In the last few weeks, we have seen the whole stupid Ophiucus meme around the net. What this show is not anything new about astrology, as anybody who would visit this blog already knows (I don´t think I will get many hits from sun-sign advice seekers). What this show is the ridiculous standards that “journalism” have reached. In the new tweeter world, there is no need to check sources, and a stupid meme that is 20 years behind was spread as if was new.
Apparently, in this brave new world of tweets, all you have to do to have a meme (new world that means “hysterical unfounded rumour”) is to have a good title, a facebook “share this” button and an app to “discover your new sign”.
I imagine what would happen if twitter and facebook already existed in 9/11…
But let´s forget about poor Ophiucus, “13th sign” of the astronomers who discovered precession last week, and let´s talk about the coming of the chinese year of the Rabbit, last February 4th. After all, chinese astrology is in the game for 5 thousand years, and no “new sign” will be invented by “journalist” trying to fill an slow news day…
Then try to type on google “year of the rabbit” and the sh#|t will fill your screen. We are informed that “Good taste and refinement will shine on everything and people will acknowledge that persuasion is better than force. A congenial time in which diplomacy, international relations and politics will be given a front seat again. We will act with discretion and make reasonable concessions without too much difficulty.”
Oh, poor chinese astrology!
But if misinformation is not a new strategy in the rhetorical game, neither is laziness. Although ignorance is not a crime, as we all are ignorant of something, there is this important difference between the “newbie” and the “noob”, the ignorant and the lazy.
Noobs and newbies
In online gaming, though those words are similar, they have different meaning:
Contrary to the belief of many, a noob/n00b and a newbie are not the same thing. Newbs are those who are new to some task* and are very beginner at it, possibly a little overconfident about it, but they are willing to learn and fix their errors to move out of that stage. N00bs, on the other hand, know little and have no will to learn any more. They expect people to do the work for them and then expect to get praised about it, and make up a unique species of their own. (…)Noobs have difficulty reading English and cannot comprehend the idea of authority. Therefore, they have an all-out disregard for rules, basic or not. A good way to identify a noob (bad) vs. a newb (good) is to tell them (or have an authority tell them) which rule they are unknowingly breaking. If they respond with an apology and fix it, they are probably not a noob. If they react by insulting everything around them in rapid noobish and causing general mayhem, it is because they are a noob and have had a small seizure due to their inability to understand what is happening.“
Although written in a tongue-in-cheek manner, I find the definition interesting, with several similitudes to the “throll astrologer” that we wrote before. My general opinion is that, in every aspect of society, specially with the students (I am a teacher and know many teachers that would agree with me), we are becoming a society not of ignorants, but worst, of “noobs”. Astrologers, practioners of feng shui, etc, are the most prone to this problem, but they are in no way the only ones. We can see it everywhere. Doctors will tell you how pacients think they know more than they because they spent 5 minutes looking on wikipedia. Lawyers will tell you that many clients do not look for or trust their legal advice… they come because they saw something in TV last night and want to do the same. It is not important if the procedure is adequate, practical or if even exist. They don´t look for advice, they already checked google.
Students, even of traditional professions, like Medicine, are more and more taking the noob approach. They confuse empty information with knowledge. They don´t want to learn rules or don´t think they apply to them, or that they can bend the rules even before learning them. If something is difficult the teacher is to blame. Christopher Warnock complained one time that students think that is their right to learn anything without effort. So, what about our students of astrology? How does this affects them? It doesn´t… because there is no such thing as a student of astrology. Every astrologer already hatches from its egg as a full formed master in the area. As an area full of noobs, we don´t have apprentices, because we are all masters. And there are no rules, as masters can bend the rules, even when they don´t know them.
Again the Year of the Rabbit
Coming back to chinese astrology. Let´s imagine you are a newbie. You are ignorant, but you are curious. Your ignorance is not a essential characteristic, but an accidental condition. You go out and try to get some information. Most of it will be BS. But then you start to find some authors that really seem to knew what they are talking about and you buy some books. You try what you learn and practice, practice, practice. After a time you are not a newbie, you are an intermediate student, advanced, and then a master. You can even write your own books.
Now let´s see the behavior of your typical noob. The only information that you need is something you read in any cheap book about the “signs”. Then you go and publish in your blog about your knowledge of chinese astrology. You have some positive feedback of other noobs and then you go and enter in a forum of chinese astrology. You fight with all of them. They don´t value your knowledge, or your insights (things that you made up). They all complain that you don´t follow these “rules” that you never heard about it, and who cares about this? Can´t they appreciate what you brought to the table? They are all stupid and ignorant of your contributions! You write a flame letter and tell them how they are close minded and arrogant, and don´t respect “diversity of opinions”. You storm out of the forum and go to a forum where people talk about “real chinese astrology”.
Another type of noob would be the kind that goes into a forum and try to leech whatever they can, but without the trouble of actually reading the things that are already there, and actually practicing them. But that is a topic for another day.
To me is good to use an example with chinese astrology, as an example with western astrology would be “too close to home”. But everybody with their wits in their heads will be able to fill the blanks. Many times we are talked about those radicals “evolutions” of western astrology. “why don´t you use black holes?”. You don´t know what you are doing, how can you not use Ophiucus or Quiron?”.
Well, my answer is that if I have an interest in astrology. Astrology is there for a long, long time. I am not interest in what somebody wake up one day and started thinking “Hmmm, this could be a very good marketable idea”.
The same way that, when I wanted to study chinese astrology, I went for real Bazi and Zi Wei do shu authors, not the “rabbits are docile” crap. When I buy a book of jyotish astrology, I want somebody that really lean it as practiced in India, not some author that is “reinventing” hindi astrology. And when I want to learn feng shui, I want to learn the chinese feng shui. I don´t want the “Spiritual” version invented by americans.
But, hey, that´s me. We are in the age of realities shows, better to invent your own “school” of chinese, jyotish or chinese astrology, even if the only follower is yourself.