What’s your Raashee? Astrology and Vector Length

The problem with western astrology is that there are way too few categories of people according to it. Western astroogy uses a vector of length one – the part of year in which you were born in, and then concocts a story based on that. According to that, people can be classified into twelve categories (as can be seen in the great recent movie whose title is a substring of the title of this blog post) and you can tell their story based on that. Thing is that way too many people you know, and are not like you, are in the same category as you, and this makes things so much less believable.

On the other hand, the beauty of Indian astrology is the vector length that is involved with it. There are nine planets (including the Sun and the Moon, not including the Earth, and with Rahu and Ketu instead of Uranus and Neptune) and at the time of your birth, each of them can be in one of 10 houses (not sure of the number but I think this is it). There are correlation issues so the number of possible combinations isn’t as big as you think it might be, but still there are enough possible combinations that can describe each person you know uniquely!

This ability to identify almost each person uniquely is what makes Indian astrology so fascinating. Stuff is so complicated that you will never understand it. And because you will never understand it, you are more likely to believe it; unlike in western astrology where it is easy for you to see where you fit in, where things are so easy that it is easy for you to see through it.

The other thing about Indian astrology is that given the really large number of variables, it is easy for the astrologer to correct his own mistakes. He will say “Jupiter is in position 7 so X will happen” and then if X doesn’t happen he says “yeah i predicted it based on Jupiter being in 7, but then in the meantime the Sun moved into 8, and so death happened off”. It makes things so easy to cover up that it contributes to the mystique, and to the success of the art.

So a possible moral of the story is that if you want to create fraud frameworks, make sure that they involve long vectors. Make sure that you design them in such a way that the mango person won’t understand; Make sure that you build in enough variables that will allow you to cover up in case when you screw up. Make sure the vectors in your framework are long enough to make the users feel special and unique, yet giving them a feel that you’ve seen someone/something similar before.

I think this is what all the successful consulting firms have done. Perfected this art of coming up with this kind of a vector. And to think that they might have been inspired by Indian astrology..

6 thoughts on “What’s your Raashee? Astrology and Vector Length”

  1. Western astrology also uses planetary positions and individual charts to assess individuals.Similarly Indian astrology also provides generic predicitions based on rashi or moon sign (the house where moon was when individual was born).Indian astrology uses lunar calendar and hence predicts on moon sign.Western astrology uses Solar calendar hence uses sun sign for predicitions. Aprt from that you also have rising sign or ascendant or lagna based on time of birth.Hence to decribe any individual in western or indian astrology you need Sun sign,Moon sign and Rising Sign. Additionally planetary positions will give you a more accurate picture.I find chinese astrology very generic since they preditc by year you were born in.Meaning eveyrone born in 1988 have same predicition.Maybe there is more to it but I am not aware of it.

  2. This is true of economics, science or anything for that matter is it not. There are way too many metrics that you need to keep same, for any “law”/ “rule” to be valid.

  3. my understanding of astrology is weak. still, it isnt clear what you mean by a vector length- if you say the twelve sun signs define a binary vector (of length one, because only one of the twelve signs can be TRUE), then the representation in indian astrology will be a set of vectors… each vector representing the contribution from each ‘house’ sign. I think it would be wrong to represent the signs as a scalar because they are not additive.

    if you want to claim astrology is fraud, it should be done independent of the astrologer/interpreter; because it can always be argued that there was an error by the interpreter. One way to prove the arbitness of astrology, I think, is to look for people with exact same ‘astrological representation’ and show that they lead uncorrelated lives. Of course, if you say you need to then add more measures to the representation, then it would not be a good predictive theory.

    also, it will be interesting to see what a good astrologer thinks of his trade- i doubt if he looks at it as a sham.

  4. Also another point is that Indian astrology ignores the effects of planet earth totally. I mean why isn’t earth present in the horoscopes? If our destiny is based on the position of planets at birth then shouldnt earth play in the biggest role? If earth doesnt play a big role then the other planets should have even less effect than earth.

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