The New Year’s Eve gives people a new beginning for its own sake. Every year, the weary individual, worn by the continuum of things finds a new start. While nothing changes, apart from the last digits of the date, everything does. Man, renewed by a sense of restart, resolves to set life in order again. He looks back again and reflect on the bygone, but the one thing which occupies him the most is what this unit of the future, the year, beholds for him. One is eager to look at horoscopes, predictions, and readings to see how astrologers reflect on the coming fortunes in their lives.
Today, we have enough evidence that mocks astrology as a ‘phony’ science. Its pretentiousness of tracing back its heritage to astronomy, physics, and mathematics has led to enough exasperation from the scientific community and almost anyone who seeks to see the world from a prism of scientific rationality. Yet, the lingering question is, why does astrology still survive? Why does it continue to awe and draw people the way it does even in this scientific age? Why do people follow astrology despite every evidence that lies in front of them? Why do people believe in astrology despite every reason not to?
Astrologers wield considerable space in newspaper columns and television programs at the beginning of the year. People follow predictions for their sun signs with much curiosity. Some diligently note and ponder over their predictions, some cursorily listen to it. The seriousness may vary, but the consideration is uniform. If someone claims to be able to foretell the future, why not give it a try?
The truth is, astrology, whichever way one looks at it as- a harmless vice, a phony science, or an antique trivia has continued to occupy public attention even in the age of science and technology. Different people approach philosophy with different degrees of seriousness. It is just like how forecasting and predicting continues to be something which makes headlines and amuses the public. In 2012, when the Mayan calendar came to an end, the predictions of doomsday ran amok far and wide. While every being in their senses knew that such a tale was just whimsical thinking, people still let the idea tickle their imaginations. The Ronald Emmerich movie titled ‘2012’, which was based on the apocalyptic prediction made by the Mayan calendar, grossed over 769 million dollars worldwide. Octopus Paul, who made accurate predictions about the winning teams in the 2010 football World Cup was one of the globe’s most famous celebrities that year.
Yet, for those who believe that their stars still control their lives on the Earth. There is an entire industry of astrology which thrives on their belief. This year too isn’t an exception to the barrage of foretelling and predictions that shall flow to us from all corners. The access to peek into the future before it occurs so that we can be well equipped for it is the promise that astrologers ubiquitously offer.
Is it a bad thing? Probably not. I think astrology awards to us a sense of security. A feeling of orderliness. Many cannot bear to live with the fact that all their lives are as erratic and contingent as they actually are. Thus, we hear astrologers even though we might not listen and follow them. It is the device of a vice-the urgency of knowing.
Astrology is here to stay as long as this vice is.
(The writer is a student at the New York University, Abu Dhabi)