Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Searching for God in all the wrong places...according to the International Herald Tribune:

EU Commission research indicates that 52 percent of Europeans believe astrology has a scientific basis compared to a more skeptical United States and Britain, at about 31 percent each.

This weakness for pseudoscience became one of the themes in a book I was writing recently on how France fits into the modern world. The more I probed, the more I could see the two layers of the European mind at work here - strict discipline inherited from the educational system set against a taste for the unexplainable. One study indicates 81 percent of the French believe science will never answer all the big questions.

Palmistry, the crystal ball and astrology have never been so popular. Just last week I received a flyer promising success, money and true love within 21 days - for free. A closer reading revealed this was the story of a satisfied customer of "Lise and Rose, the celebrated clairvoyant sisters." It had nothing to do with me. But I could feel myself being drawn into the vortex.

Incidentally, to be labeled "irrational" in some countries is no insult. The Enlightenment may have come from here, but France in particular is a wonderfully complex society. The French seek solace in part because, according to cross-cultural studies, they are not very good at living with uncertainty.

The main French professional clairvoyance organization, INAD (Institut National des Arts Divinatoire) says some 100,000 men and women are practicing clairvoyants in France today. This is about four times the number of Roman Catholic priests. INAD estimates that about €3.2 billion are spent annually on their advice.

Read the whole story here.

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