94% of the respondents said that the profile described them with a varying degree of accuracy. In truth, the profile was that of Dr. Petiot, a serial killer. If an astrologer can go that far without meeting the client in person, it is easy to imagine the extent to which an attentive, experienced fortune teller will influence theirs.
Here is a so-called “ready-made profile”, the one-size-fits-all kind of “star sign personality analysis” you can find in the horoscope section of a newspaper or a magazine and easily apply to yourself:
“Sometimes you are open, gentle and social, sometimes you are closed off, restrained and distant. You don’t think it’s right to share secrets with others. You like change and variety; you don’t like to face limitations. Even if you look disciplined and self-controlled from the outside, you are anxious on the inside. Although you have your weaknesses, you can compensate for them. You have great potential that you don’t use to your advantage. You are prone to self-criticism. You need other people to like and admire you.” Anyone would think that this description fits their star sign, because these are common traits that all people share. Those who believe in astrology believe that the star signs both determine their character and guide them throughout their lives.
There are many people practicing horoscopy as a profession in our country and they have numerous clients; horoscope newspapers and booklets are printed, daily, monthly and quarterly horoscopes are published, and an independent horoscope press is forming. Many people look only at the last page of newspapers to read the horoscope, and newspapers use horoscopes to get people to read the news.
Those who believe in astrology believe that different star signs have different effects on a person depending on the date of their birth, and that the effect is lifelong—a sort of zodiacal determinism. The stars closest to us are in the Alpha Centauri system. These stars are 4.27 light-years away from the Sun (one light-year is the distance light travels in one year at a speed of 300,000 km per second, so the distance from us to Alpha Centauri is 40,000,000,000,000 km). How can a star affect a person from such a distance? If we are talking about star signs, why not talk about the effects of the sun, which is also a star? If we are talking about the influence of planets like Mars and Saturn, why is it called star signs? Those who came up with the star signs did not understand the difference between a star and a planet. In ancient times, only astronomy was developed, while understanding the difference between a star and a planet requires astrophysical knowledge. In the absence of astrophysics, it was relatively easy to put astronomical observations to the service of astrology.
When grouping people according to different star signs based on their date of birth, we will do well to remember that nature is not aware of the calendar created by man, and there are different calendars created by man, all of which are conventional. If star signs defined human nature, there would be only 12 types of people, and there would not be so many religions and political systems invented to control them, the humanities would not have developed so many different theories to understand humans, and there would not be so much debate in social sciences about the extent to which human behavior is determined by nature and social environment. Human being would be considered completely as a creation of nature. If there were only 12 types of people, there would be only 12 varieties of daily lives of 7 billion people, and about 600 million people would have to, say, follow the advice to “go on a trip” on the same day.
Grouping stars into constellations before the telescope was discovered was not accurate either, because a star that is brighter and farther away appears closer than a dim star that is actually closer to us. First horoscopes based on star constellations appeared at a time when astronomy was not yet separated from astrology, and modern knowledge says that star constellations cannot affect humans. The scientific nature of astrology is rejected by various experiments (Carlson experiment, Dean and Kelly tests, Silverman questionnaires). Actually, there is a great opportunity for fortune tellers if they believe in what they claim, they just need to be brave enough to be tested. The James Randi Educational Foundation in the United States promises a $1 million reward to anyone who demonstrates any paranormal ability (astrology, telepathy, telekinesis, astral travel, levitation, etc.) or phenomenon to an independent observer. Confident fortune tellers can take this test and get rich easily. An astrologer, in particular, can get this reward demonstrating a reverse operation—by giving the accurate date of a person’s birth based on certain characteristics. Astrologers generate descriptions of the same things people face on a daily basis—disagreements, health problems, financial difficulties—ascribing them to a different star sign every day, as if predicting the events of people’s lives, so people believe them. And people take the advice to “be careful on the road”, “take care of your health”, “spend less money” as if these were indeed personalized recommendations. Now consider this: Earth’s spin axis makes a full rotation once every 26,000 years, and if we divide this number by 12, we get that the positions of the constellations shift by one constellation in just over 2,000 years. We are in fact wrong when we read the horoscope for our sign—we should read the horoscope for the previous or next one.
