Astrology in the form of horoscopes is a very carefully crafted meme. It may have actually meant something long, long ago and had tangible results. Lately, astrology in the form of horoscopes is, for lack of a better phrase, a piece of crap. All of us at some point have been tempted to see what our future holds according to the back pages trashy supermarket magazines. Astrology is easy to remember and easy to pass on to others. It is part of it’s appeal. It gives a person an explanation of differences and a prediction of the future. It gives both believers and non-believers a way to justify natural human behavior. “Oh that guy, doesn’t like me? We wouldn’t have gotten along anyway, he’s and Aquarius and I’m a Gemini.” It can easily be spread from generation to generation because people are automatically assigned astrological signs when they are born. All it takes is word of mouth advertisement (which, let’s be honest, we get plenty of) for the research into horoscopes and the purchase of trashy supermarket magazines to begin.
The meme exists in the realm of ideas, but has a behavioral component as well. Everything astrology tells you is an intentionally vague prediction of your love life, job, or everyday musings. The writers of the horoscopes have to do this to make the predictions true to large number of people. All that is being passed along are ideas. Sure the stars and constellations are tangible evidence of astrology, but the predictions and horoscopes, are most certainly not. As far as the behavioral component is concerned, it all depends on the person. If they take it seriously enough, they will behave according to their prediction. If it tells them that a love interest will come their way on the 28th, they may go out to a bar on the 28th. If it tells them that they will have a bad day on the 14th, they may stay in all day on the 14th.
Since the beginning of horoscopes, they have all been the same for the most part. I did a little digging and since the beginning they have all done the same thing for members of society. They will tell you something about your character, but nothing concrete. There have not really been any changes. If any, it would be the addition of a new sign a few years ago. IT FREAKED EVERYONE OUT. Everyone thought their sign would change and they were not okay with it (but nothing actually changed for people already born). Can you imagine if everything that you believed about your future or your character, things that you were determined since your birth, changed? No wonder people freaked out.
This horoscope meme has spread so far and wide because it is simple and it tells people what they want to hear. It doesn’t matter if you tell people that horoscopes are false either, they will still play into it because there is no harm being done. It is all fun. Horoscopes and astrology go so far back that as people around the world migrated, they took their ideas with them. Through this, the environment became the whole world.
According to Blackmore, “the essence of any memeplex is that the memes inside it can replicate better as part of the group than they can on their own.” Horoscopes tag along with the whole astrology memeplex. If they were not tied in somehow with something tangible, like the stars, no one would believe in the predictions and the idea as a whole would fail. Other forms of divination and psychic ability, as well as zodiac, are included in this memeplex. Horoscopes, as a meme theory, are not particularly useful or intellectually stimulating. People “believe” in it because it is easy, it is fun, and there is no commitment. The critique would be just that: it offers nothing.