Nothing is written in the stars

Mills Sparkman, Opinion Editor

The bad news: Mercury is in retrograde, according to this year’s Farmer’s Almanac. The good news: it doesn’t matter.

In recent years, astrology has gained a new life in memes on social media. We use it to explain the ups and downs of our lives, but we’re playing a dangerous game.

The app Co-Star gives users a full astrological chart reading and access to their friend’s charts, so people can see how similar their friends are to them — or not.

It’s popular among college students and young adults for its clean aesthetic and “personal” notifications, sent twice a day.

While it may seem fun, astrology has no scientific or rational base.

First of all, astrology isn’t scientific. The Babylonians who invented astrology believed the sun rotated around the Earth, and astrologers still use Earth-centered charts today, according to a Nov. 7 Guardian article.

But that’s the least of its problems. Astrology doesn’t have any basis besides our own intuition.

Astrology utilizes the Barnum effect, a psychological trick in which people believe personality descriptions apply only to them, even though the descriptions are general and apply to almost anyone, according to Encyclopedia Brittanica.

This intuition can lead to snap judgements and can sort people into arbitrary categories rather than considering them as individuals.

People tend to turn to astrology in times of fear and uncertainty, according to an Aug. 12 Guardian article.

When things go wrong, we look for explanations that suggest the crisis was out of our hands and that it can be resolved without taking direct action.

For young adults, who often struggle with student loans and finding a job, astrology is very appealing, according to the same Guardian article.

We like astrology for two reasons: it makes things simple and takes things out of our hands. But people are not simple, and we are responsible for our own fates.

We can’t let our lives be ruled by the stars, even if we say it’s just for fun. Delete Co-Star, forget your star sign and consider people as individuals rather than Libras or Scorpios.

The bad news: nothing is written in the stars. The good news: we can make our own decisions.