The Secret Language of Birthdays: Your Complete Personology Guide for Each Day of the Year by Gary Goldschneider

 I didn’t read this book, but I did peruse it at my hair salon waiting for my appointment.  I started out of course with my own birthday and found it to be about 90% accurate.  But then I was curious, and I started looking up other birthdays, and many of them were also spot on about me.  It then dawned upon me.  Astrology does get it right about one thing.  There are two types of people in this world.  One refuses to believe in astrology or anything outside of the norm or what they were raised to believe.  They are conformists, usually Type-A personalities who go through life never asking questions and just being a hardworking, good citizen and just sticking to what they know.  If they read an astrological analysis of their sign, it wouldn’t make sense.  What I realized is that no matter when you were born, the astrological analysis of your personality will always be pretty accurate, because it always describes the other type of person.  That person thinks outside the box.  That person is creative and imaginative.  That person is often nonconformist and unconventional.  They are naturally drawn to superstitions, spirits, and immaterial phenomenon.  It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If you’re the type of person who is likely to believe in astrology and it’s superstitious genre, then they can do a pretty good job of analyzing your personality.  They just divide it up into twelve months somewhat arbitrarily.  This book makes the mistake of dividing it up into 365 days in which case, you discover there are many, many days that describe you to a T. 

 With that said, I really do believe there is some logic behind certain personalities and when you were born.  It would be based upon the seasons and the traditional way in which humans and most animals behave season to season.  If you were born in the winter, you hit certain maturation points in different parts of the year than someone born in the summer.  In other words, you learn to walk in different season.  You learn to see in different seasons.  You learn to socialize in different seasons, etc.  Depending on those seasons, you have different experiences.  Let’s say you learn to walk in the summer.  Likely, you’ll be outside, and it will be warm and spacious, and this will lend itself to a certain aspect of your personality.  If you learned to walk in the winter, it will be cold and cramped, and you won’t get as much practice before you run into someone or a wall.  So there must be some impact on your personality based on when you were born, but dividing it up by 365 days is where this book makes a big mistake.  A baby born three or four days earlier than another baby isn’t going to have that much difference in seasonal impacts. 

 While certainly astrology and other superstitions like palm reading can be exploited to take advantage of people who are prone to seek out the supernatural and think outside the box.  They are more vulnerable and susceptible to cons and elaborate irrational explanations that are used to cover up cons.  On the other hand, we all rely on irrational thoughts and culture more than you can ever realize.  Type-A personalities and those who refuse to believe in life after death, ghosts, spirits, souls, or the supernatural, do hold irrational beliefs.  For instance, they believe that science is the only tool that can be used to run and guide our lives.  This is irrational and has never been proven.  Science is a great tool for proving that if you isolate all other factors, you can predict what something will do with a high enough degree of statistical confidence.  That has nothing to do with how you should run your life.  Should you wear pants or a skirt?  Should you listen to country or rock?  Should you pick an outgoing friend over an introvert?  Should you vote for Candidate A or B?  What does science tell you?  People who think science can guide their lives are often conned just as much as those who believe in religion and superstitions.  The con is that an expert with a science degree (usually a social science which is really a pseudo-science) is better at running your life and the lives of everyone than you are or any average citizen.  This has yet to be proven.  But just like institutional religion, it’s the fallacy of authority.  The pseudo-scientist with the PhD in planning, Economics, psychology, public policy, whatever, has not proven that they know how to run your life or anyone’s lives better than anyone else.  Yet the science-as-guide-to-life believer, like all humans, are programmed to seek security, comfort, and certainty, and this is what pseudo-scientists offer.  Economists offer to protect you from the uncertainties of market fluctuations, and the entire Federal Reserve scheme is predicated on the premise of reducing the magnitude of market fluctuations, but as you should know by now, they are as clueless and ineffective as your neighbor Bob who buries gold in his backyard.  But since you are hardwired to believe in something that provides you with a false sense of security, comfort, and certainty, you’ll believe anyone with a science background.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-science.  Science is a tool, a great tool for understanding nature which will give you better insights into how to run your life, but there are countless other tools like novels, musical lyrics, poetry, paintings, intuition, fables, and superstitions that also provide insights into how to better run your life.  With science in your right hand and art in your left hand, you will have a much better and balanced view of life and nature.  And just as there are charlatans of art and superstitions, there are just as many charlatans of science.  Besides the social pseudo-scientists, there are countless natural scientists who work for corporations and governments hired to obfuscate and spread disinformation for commercial or political purposes. 

