What are Horoscopes?
Why are they so accurate? Why are they so wrong?
Who writes these horoscopes?
How do they affect my life?
Horoscopes: Generalism and it’s Thoughtful Insight
There is something magical about Horoscopes. It’s satisfying to be able to look up what is going to happen to us tomorrow, next week, or two months from now. It’s rewarding to know that someone—something truly understands our character attributes and our personality. Lets address the logical side of your questions first, I will dive into a pleasantly insightful perspective a little later. Who writes these horoscopes? How do they determine what to say? Does someone actively look up at the stars and carefully map out your individual situation? Unfortunately the answer is no. Astrology websites and their team of writers are simply generating content for you to enjoy.
When we search for our signs in popular search engines, we want to be told what to think, how to feel, or what to expect, it’s truly satisfying to see our lives line up with something that has already been written down on paper. However, what happens when our horoscopes do not come true? What happens when things do not go as expected? As we willingly accept horoscopes as fact, we begin to internalize a certain pattern of thinking. By acknowledging how our personality should be or acknowledging how we should interact with others based on their signs, we choose to remove some of our individuality. We begin to look for ways to justify our behavior through our horoscopes and we get stuck living a lie. Trust me, I whole-heartedly believed in it too. So why did we willing let horoscopes become a very influential factor in our lives? Is it because they were right the majority of the time? Well— yes and no.
Astrology sites and Horoscope writers exploit one fundamental thing about human nature — the 80/20 rule.
Without being too technical the Pareto Principle, which is the proper name for the 80/20 rule, is a law with roots in both Economics and Statistics that states 20% of causes will generate 80% of outcomes. It is best described in a series of examples, so here are a few to illustrate this concept:
- 80% of Mattress Profits come from 20% of qualified Customers
- 80% of customer purchases come from 20% of a firm’s advertising efforts
Get the idea? The majority of results come from the minority and vice versa. This phenomenon is so common in the business world because it shows a company what they should focus on. The Pareto Principle is so powerful that it holds true even in our own interpersonal relationships. Here are some examples that I believe better help us understand and generalize “facts” about human nature:
- 20% of bad choices will lead to 80% of consequences
- 20% of observations will hold true to 80% of the populace
Lets read that one more time. For emphasis.
20% of observations will hold true to 80% of the populace
Horoscopes are written in such a way that they generalize the three most important aspects of human nature: Social interaction, mating encounters, and expectant materialism. By mentioning one or more aspects of human nature, horoscope writers take advantage of general probability and assumption. For example if I was to assume that you (the reader) would eat tomorrow, chances are you will. Unless you suddenly died today or willingly went on a hunger strike tomorrow, my assumption will hold true the majority of the time. Always remember one thing: Simple observations will generate plenty of insight. Know. The. Rules. Take everything you are told with a grain of salt.
Need more proof?
Choose your favorite Astrology website. Keep tabs on three separate horoscope signs, choose yours, your significant other, and your best friend’s. Now, pay attention long enough and you will discover that most horoscopes will be reused regardless of the astrological sign. I stumbled upon this a long time ago when I looked up a horoscope for a friend. She shared the same “Astrological Prediction” that I did last Monday. It took the magic away. It really did. Whether it be a generator or a simple copy and paste, Astrology writers know that most people will only focus on themselves. It’s Fundamental human nature. They will never have to worry about making individualized horoscope predictions, they don’t need to. Most people will never bother looking at another person’s horoscope unless it directly involves them. Questions?
“Wait. I followed you up to this point and you made some compelling arguments, but earlier you said that there is something insightful about horoscopes? What else do I need to know? Aren’t all horoscopes superficial and generic?”
I’m glad you asked. Perspective is key.
Horoscopes: A Thoughtful Insight
Horoscopes do offer their audience one thing. Insight. As functioning members of society, we humans have to manage our time to achieve certain goals. Whether that means going to school, working part time, having a full time career, being in a relationship, being married, having kids— the list is infinite. As our chosen responsibilities grow, we begin to subdue some of our desires in hopes that they will find us. Wrong.
Regardless of our patience, we have to make an effort to get what what we want. There are always chances for miracles if you are willing to seek them, but that’s something we will discuss in another post. In short, there is always too much going on in our lives that we begin to miss out on certain opportunities. We may ignore a potential love interest or we might not ask for that job promotion . There are always moments that take away from our personal focus and we sometimes need someone, something to remind us of it’s importance.
This is where horoscopes come into play.
Their broad generalism actually makes us look for certain occurrences in our lives. As we search for validity in all that we do, we sometimes forget to see the opportunities that lie right in front of us. Maybe its the person at work that always tries to make you smile, or maybe its taking that day off to do something creative, Horoscopes indirectly implant an idea into your head. They make you become more aware of the situations around you and actually force you to devote time to something you never would have noticed.
So although Astrology websites would want you to believe that their predictions are accurate, they aren’t. Every horoscope is a generalized suggestion, not a definite answer or truth. Life is too full of unpredictability to let it be that easy and it is because of this that it makes life worth living. However, do Horoscopes offer you some insight? Of course they do. We always want to welcome any advice, even if it is something someone wrote down in mere minutes. Enjoy reading your Horoscope. Let them point out things in your life that you need to address, but always make sure they are worthy of your time. You are in charge of your future just as you were in charge of your past. Were you looking at horoscopes when you were five? Did you need someone or something to tell you how to enjoy yourself then? No. You already knew the answer, just as you know it now. Let Horoscopes make you become aware of your opportunities, but never let them choose them.