Last Thursday a new episode of The Orville aired, and it appeared to take a serious swing at the legitimacy of astrology. But, speaking as someone who has a lifetime interest in both science fiction and astrology, I’d like to point something out to those of you who were offended by this episode.
(For those of you unfamiliar with The Orville: we live in a golden age of sorts for Star Trek fans. If you want to see the Star Trek format do new and different things, there is Star Trek: Discovery. If you wish Star Trek had stayed more or less exactly the same since Star Trek: The Next Generation but had a sense of humor about itself? You get The Orville.)
Without giving too much away, the story involves first contact with an alien civilization which bases its society on their particular local form of astrology. Unfortunately for people born under the sign of Gilliac, this means lifelong internment. Gilliacs, according to their system, are violent criminals and cannot be trusted.
As you can tell, the episode is pretty hard on the concept of astrology. This appears to alienated the people I know who are fans of both the show and of astrology. But to them, I’d like to offer an alternative explanation.
It is no secret that religion — any religion — can be corrupted into something bad under the right circumstances (and if you think atheism is the answer to that, look up what church Mao Zedong attended). Likewise, pretty much any political belief or school of philosophy can be twisted, in the hands of a jerk, to become something truly terrible.
The Orville essentially uses astrology to tell the same kind of cautionary tale that science fiction has done with many a fictional alien religion or belief system. The only difference is that (in our culture) a TV show can get away with saying “astrology is crap” a lot easier than it can get away with saying “Christianity is crap,” or whatever.
So if you are a fan of both of The Orville and astrology, don’t let this week’s episode get your knickers in a knot. If you don’t think astrology could be potentially corrupted into a tool for evil? Think back to all the times you may have heard someone, including yourself, say something very general and very negative about Geminis or Scorpios or whatever.
Now, take that attitude towards Geminis or Scorpios or whatever, and put astrologers in charge of a totalitarian system. It won’t be long before all the Geminis or Scorpios or whatever are rounded up and sent to the camps.
The problem isn’t astrology or religion or politics. The problem is people.
PS: Science fiction fans are generally considered to be repositories of obscure, nerdy trivia. Allow me to present my credentials.
The title of this episode of The Orville is “All the World is Birthday Cake.” This title is lifted from the lyrics of It’s All Too Much, the fifth song on the tragically underappreciated soundtrack to Yellow Submarine by the Beatles. It is one of two tracks on the album credited to George Harrison, and plays immediately after my all-time favorite Beatles song, Hey Bulldog.
Matthew Currie is an astrologer, counselor and writer with over 20 years of experience and numerous appearances on television, radio and podcasts. He is the author of “Conquer The Universe With Astrology,” (available on Amazon) and is available for private consultations. Send him an e-mail (email@example.com). Matthew likes hearing from you.
He also predicted that yes, you WOULD end up here reading this.