25 May 2007
"If you wanted further proof that astrology is perhaps the biggest hoax perpetrated on the Indian public, take a look at some of the predictions made about the cricket World Cup. Not a single Bombay astrologer predicted that India would crash out before reaching the Super Eights. That charming fraud, Bejan Daruwala, said India had a "strong chance" of winning the World Cup and that either Rahul Dravid or Munaf Patel would be "player of the tournament". Who would score the maximum runs, Ma Prem Rithambara was asked. Dhoni or Tendulkar, she replied. And take the most wickets? Irfan Pathan. Sanjay Jumaani, who calls himself a numerologist, after giving some mumbo jumbo on how 2007 adds up to the number 9—which represents Mars and hence is the "best" number for India—concluded that the man who will score the most runs is Robin Uthappa! When will we stop taking these charlatans seriously?"
- Rahul Singh (Source: Outlook, May 21, '07)
I've seen three matrimonial prospects fail, in the last month, among acquaintances because the horoscopes didn't suggest good compatibility between the prospective couple. Whatever that means! No two astrologers - supposedly experts - they consulted had agreed on any point. Everything about astrology is vague to a ridiculous degree and yet people go by it as if it's absolute. Just because its origins date back to the earliest of times, it is held that it must be authentic. And I never get this logic.
Westerners say their system is superior, Easterners say theirs is. Just like every religion shouts it is the greatest. Which one you believe in depends, simply, on your preferences. These are not signs of a science, but only a belief system.
1.If it is indeed "absolute", as all the believers claim, why is there so much disagreement (not at the interpretation level - which is understandable - but at the conceptual level itself) between experts themselves?
2.Prior to the 6th century BCE, people attributed the reasons for natural events to the will of the gods. That the primitive people believed in the supernatural and attributed traits to celestial bodies is not any mysterious to be taken seriously. Go to a forest, experience a storm at night, watch a few relations die, and it'll scare the life out of anyone. Utterly at a loss to explain the phenomena, he will also believe that the secret lies up above in the skies. That they pass a belief system driven by fear as definite science is beyond my comprehension.
3.Just because science fails to offer an explanation to a particular event, it doesn't imply that the principle of supernaturalism is preserved.
4.As to horoscopes and personality profiles, it is nothing but bullshit. Amusing that millions take it seriously. A fitting example of Barnum effect.
5.In a concentration camp, the fate of thousands depends on the mood of the chap holding the gun. Where do stars/planets figure? Drop a nuclear bomb and no heaven can alter the fate of the thousands down there. Put a gloomy face and you could pass as a budding poet in the streets of Montmartre, Paris, but you could be tried by law for the same expression if you are in Pocatello, Idaho. How much interference do the celestial objects have in effecting these consequences?
6.As regards coincidences and miracles, they are just that. Events with million-to-one odds happen 295 times a day in America. In the course of any normal person's life, miracles happen roughly once a month. Nothing to do with the magic in the skies.
7.The believers in this dubious system seem to adopt the reverse approach - first the sentence, then the trial. They begin by assuming the certainty of the system and then begin the hunt for clues to justify their stand. If you want to find, you will obviously find, because it's not out there but in your mind. A perfect symptom of cluttered illusion.
8.And why are there no straight answers when one asks "what exactly do they affect? And, importantly, how?"
As the saying goes, "We see what we look for, not what we look at". It's in the nature of belief, and shapes one's mechanism of perception. To be out of it is the trick. Huxley, in The Doors of Perception, suggests: "To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large— this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual."
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