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< Back to question Do zodiac signs influence anything? Show more Show less

Astrology is the belief that the alignment of stars and planets at an individual's time of birth affect their mood, personality, and environment. In astrology, personalized horoscopes are printed by birth date and make vague predictions, generally about the love life, success, and health of everyone who has that sign. But how does this work? Can the movement of planets have this much impact?

Yes, zodiac signs influence our lives Show more Show less

Astrologers work on the belief that the planetary positions at the time of birth affect a person’s life in a variety of ways. Western astrology is focused on giving people what they need the most at the darkest times in their lives - reassurance.
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If you believe in the power of astrology, then it will influence you

If one is experiencing self-doubt and decides to look to the stars for an answer, suspending all disbelief will make one more open to receiving astrological guidance
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Proponents


Context

Believers of the Zodiac track planetary influence on their lives and the lives of others, often using the information to explain past behavior and predict future outcomes.

The Argument

Astrology is a tool that only works when actively chosen for a distinct purpose; that of self-reflection or discernment. A professional astrologer delivers data and offers a unique and often collaborative interpretation with the client, so buying into the practice is necessary for its functionality. Although under the radar, astrology has been a decision-making tool for a while, serving predominantly as a lamppost for times of strife. In the early 1400’s, Filippo Maria Visconti consulted astrological influences to determine everything from his daily regime to his wartime judgements.[1] In the 1970’s, western use of the zodiac began to transform into “psychological astrology,” and rather than a predictor of the future, the system became an instrument for self-analysis. A 1988 New York Times article explained that Mrs. Nancy Reagan consulted the stars to ensure her family would be safe on particular dates.[2] In 2020, amidst global unrest, there has been a surge in online astrological engagement, perhaps signaling a yearning for spirituality. The self-enhancement theory states that humans want to see themselves in a positive light and therefore are drawn to fulfilling affirmative rather than negative external expectations of themselves (a teacher’s encouragement or a friend’s compliments.) One is also far more likely to be open to making life changes if they are already experiencing self-doubt and therefore are actively searching for guidance.[3] According to a 1982 study, people who have a "low internal locus of control," or who believe they do not have complete control over their lives, are more likely to believe in astrology.[4] The zodiac can galvanize people to act, but only if the need for inspiration or clarity was already there.

Counter arguments

Neither the astrological signs nor the interpretation of information is solely responsible for manipulating human behavior – most liable is the need for external validation. If someone is suffering, they would find the signs they need in order to survive, whether it be in a friend, a book, or even on their walk outside. [3] Astrology claims to not be a science and so every piece of criticism on astrological information is deemed irrelevant. Astrology only works because clients feel content with the material given to them and not because the zodiac actually provides more information that real sciences could about each person’s behavior. The study has become psychologically interpretive only because it is more challenging to disprove a personal belief than it is an empirical experiment. There is still a likelihood that a reading will not line up with a client's personality. However, rather than acknowledge inconsistencies in the data, the astrologer can examine the client’s environment and attach meaning elsewhere. Astrologers have not agreed on their data either, so the information shared is that which seems most relevant to the client. Therefore, each zodiac sign could effectively work for each client. Astrology has become a “secular theology” full of contradictions that the mind glosses over just to validate the meaning it was already looking for. [5]

Premises

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. http://www.jstor.com/stable/j.ctt2jbpz9.7
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/1988/05/04/us/white-house-confirms-reagans-follow-astrology-up-to-a-point.html
  3. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1997-03701-007
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886916307826
  5. https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1998.82.2.527

This page was last edited on Thursday, 11 Jun 2020 at 14:39 UTC

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