After yesterday’s post I found out lots about the author. I’d assumed Jonathan Cainer was some American self-help guru but in fact he was the Daily Mail’s astrologer. He died last year aged just 58 and apparently foresaw his own death. Just like Leonard Cohen really…
Here’s the Mail’s rather self-congratulatory obituary of him:
I have very mixed feelings about astrology. I see no reason why the stars at our birth should have any significance for our lives, and although I used to read horoscopes for fun I never set any store by what they had to say (this is typical of a Gemini, apparently. LOL.) And yet, despite this scepticism I am compelled to recognise that in terms of character, I have certain features in common with Gemini: I am mercurial, dual-natured, quick-thinking, and so on. The ‘twin’ aspect seems particularly relevant. And perhaps in the end there is more to us than we recognise; perhaps as the song says, we are stardust.
Even so, I would never dream of taking a horoscope seriously. The Mail’s obituary is full of dire predictions of Cainer’s that came true: and I fail to see the point of it. If I’m going to lose my house in a fireball or my husband is going to die or my friend commit suicide, what earthly good can it do me to know about it in advance? I’d much rather live in ignorance, since presumably there’s nothing I can do about it. If I did, it would create a paradox and prove the horoscope false: all that kind of prediction does is make you worry.
Much more enlightening were the words of Rabbi Lionel Blue. Brought up in the Jewish faith, he came close to suicide on realising he was gay before returning to his faith and becoming a Rabbi in the reformed branch of Judaism. A frequent contributor to the ‘Today’ programme’s ‘Thought for the Day’, he was always a comforting and thought-provoking voice. In an odd parallel to the astrologer, he also foretold his own death (though, like Cohen, by the more usual method of realising that he was ill) and in a nice twist, he recorded his own obituary which was broadcast yesterday. I can’t find a link to that one now, however, so here’s the Beeb’s own obituary: