Never have I been a fan of horoscopes. It is not that I believe them to be inaccurate or accurate, good or bad. Honestly, I have given very little thought to their validity. Instead my concern has been whether or not a person acts accordingly once they are aware of behaviors that are expected from them. If true, horoscopes can be very limiting to a person.
If I were to meet you and immediately comment on how happy of a person you seem to be, it’s likely that you’d behave with a positive attitude. The same holds true with labeling one kid in a classroom smart and another dumb. Each of them are inclined to play into their declared identities.
There are two issues that spawn from this. The first is fairly applicable when understood, meaning that it can be a tool you use in life and (or) business. And the second is a philosophical issue.
How does a person best manage and (or) inspire people? A simple answer is to offer them an identity that empowers them to exhibit certain behaviors. We most often hear empower used positively. However, here I am using it neutrally. So understand the when you empower someone to exhibit a certain behavior, that behavior can be productive or unproductive, lawful or unlawful, moral or immoral.
By offering someone an identity, like a horoscope does, they become aware. Whether they are a Scorpio or the smart kid, a set of attributes and characteristics is said to be theirs. An un-escapable ownership of sorts. The smart kid is encouraged to act inquisitive and intelligent, the Scorpio proud and courageous.
With these identities comes other awareness. Like the smart kid learning that his role will ostracize him from his peers to an extent. Or that a Scorpio has certain unchangeable character flaws and will never be compatible with a Gemini. It is this side of the coin that is worrisome. The reason being that while a person may be empowered by an identity to exhibit behaviors that enhance strengths, they are equally encouraged to be accepting of their shortcomings by way of defeat. For if they grow to believe that the given identity is their true identity, what hope or reason is there to improve the shortcoming of their unchangeable self?
The question raised from this is not if such identities are valid, but whether or not it is productive to have others be aware of them, as well as yourself. If a kid is smart, does labeling him a smart kid help him become smarter, or simply encourage him to play into becoming a stereotypical smart kid? Similarly, if you meet an obnoxiously proud, arrogant, and aggressive person who was born in the month of November, does labeling them a Scorpio heighten their behavioral self-awareness, or offer them a comfortable excuse to continue acting as so without cause for change?
The question is, does identity more so enable a person to act on attributed strengths or without question accept shortcomings? There is no definite answer. Convincing and valid arguments can be made for either case as to managing and inspiring others. However, I believe that the differing opinions do boil down to a key philosophical question.
Is it limiting or liberating to have identity?
My answer is simple:
“Accepting any identity other than one you create for yourself is living a life other than your own”
That is limiting. The greatest attribute a person can achieve is the identity of being themselves. For when your known identity is for being yourself, you are not expected to behave a certain way but freely as you wish. That is liberating.
All of us live and act to achieve identity. Identity both internally and externally – meaning self-identity and identity within a community. The struggles that we most often face are ones of identity. Accepting any pre-existing societal role or philosophical belief as the one that defines you will limit what you are able to do, learn, and experience during your life. And whether or not you do so is a decision every person will have to consciously, or subconsciously, make during their life.