2020__01_26_AleahGreen_ASTROLOGY_ASSUMPTIONS.png

 

With every trend comes extremists and the recycled fad of astrology is no exception. Most use Zodiac signs and horoscopes as an entertaining way of foreshadowing the future. Others take the pseudoscience way too seriously.

The pseudoscience of astrology initially achieved mainstream popularity in the 1970s and has gained new momentum in the age of social media. Apps like “Co-Star” fuel obsession with horoscopes and sign compatibility. Instagram and Twitter allow us to expand and share our knowledge of astrology. With such easy access to information and the appeal of blaming irresponsible behavior on the stars, it is no surprise that astrology has regained popularity.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the first newspaper horoscope column was written by R.H. Naylor in 1930 for the British newspaper Sunday Express. The initial piece gained so much popularity that horoscope columns became a staple of newspaper publications. Eventually, horoscope columns became websites, and now apps.

Although more popular in some decades than others, astrology momentum never came to a complete stop. According to a 2017 poll by Pew Research Center, about 30% of Americans believe in astrology.

I am not part of this 30%. I don’t completely dismiss everyone who follows astrology as misled, but I do not believe in it myself. Choosing friends based on sign compatibility is restricting and leads to missed connections. Astrology is not a legitimate way of predicting a person’s personality and therefore cannot be used to disregard or establish relationships.

I question how something that was seen by many as a form of entertainment, when there weren’t many other options, is still so popular. Perhaps our generation uses astrology as a distraction from our crisis-filled realities. Maybe others need an excuse to dismiss their annoying co-worker or roommate. Either way, there are undoubtedly many who take the pseudoscience too seriously.

We all know that person who insists they can’t vibe with Scorpios or would never date a Libra. This mindset is extremely dismissive and limiting. While it can be entertaining to follow astrology, it is important to remember that it is not real science. There have been no legitimate findings proving that celestial objects influence human behavior.

With this in mind, we cannot dismiss or excuse a person’s behavior based on their Zodiac sign. Too often, I’ve had friends go through a bad breakup and declare that they will never date a guy with that particular Zodiac sign ever again. When I ask why they explain how their signs are simply not compatible. I don’t understand how a toxic relationship has anything to do with astrology.

Instead of blaming behaviors on Zodiac signs, we should be communicating and making efforts to understand those we form relationships with. Maybe your best friend isn’t sensitive because they’re a Pisces and instead behaves that way because of a childhood trauma they experienced. Perhaps your partner isn’t controlling because they’re a Leo, but instead developed this defense mechanism due to low self-esteem.

Stop using astrology as a replacement for making efforts to genuinely understand others. Make healthy communication a habit. There is always a deeper explanation for human behavior that usually stems from past experiences, not astrology.

Another issue I have with astrology is its extreme generalization. Even if it were a recognized science, no one group of people is going to behave a certain way. Science acknowledges that there is too much variation throughout even established and proved human behaviors to predict how a certain group of people will behave in any given situation. For example, not every introvert is going to have stage fright and not every extrovert takes up public speaking as a hobby.

I can only imagine how many potential marriages or lifelong friendships will be overlooked in the name of astrology.

Although astrology is often taken too seriously, I think it is harmless when followed in moderation. Human behavior is extremely complex and difficult to unravel, yet understanding it is necessary for successful communication.

It’s no surprise that we gravitate toward something that can predict the unpredictable.