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Astrology as Pseudo-Psychology Essay

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Updated: Sep 5th, 2022

Abstract

Astrology is likely to be the most popular form of pseudo-psychology, and it is based on a belief that the arrangement of stars and planets at the time of a person’s birth determines personality traits and influences behavior. It has been repeatedly proven that astrology, like other pseudo psychologies, lacks scientific credibility. Pseudo-psychology is any unreasonable system that resembles psychology. Many pseudo-psychologies look like science outwardly, but in reality, they are false. Pseudo-psychologies change little over time since their followers ignore evidence that contradicts their ideas. However, astrology is one of the most stable forms of pseudo-psychology, which always has the interest of the public and skillfully adapts to new discoveries. Unlike real scientific concepts, pseudo-psychologies are not based on experimental verification. Astrology possesses a long history, which originates from Neolithic Europe. Today, experts in psychology universally consider the given practice as pseudo-psychology, but some of the most prominent psychologists were influenced by astrology, which is manifested in a number of controversies.

Introduction

Astrology has always been one of the most controversial forms of pseudoscience. It has a wide range of dimensions ranging from mere predictions to psychological assessments of individuals. Although it might have been relevant in the past during the rudimentary stage of scientific thinking, it became highly deceptive and illogical due to the lack of a solid factual basis of evidence. Therefore, astrology had a place in the past, but in current psychology, it is condemned by experts and perceived as a highly controversial form of pseudo-psychology.

History

Astrology is a science that studies the influence of planets on the fate of people. Like other scientific disciplines, astrology operates with a system of laws, methods, and formulas that were derived in the course of its development. Various directions of astrology give a description of past and present events, characteristics of people, organizations, countries, and phenomena, identify the potential manifestation of certain circumstances in the future. It is stated that astrology’s roots emerge from as early as the Neolithic culture of Europe (Willis & Curry, 2020). Astrology deals with the laws of the universe, whose effectiveness manifests itself regardless of our desire or unwillingness to recognize them.

Astrology, developing in the struggle between religious and moral ideas, at the stage of the formation of world religions, has developed a universal subject content that has determined a uniform space of confessional community. In dark historical times and critical epochs, due to this quality, the given form of pseudo-psychology retained the integrity of the worldview and inspired a sense of world harmony. This was also facilitated by the genetic community of astrology and religion, which grew out of mythological thinking.

On the way from irrationalism to rationalism, astrology has not yet emerged from an intermediate cultural position between science and art, religion and philosophy. Based on this fact, comparative science of culture becomes a discipline that creates opportunities for identifying the specifics of the phenomenon of astrology, highlighting active magical and passive mystical principles in the astrological picture of the world, determining the features of Western and Eastern worldview of cosmic. It is stated that astrology had a major influence over Christopher Columbus’s reasoning and belief system (Smoller, 2017). Especially important is the hermeneutic method of studying ancient esoteric fortune-telling symbols associated with astrology that existed in a particular culture.

Space and the universe, which is the subject of knowledge in astrology, is an ambiguous category. It has many natural-practical and socio-aesthetic shades. A special problem was the understanding of the place of God in the hierarchy of the world and the question of determination arising from it, which is especially relevant for the astrological doctrines of predestination. At the crisis stages of the development of the phenomenon of astrology, cultural dialogue, and polemics about the degree of cosmic determinism were inevitable. In these disputes, concepts gradually differentiated, and probabilistic astrology and religious eschatology slowly moved away from each other.

Experts

It is important to note that the scientific community of psychologists regard astrology as a pseudoscience and pseudo-psychology. One of the most prominent psychologists and psychoanalysts, Carl Jung, was an active believer in astrological statements. It is stated that the majority of his claims were based on his firm belief in the given form of pseudoscience, but it is mostly overlooked or neglected due to the lack of awareness (Buck, 2018). In other words, the overall influence of astrology cannot be underestimated because even the most famous experts held certain predispositions towards such an unscientific theoretical framework.

Despite the fact that many experts do not consider astrology as a valid system of knowledge in psychology, it always remained relatively popular, and the overall interest has never declined. The study suggests that the given form of pseudo-psychology was still in demand and had firm believers for the last two centuries, whereas other manifestations of pseudoscience, such as phrenology, had mostly episodic patterns (Genovese, 2015). Therefore, one needs to be aware of the overall resilience of astrology in the minds of the masses. The experts’ attempt to understand the resilient nature of astrology is based on the notion that any form of failure can be elaborately and deceptively explained. In addition, according to various psychologists, there is a high level of intuitive appeal towards astrology, whereas other pseudosciences try to be empirical (Genovese, 2015). In other words, astrology is a complete set of methods and beliefs that knows how to make its failures a part of the system.

