Tuesday, February 14, 2012

tangent on horoscopes

since this is my only blog and i don't feel like opening another one, i've decided to periodically post random things.  they will have the label "tangent."

Reuven was not feeling well and went home to his family. On that very day, his horoscope said that being with family when ill makes you feel better. Reuven found this interesting.

Sarah and I did not find this interesting. We felt that this is a coincidence. Perhaps slightly more than coincidence, actually--it is a manipulation based on statistical probability designed to be relevant to a majority of human beings.

Reuven thinks that making decisions based on horoscopes is a Torah prohibition of "Lo S'Onenu." Therefore, had Reuven not been feeling well and read in his horoscope that he should go home, he would not have done so. However, Reuven already intended to go home (or was on his way home) so there was no prohibition. Reuven thinks that astrology has some knowledge (chochma or wisdom) that it "knew" that he was sick and going home.

Reuven does not think this is "astonishing." It did not "blow his mind" or make him think that he should consult astrology because it has the answer to all of life's questions.Reuven did not even think this was "amazing." He does not think that it is a fantastic source of knowledge or wisdom. However, Reuven  does think it is "interesting." He thinks that this accuracy indicates that there is some bit of wisdom and truth here.

Reuven is not "superstitious." Perhaps, as Ari often puts it, he is merely a bit "stitious."

In my opinion, most people in the world are either with their family or not with their family. (Ok, that actually applies to ALL people in the world). If they are sick, they will either find comfort in their family or yearn for their family. "Sick" can be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. So this applies to the majority of people, since most people have some form of unhappiness that can be interpreted as "sick." This is why Sarah and I do not believe that there is anything significant in this.

I paraphrase the episode of South Park where Stan pretends to be a psychic:
Stan: "I'm getting the month... November..."
Lady: "Oh, my god! My mother's birthday is in November!"
Stan: "Oh.. I chose November because Thanksgiving is in November and I figured you'd probably have some family memories about that... but birthday works, too."

Ibn Ezra on Vayikra 19:31 (do not turn to those who speak to the Dead) says:
Those who seek to know the future and those who are empty headed say, "If not for the fact that fortune tellers and magic are true, the Torah would not forbid it." And I say the opposite of their words: The Torah does not prohibit the truth, only sheker. And the proof is the prohibition of idols and statues.

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