Kyle Hill asks an interesting question in the Skeptical Inquirer: What if astrology were true? It wouldn’t just mean that more people would check their horoscope every day to find out what their fate is, it would have enormous implications for human nature and, especially, psychology and sociology.
If astrology were true, society would fracture. Over time we would learn what days of the year gave rise to what kinds of people. Like parents who want their children to become professional hockey players, mothers would calculate conception and birthing times in order to give their son or daughter a particular star sign. Pharmaceutical companies would make a killing developing the drugs that allowed mothers to delay and control births more effectively. Being born into a specific astrological sign would create grand social rifts. Different schools would spring up as they did for different religions in twentieth century Ireland. Potential mates would need not only good looks but also descendants who shared the same sign. Libras and Aries would be the modern Capulets and Montagues.
Studies would be undertaken to establish the psychology determined by stars and planets. The zodiac would replace Myers Briggs. Modern descriptions of psychopathy would include “being a Gemini” as a defining symptom. The Diagnostic and Statistics Manual cites Mercury as much as it does brain chemistry in a world where astrology is true.
Political parties would also incorporate star signs. Candidates run on the basis of how compatible they are with Cancers and Leos—perhaps key demographics. The Speaker of the House would need to be in the astrological 10th House. And when faraway stars eventually shift enough to change star signs, revolutions follow. A new type of human would enter the mix every few centuries. The status quo would be forever challenged by the whims of gravity…
Forget the news, horoscopes are gospel when astrology is true. Dwindling science sections of newspapers are outright discontinued as the future-divining astrologers devour column space. Don’t worry about who you might meet or where your life is going, that is up to the wobble and wanderings of Mars, they say. And after any day’s reading, good or bad, our solar system will eventually replay that particular planetary configuration like a cosmic vinyl record. Your future is simplified. Every so often the planets will conspire to bring about the same set of outcomes from the infinitely possible ones. Hope you saved your horoscope from a few years back, you are going to receive (another) interesting business proposal once those planets realign.
As a teenager, I fell for Christianity but I never fell for astrology. I viewed it as utterly absurd from the first moment I heard of it. Everyone born during a particular period of time has the same personality traits and faces the same fate? Come on, no one actually believes that, do they? Unfortunately, yes. But it’s every bit as dumb as believing that everyone born in the “year of the dog” will have the same traits.