Belief in astrology is a manifestation of man’s intellectual life in the age of myths, an indication of man’s pre-scientific mentality. The concept of destiny is widespread in unscientific societies (or rather communities), as well as among the peoples of the East, which is why the map of the East, like Africa, is drawn with a ruler held by the Western hand. Easterners always see the problem outside themselves and blame some secret forces. However, since this is just an accusation, they become a toy in the hands of different forces again, only this time these forces are real and they do not realize it. Epictetus, the famous Stoic of the “amor fati” school of thought, did not object to his master, when the latter broke his leg with tongs, but said calmly, “You have broken my leg.” People often do not even realize that their legs are broken.
The concept of fate and destiny is widespread in Azerbaijan like in all Eastern nations. There are many people who go to astrologers, fortune tellers, sacred places, shamans, mullahs, and rely on dream interpretations, prayers and horoscopes. These people think that their fate depends on the whims of supernatural forces. The concept of destiny is supported by many people and institutions for a variety of reasons, such as profit and comfort.
It is no coincidence that one of the most beloved poets in Azerbaijan, Ramiz Rovshan, is a fatalist poet against the background of “amor fati”, genetic determinism. Ramiz Rovshan is very popular in the fatalist environment, and he, in turn, lives up to the expectations of those who love him by promoting fatalism. A society selects and promotes an individual with a certain talent, which, in turn, affects the society. Resignation is the central concept in the work of this poet, who wants to die on a spring night, who takes the fact that the sky does not hold stones as a great wisdom, who desires a woman in a black dress, who sees a baby snake growing up into a snake as a tragedy, who does not justify the hopes of moonlight. The poet’s poems kill your love of life, inoculate you with pessimism and gloom, show you no option other than cursing fate, take away your will to live (he even says, “if we had known, we would not have been born, our mothers deceived us”). Although pessimistic, Ramiz Rovshan is undoubtedly a successful poet, but the poet’s artistic atmosphere is built in an animist psychological sphere. There are almost no sentiments of modern man who broke away from nature, discovered the state and science, and built a society with the ties of citizenship. We have many artists whose work is all about fatalism. It is not surprising that our most beloved musicians are sad and pessimistic solo performers. Even if poems of other popular and young poets about heaven, death, Azrael, shroud, execution and the like are lamentations against fatalism, they ultimately emanate the spirit of resignation, they are murmurs from the mouth on a stooped head. A meaningless poetic “rebellion” against the invariable biological end has been lulling the Eastern man to sleep for centuries. The inability to distinguish between the immutable laws of nature and the changeable human condition is also a manifestation of intellectual weakness. As a result, we get a very sad “wise” person who fears life and thus has no life experience. The sadder the person, the more they are respected.
However, as humans became more civilized, built a written culture, and moved from a pre-industrial society to an industrial one, science was created to control nature, and people were grouped in institutions and state was created to give them a common goal and control them. An individual can get rich by winning lottery, but the whole country cannot, economic institutions must be properly organized, people must be able to see where they can be, and they must have social mobility. Creating science and the state, showing religion its place is also taking one’s destiny in one’s hands. We must distinguish between the unchangeable and the changeable in life: to accept what cannot be changed, like death, as natural, and to change what can be changed, like way of life, in a civilized way. The most important thing is to have this opportunity and a mind that can see the difference. Calls for a religious state can also be seen as calls to entrust our destiny to others. It is a known fact that sects are attached to individuals and individuals are attached to other individuals. The state is a post-religious phase, an institution of mutual solidarity created by people who gave up on heaven. Developed societies first relied on magic, then on prayer, until they finally realized that the right path was the state and science.
The stars barely shine through the grimy city air—remember that if you live in the city and want to see the stars. As Shakespeare said, “The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves”.