It’s been a month: time for an astrology post.
Several people have suggested that even if astrology isn’t accurate, it encourages introspection and self-examination. For example a horoscope might tell a person he is rude or thoughtless of the views of others. He uses this as an aid to understanding himself better, and changes his rude behavior.
The obvious response is that most believers view astrology as real, and not a false-but-useful method of self-analysis. The thousands of astrologers charging for their services certainly make this assumption.
But let’s ignore this for now. Let’s consider if astrology could encourage people to examine themselves and change bad habits when they otherwise wouldn’t.
I can think of two arguments against this. The first is that since personality characteristics predicted by astrology bear no relation to the actual personality characteristics, astrology is not much use as an aide to self-awareness. For example, if the horoscope tells the person he is rude or thoughtless of the views of others, but his actual problem is (say) laziness, astrology will have him fixing the wrong problem. His real problem will remain.
The second argument is that most people use astrology as an excuse for bad behavior rather than an opportunity to change it. For example, for many years I thought my being a Libra meant I would always have difficulty making decisions, and used this as an excuse to delay decision making. Of course, I realize now I have no more trouble making decisions than anyone else. I don’t allow myself that excuse anymore, but that is because I stopped using astrology, not because it helped me understand myself better. Belief in astrology actually held me back for many years.
Introspection is a lame excuse for using astrology. Astrology supports magical thinking and opposes rationality and science, which is bad enough. But it also reinforces and even encourages behavior the person might not even engage in but for their chart telling them that’s the way they are.
Astrology is wrong, it doesn’t work, and in my view it’s worse than useless for self-examination.