumptions do no real harm to me or mine. They just cling there like some benign bacteria, ever present yet mostly invisible.
Yes, I said, “mostly invisible.” If left alone for long enough, these assumptions may begin to grow and multiply. Eventually, they start to itch.
I don’t believe in Astrology.
It’s not a big deal but it may come as a surprise to some people.
People have this strange tendency to think that if you believe in one thing that they consider “odd” you are far more likely to believe in all the other things that they consider “odd”. Assumptions, it seems, do not come individually wrapped but rather appear in prepackaged assortments.
“Ah yes, you believe in mythological gods and magic, therefore you must also believe in Bigfoot, U.F.O’s and Pyramid Power.”
What the people making these assumptions fail to take into account is the primary commonality defining the items within the category is their own personal definition of the word “odd” (or “crazy” or “ridiculous” – exact phraseology, like milage, will vary).
The Humanists in the crowd will, at this point, start clearing their throats and muttering “scientifically provable” to each other along with ample back patting. On the other side of the room, the particularly devout Christians will bang on that Astrology is a falsehood and a sin against god – this despite the fact that the Bible uses it as a proof for the divinity of Christ. I’ll leave them all to it. Which ever side you are on, it still comes down to what ‘you’ choose to believe and what ‘you’ choose to label as “other”. Your criteria (however scientific or religious) are your own.
For me, Trickle-Down Economics, U.F.O’s, and Astrology, all fall into that “other” category along with Bigfoot. Sure, there may be a few blurry photos and some questionable math, but nothing solid enough for me to really put my finger on.
If my goal here is to more clearly define my own beliefs, to myself and others, than I must also be clear about the things in which I do not believe.
And so, I don’t believe in Astrology.
Well, for the most part.
I mean, it’s not as if I don’t think there is ‘something’ to it.
I’ve dated and then been burned by too many Scorpios, to think there wasn’t some commonality there. I just don’t see what it could have to do with the stars.
Yet, aside from the Sun and the Moon, our other planetary neighbors are so far away that their gravity, their magnetic fields (where such exist), and the minuscule quantity of reflected sunlight they bounce Earthward, could have no measurable effect upon us whatsoever. Indeed, the other seven planets, Mercury thru Neptune, could wink out of existence this moment, taking poor Pluto along with them for old-times sake, and we wouldn’t even notice it had happened until the riots broke out at N.A.S.A.
I cannot think of a way in which it would matter what random grouping of unrelated stars the planet Jupiter was passing in front of at the moment of my birth. I am a product of genetics and environment, not some imagined planetary confluence.
Or are we perhaps, thinking about the whole thing in entirely the wrong way?
What if we thought of the heavens in the same way we think of a clock.
We watch the hands as they move around, pointing at different combinations of numbers along their way. We know that certain of these combinations correspond to our growing hungry or tired, but we never make the mistake of believing that these things are caused by the positions of the hands on a clocks face.
(Sit down Pavlov! I’m not talking to you.)
What if these patterns which seem to have some influence over personality type (among other things) have nothing to do with the movement of objects in the heavens except that such movements are regular enough to line up (however roughly) with whatever other patterns we may notice in our lives.
Correlation may not equal causation, but it’s still a handy tool for keeping track of things.
I just don’t know.
As a polytheist, it is in my nature to accept that not only are there multiple versions of the truth, but that sometimes multiple truths may stand in conflict.
This does not mean that I just accept any crazy idea that comes down the pike.
I would need to see a lot more evidence to make me believe that something like Astrology might actually work. Until then, I’ll put it firmly in the ‘maybe’ column where it can keep Bigfoot company.
Pyramid Power and Trickle-Down Economics are still crazy. That hasn’t changed.