Editorials

Misleading signs point in wrong directions

by BENJAMIN GEE 

Students have and should express their ability to make decisions, choosing to act on what they believe and not letting predetermined circumstances define the relationships they develop or the lives they lead.

Personality, generally speaking, is the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that make a person unique, according to psychology.about.com. Many strive to comprehend their own behavior, better understand the emotions they feel and the inclinations they develop. However, some individuals believe that influences outside of human control, like celestial bodies, predetermine the events of their lives and the way their relationships will turn out. Such fatalistic (the idea that all events are predetermined and inevitable) thinking is flawed, especially when predicated on false pretenses.

Most young adults have encountered astrology, the study of the influence that distant cosmic objects have on human lives, according to howstuffworks.com, in one way or another. Students often see their horoscope in magazines or read about their “sign personalities” online. Though sharing and becoming knowledgeable on such a subject is not bad in itself, astrology and other types of pseudoscience (a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method) should govern neither a student’s thought nor decision making.

A poll by the National Science Foundation in 2014 showed that more than 40 percent of Americans, primarily ages 18-24, believe astrology is an actual science, the highest percentage it has been since 1983, according to io9.com and motherjones.com. As young adults try to find their place in the world, many turn to the otherworldly to characterize and “rationalize” their behavioral decisions and relationships. Supposedly, the position of the sun at an individual’s birth will decide his or her personality and whether or not the person gets along—or should even bother interacting—with those of the other zodiac signs.

If we are told society should not discriminate by race, why should society discriminate by astrological signs or blood type? In Japan, blood type personality or affinity has been taken extremely seriously by some. The concept of blood type discrimination even has a name in Japanese, bura-hara. Children have been bullied, relationships have been cut short and job opportunities have been lost, just because of the blood in one’s veins, according to bbc.com. Students attempt to characterize and organize themselves, using zodiac signs as a “quick and easy” way to decide how to conduct interpersonal relationships. Sign personalities and stereotypical sign behavior can become an excuse for not taking responsibility for one’s actions. Rather than getting to know others through experience, people are simply labeled Leo, Sagittarius, Aries or Gemini and are treated as such by proponents.

As members of a society more intelligent and understanding than the star-gazing Babylonians of 2000 BCE, we should be guided not only by the stars in our daily lives. Students benefit from keeping an open mind, not by fearing to interact and cooperate with others. They should not be held back by the labels they perceive. The self is a unique collection of factors and experiences; people should be viewed with this idea in mind and treated as unique individuals, not seen as just another archetype.

1 reply »

  1. Astrology has — or had — this much going for it: environmental influences on the mother during the first trimester of pregnancy can strongly affect the development of the embryo’s endocrine system. These influences include temperature, humidity, abundance or scarcity of seasonal foods, seasonal diseases, and so on. These influences were much stronger in the days before central heating, effective food preservation, mass transportation, modern medicine, etc. Even today, it’s not a good idea to conceive a child just before summer in Arizona, or winter in Alaska. You can imagine how much more noticeably the affects of environmental influences would have been in ancient times. The mysticism got added to the practical observations later, just as a fish-story tends to get better with the telling, but even the ancient mystics warned that “The stars impel, they do not compel”. Anyone looking for astrology, or any other outside influence, to “explain” his/her life is simply ducking responsibility.

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