Zodiac signs and horoscopes are used as a descriptor of personality and predictor of fortune in modern day society. They can be found in various newspapers — including The Daily Gamecock — and websites in order to tell people their daily fortune and lucky numbers.
Even though it doesn't come up around me often, many people know and identify with their zodiac signs.
But the zodiac system has outlived its usefulness as a scientific tool and now lives on as a pseudoscience that we use to explain our personalities.
Zodiac signs were developed by the Babylonians as far back as , and then adopted by the in the fourth century B.C. as a way to track the seasons and positions of the sun and moon. This science helped societies that were fully dependent on agriculture to determine good times for planting and when the harvest would be ready. But now, it is commonly believed that the mythologies of past cultures often came from people trying to explain things that they did not understand.
The same can be inferred about the mythology of the zodiac. One of the clearest examples of this is , which coincidentally “rules the skies” from mid-August to Feb. 18. The sign means “water bearer," and in the past acted as the definition of the . Because this season had a major impact on Babylonian farmers, they used the zodiac signs to mark when the heavens would start providing much needed water.
While this myth makes sense in the culture in which it first started, trying to apply the same myths to modern culture doesn't work. Now that our society knows the science of the seasons and weather patterns, these myths are meaningless.
In a culture so eager to defy the times that preceded it, giving such credence to the science of a few thousand years ago seems at best anachronistic and at worst backward. When the horoscopes were adopted by Greece, it was still around 1800 years before realized that the solar system did not revolve around Earth. Why, then, do people base having certain personality traits on this severely outdated science?
As college students, so many of us are in the process of defining our identity. We are working through how our religion, race, gender, sexual preferences and activities will define us going into adulthood. All these things are real traits about us that affect our lives.
Some students come into college feeling as though they have been forced into a specific identity by their parents and community. Now that they are in college they have more power over what they will be defined by. Yet, some still choose to be identified by an archaic calendar system and allow it to dictate what their personalities and futures are.
There is so much about a person that is unique and cannot be predicted by the randomness of the month in which he or she was born.
Horoscopes belong in the past, and people should be defined by who they really are rather than when and where they were born.