“Yeah, we’re gonna have a party, party…” Beatles, again
The Dude’s another year older.
As to how much wiser I’ve gotten… well, the jury’s still out.
So here’s my question to you: Do you buy astrology’s promise…
… and if so, do you think there’s no better sign to be born under than yours?
(And you gotta cut me total slack here, cuz it’s my birthday. So no sniping.)
My confession: There is, clearly, no rational reason to be into astrology. It’s basic premise — that the celestial arrangement floating overhead at the moment of your birth somehow influences how your life progresses — can be demolished by a fifth grader.
Empirically-minded friends are aghast at even a hint from anyone that they’re paying serious attention to the “star-crossed lovers” concept of looking for meaning in the real-world soap opera we all live in.
And my more spiritually-minded friends take guilty pleasure, anyway, in getting their horoscopes professionally done every few years.
I don’t see any reason for astrology to actually “work”.
Nor do I see any overwhelming evidence that attempts to read meaning into metaphysical matters are all bullshit.
I am officially a fence-sitter.
It’s like chiropractic, in many ways. I know that if you examine the roots of the practice, you’ll discover that the pioneers were completely nuts… and without question absolutely wrong about what adjusting muscles and bones could accomplish.
And yet, I first visited a chiropractor in my late twenties, when I was having horrific migraines every week. (Not headaches, but debilitating, brain-curdling migraines. We’re talking 8 hours in a fetal position in a dark room, wanting to die.)
My friends begged me not to go. They considered physically restraining me.
But I was having an aura one day — peripheral clouding of my vision — which meant I had about an hour before finding a cave-like refuge to ride out the coming pain…
… and I just decided to screw all the bad PR about chiropractic, and give it a try.
Nothing else had worked.
And this doc — an old-school Palmer type, with archaic electric gizmos cluttering his office — simply adjusted my neck (took all of 30 seconds)…
… and the aura vanished.
The migraine never arrived. And, though I had been leveled by them weekly for years at that point, I never had another one for two years.
When they did appear again, I found another chiro, and they stopped again.
Haven’t had one in twenty years now. First thing I do when I move to a new city is find a chiro I like. (And no, I don’t go very frequently. I’m always on a “call as needed” basis, and never go in unless I’m feeling those familiar-but-vague warning sensations.)
So, you can “prove” to me that chiropractic is bullshit all you want.
I don’t care what you come up with. I’ve got all the proof I need in my non-scientific, totally subjective personal experience.
Same with astrology.
I have no idea how to argue for it to anyone else. Back in college, some chick did my chart… and, though she didn’t know a thing about me, just nailed my past and predicted some very near-future events with jaw-dropping accuracy.
And — even stranger, to me — years after my college career, I discovered that the core group of people I kept in touch with…
… were all Sagittarians. Born in December. And we all get along like twins. And did so before we realized we shared a sign.
I realize this is hardly earth-shaking news.
But I have not been able to rationally put away my suspicions that astrology may have something going for it… something way beyond my ability to understand.
I’m a psychology grad. I’ve spent a lifetime examining the mysteries of human personality and interaction… which has come in handy as a salesman, let me tell ya.
As a hard-core direct response dude, I care more about results than theory.
I cannot always explain to someone why a certain tactic works in marketing. As an old-school copywriter, I learned early to listen to my gut when approaching new markets with a pitch… and sometimes, your gut will deliver advice that runs counter to every sane, logical, and rational direction available.
And to insist to a client — when there’s big money on the line — that your gut is right… even as other experts are tearing out hair and rending clothes at the very thought of doing what you suggest…
… well, after a while (if you’re successful), you start to appreciate the Mysterious Forces floating around us.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Even so, I don’t make any hard decisions based on astrology. I just like to flirt with it.
I like to visit psychics, too, every few years. Back when I was studying street-level salesmanship (hanging out with 3-card Monte experts and other sleight-of-hand masters), I became aware of “cold reading” skills (gaming the gullibility of a stranger using physical clues and “tells”)… and I like to see how experts continue to use them.
A good psychic is, most often, a bullshitter of immense talent. They practice their craft as well as a great poker player. (And you know the mantra of playing poker, don’t you? “If you look around the table, and you don’t know who the sucker is… then YOU’RE the sucker.”)
… a couple of times…
… well, let’s just say that certain psychics I couldn’t nail as cold-readers… laid some heavy duty observations on me that turned out to be shockingly accurate. Just like the amateur astrologer back in college.
Some people just wave all this nonsense away, appalled that anyone with half a brain could even tolerate its existence.
To me, though, it’s like love.
Have you ever tried to explain love to someone who’s never been there?
There is a case to be made that it’s just a complex (yet chartable) series of chemical and mechanical reactions in your body and brain.
A glandular event, genetically engineered to propagate the species.
But, as a human being, that doesn’t come close to adequately explaining love, does it.
One of the biggest advantages I’ve experienced as a professional ad writer…
… is that I get to dally with all this metaphysical, spooky, out-there stuff to my heart’s content.
And, oddly, it actually provides killer insight when selling stuff to other humans.
Cuz we’re a wacky blob of biology and life-force, lemme tell ya.
And yeah… as a proud Sagittarius, born at 4:44pm on a Saturday with the moon in Leo (and living with a Scorpio who keeps me challenged and on my toes)…
… I can say that I honestly feel sorry for anyone not born under this sign.
How do you Taurus’ and Gemini’s live with yourselves?
Okay. Rumination over.
Love to hear your thoughts.
John Carlton, b-day boy