In general, the astrological pseudoscience was an attempt to bring a certain form of order and predictability into natural occurrences. It is stated that it is a culturally transmitted heuristic scheme that wants to determine the correct sequence of patterns (Hamilton, 2015). It is important to understand that psychological aspects emerge from irrelevant movements of celestial objects that have no real correspondence with the given motions. Similar to phrenology that wants to explain one’s psychological background through the analysis of the person’s skull, astrology attempts to do this by assessing the stars and planets. The given approach lacks a logical chain of reasoning and rational comprehension because the false correlative basis requires a major leap of faith in making bold assumptions.

Controversy

Astrology is a highly controversial form of pseudo-psychology that has no relevance and place in the modern state of scientific progress. Astrology does not discover anything new, and it only transfers its old ideas to new areas such as forecasting the weather and substantiating correct theories of psychology. The problem with astrology is its inherent incorrectness, and not at all the lack of developmental results. The program of searching for aggressiveness in the character of people born under the sign of Mars, when aggressiveness is attributed to the planet Mars only on the basis of a reddish tint in the visible spectrum, is not justified (Willis & Curry, 2020). Auxiliary hypotheses, attracted by astrologers about the meaning of the so-called signs of the zodiac, about the presence of a force that transfers the influence of planets to people, are initially unreliable.

Similarly, it can be said that theology could have been a science, even if it did not leave behind scientific traces. Two thousand years of history of theology have shown that it is not at all a matter of inept interpreters of the supposedly correct texts from the beginning (Willis & Curry, 2020). The problem turned out to be that the content of the books themselves initially had nothing to do with the real structure of the world. It seems that here there is an ascription of research qualities to ideas that were not oriented towards development and critical testing. Evidently, one can appeal to the lack of knowledge in antiquity and the underdevelopment of science and technology. However, one should not think that in ancient times people were so naive that they could not distinguish a real research program from mysticism, attributing everything that happened to the action of supernatural forces. At all times, there have been people who think in terms of materialistic naturalism and are inclined towards scientific, experimental methodology.

As one can observe, the requirement for the mandatory existence of an equivalent theory is debatable. Moreover, even if such an approach exists, there are still many subtleties when comparing it with a testable hypothesis. Thus, if people want to criticize the astrological theory of the correspondence between the characters of people and the signs of the zodiac, comparing it with the equivalent and the theory of personality psychological types from psychology, then one needs to be prepared for methodological problems. Psychological types revealed in astrology and psychology are similar, and the diagnostic methods are not too definite in both cases. In addition, if people are referring to the violation of fundamental laws, but at a new level of consideration, then one contradiction is not enough to characterize the hypothesis. The law of conservation of energy is undoubtedly a scientific achievement, measured with a great deal of accuracy. However, the Big Bang theory should not be declared a pseudoscience only on the grounds that the law of conservation of energy is violated in it when the universe emerged.

Conclusion

In conclusion, astrology’s historical roots go as early as Neolithic Europe, and despite its universal condemnation by the scientific community of psychologists, the most prominent experts were not free from its influence. I think that each psychological aspect of astrology is initially compiled in such a way that the information described in it could happen with a high probability. It is important to understand that vague wording is quite possible to do this. It is also interesting that having heard his fate a person begins to correct his own perception of the events taking place with him in accordance with this information. The human psyche is outstanding for its ability to adapt, self-program, and implement the functions and properties necessary for survival. If a difficult situation arises, but a person has a stable psyche, then these internal reserves are activated.

References

Buck, S. (2018). Hiding in plain sight: Jung, astrology, and the psychology of the unconscious. The Journal of Analytical Psychology, 63(2), 207-227.

Genovese, J. E. C. (2015). Interest in astrology and phrenology over two centuries: A Google Ngram study. Psychological Reports, 117(3), 940-943.

Hamilton, M. A. (2015). Astrology as a culturally transmitted heuristic scheme for understanding seasonality effects: A response to Genovese. Comprehensive Psychology, 4(7), 1-11.

Smoller, L. A. (2017). History, prophecy, and the stars: The Christian Astrology of Pierre d’Ailly, 1350-1420. Princeton University Press.

Willis, R., & Curry, P. (2020). Astrology, science and culture: Pulling down the Moon. Routledge.

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