Ghosts & Machines

One New York Times journalist seemed surprised by this:

Those who might have predicted a few decades ago that the rise of science and technology would eventually blot out Thailand’s longstanding preoccupation with the supernatural can walk into one of the country’s thousands of 7-Eleven convenience stores. Amulets meant to protect and bring good luck sell next to breath mints. Horoscope books are mixed in with instant noodles and junk food.

There are YouTube channels devoted to fortune telling, home-shopping television shows hawking amulets and computer programs like “Feng Shui Master,” which is advertised as helping divine the future of gold prices.

Luck Rakanithes, a fortune teller who started out two decades ago dispensing horoscopes the old-fashioned way (face-to-face in a corner of an obscure Bangkok hotel) now runs a call center with a room full of fortune tellers sitting in cubicles and wearing headsets as if they were selling credit cards or offering tech support. They dish out celestial advice for 15 baht, or 50 cents, a minute.

Sounds a lot like America (or anywhere else, for that matter) to me…

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5 Responses to Ghosts & Machines

  1. Dan says:

    It sure does. I once got a job as a phone psychic just to see if I could. It was a breeze. Mostly people from NYC called. I only did it for about a week to see what it was like. Sometimes I wonder why I waste my time with honest work when I could start a religion and live on easy street.

  2. Francis Middle says:

    Hmmm… Fortune tellers can act as completely legal commercial enterprises and yet marijuana is still illegal:

    Yeah, that makes sense…

  3. Clark says:

    This is an interesting feature of most industrialized nations, including Europe. Further what’s oddest is when you try and pin down people using these services they’ll agree it’s all BS. (A few take it seriously) It’s hard to know what to make of it.

    While I don’t know of any studies, I’ve found that a surprising number of atheists are still open to this sort of thing. So while it clearly is tied to religious thinking it also seems different in important ways.

  4. charles martel says:

    If your faith is located in antiquity then you should not be allowed to have the use of any scientifically created technical device. No more 5th century hominids allowed on you tube. No more stone age mindset behind the counter.

  5. J. says:

    “Feng Shui Master,” which is advertised as helping divine the future of gold prices.

    It’s a fairly common practice for downtown shekelsmeisters–bond traders following their ho-roscope,etc. Even BloombergCo most likely has a few psychics advising him on market moves. Indeed it sounds like somethin’ SR-stein might approve of, as long as you just win, baybe

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