 Imagine someone going to an astrologist and asking for advice.  She’s in an abusive relationship and wants to get out, and the astrologists tells her that she was destined for great challenges in life, but her moon is just in the right place for her to make a big change in her life and she will become a great person who will help many other people, that this challenge was her destiny to help her teach others.  Now imagine her going to a physician and telling him that she suffers anxiety, depression, and insomnia.  The physician gives her drugs for anxiety, depression, and insomnia with unknown possibly dangerous side effects including suicidal thoughts.  Or she goes to a psychologist who simply tells her that her attraction to abusive men stems from her childhood and her abusive father.  Who do you think provides her with better advice, comfort, support, and probably encourages her to fix her problem.  The psychologist or psychiatrist has a conflict of interest from the start.  If she stays in an abusive relationship, she’s more likely to need continued psychiatric help and therapy.  Now, by no means am I suggesting that someone with serious mental problems seek out astrologists over doctors, but studies show the poorer you are, the more likely you just get drug treatment instead of truly useful therapy.  In my opinion, an astrologist beats drugs for most people without severe mental problems.  In fact, the idea that common anxiety, attention-deficit, and depression is a medical problem that should be treated by medical professionals, often with drugs is absurd.  The root of most common psychological problems is lack of social support, exercise, and a healthy diet.  There’s no money to be made from telling people to make friends, exercise, and eat better.

 In the last book I read about Aboriginal culture, they don’t consider themselves as separate individuals.  This is a modern misunderstanding, and I believe, the root of most of our modern personal ailments.  Doctors and psychologist are trained to treat the individual and not address the individual’s social network.  This is like treating a trembling hand separately from the body, where the trembling hand may be a symptom of an ailment rooted in the body.  Only recently, especially with civilization, we have been trained to think of ourselves as separate individuals, that we can functionally fully and happily separate from social groups.  Our culture and families have been atomized.  We have been taught that we can go without grandparents in our house, because we now have daycare and five-days-a-week public school.  We can go without extended families.  Social security can take care of our parents.  In fact, we can go without our kids for large portions of the day and pursue individual pleasures and gratification like dinners, movies, vacations without the kids, shopping without the kids, etc.  What they fail to tell us is that the vast majority of what makes us happy are our social connections.  In fact, we are the most socialized of all animals, and hence, perhaps with the exception of dogs that have been specially bred to enjoy social interaction, there is no animal out there that derives greater pleasure from social interaction.  The scam that we can be liberated from or social obligations to pursue selfish gratification and pleasures is the biggest and most horrific scam ever perpetrated on any animal.  Liberated from all our social obligations and a mindset of being part of a greater purpose and group, we find ourselves anxious, depressed, restless, and unhappy.  But there’s an app for that.  It’s a scam.

 But you argue, my family sucks.  A lot of my friends and coworkers are self-absorbed pricks.  My extended family are all messed up.  Why on Earth would I want to spend the majority of my life with them?  But you don’t get it.  They’ve been liberated from their social obligations to you.  Your parents don’t care how they treat you, because instead of relying on you to support them in old age, they have social security and pension plans.  Your kids don’t care how they treat you, because instead of relying on you to teach and guide them, they have teachers and counselors and the state if necessary.  Your friends don’t care how they treat you, because instead of relying on you to give them a ride to the airport or help them move, they have Uber and moving companies.  Get it?  Our social obligations made us nice, kind, giving, sharing people who were good company.  Once those obligations were eliminated, we all became a bunch of self-absorbed, entitled, privileged assholes, and who can blame anyone for not wanting to be around us.



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