Why does astrology still exist?

Answer by Craig Weinberg:

I also wondered why astrology was taken seriously by anyone, until I took the time to actually investigate what it is and what it is not. What I found, and what anyone who is able to study astrological systems should find if they are able to view it with scientific objectivity, is that confirmation bias, like the placebo effect, can go both ways.

Just because it is easy to be fooled by the vague generalities of astrological interpretation does not mean that there is nothing at all of value there. To the contrary, divination systems such as Astrology, Numerology, Tarot, and the I Ching are among the most insightful ontological tools that I have ever encountered, and represent the sum total of the wisdom and philosophy of pre-scientific history.

After doing hundreds of charts for people I know, interesting world figures, and periods of history, I can say with confidence that anyone who thinks that astrology is nothing but scientific illiteracy and fraud does not really know very much about astrology. Not that there is not a tremendous amount of illiteracy and fraud out there, especially in the psychic-horoscope market, but again, popular abuse of something is not an argument against proper use. Looking at the charts of a family, the number of unlikely coincidences and meta-coincidences among the natal charts of the family members has never failed to blow me away. Every chart tells a story, and every family is a like a quantum mechanical ensemble of stories and themes.

Astrology still exists because neither science nor religion offers a comprehensive theory of identity and history which respects the subjective qualities that actually matter in such considerations. It provides a language to talk about esoteric themes within personal and social experience, as well as a compelling framework with which to analyze historical events.

The mistake that people make is to assume that the purpose of astrology is prediction. While astrology can indeed be of some predictive value, it would be a mistake to try to use it that way intentionally. Astrology doesn’t predict events, it maps the coincidence of psychological themes to the coincidence of planetary configurations.

Applying those coincidences can invite apophenia (delusional projection of patterns), but when attended to with maturity, they can also be used to cut through mental clutter (associated with activity of the prefrontal cortex) and pick up on deeper, more intuitive sensitivity to the flow of our personal lives.

In recent years, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) theory has become popular, and enjoys more respectability than astrology among highly educated audiences. MBTI was based on Jung’s work on personality types, which itself was based on astrological dichotomies.

Why does astrology still exist?

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