Day 311 of the Calendar Year

Futurists or prophets – do you know the difference? The World Future Society is an organization of people (Futurists) who attempt to look at the future through a variety of tools. Forecasting, scenarios and environmental scans are all methods for trying to extract possible futures from present and predicted trends. Of course, many times there are “discontinuities” that are not predicted or even predictable. Hurricanes, earthquakes, assassinations, and deaths can radically alter the best laid plans or projections. Thus, futurists do not attempt to proscribe the future as much as set out a variety of possible scenarios given what is currently known about the world.

Prophets on the other hand are more artistic and less logical. Their knowledge about the future appears to come from some inner vision or perhaps inspired vision. The ancient Greeks would go to the Oracle at Delphi to find out what the future held for them. Legend has it that the Oracle or Oracles were generally very obtuse with their predictions. Even back then, they did not want a negative prediction being held against them. Thus, you could infer many different possibilities from visiting with the Oracle. The same thing could be said today about spiritualists, palm readers, tarot card readers and astrologists. Most of the interpretations of these “seers” could be viewed from a variety of possibilities and outcomes.

Then we have the Weather Forecasters! Those seers who attempt to tell us whether we will have a nice weekend or a rotten one. Of course, this often depends on what weather you would prefer to have. Myself, I love a nice rainy and stormy day. Karen (my spouse) would prefer it be warm and sunny year round.

People have been trying to predict the future since the time of Adam and Eve. Have you ever thought about why we keep trying or why we so desperately want to know the future? It probably seems evident with just a little thought that we all want to reduce risk. By knowing what is coming, we can make contingency plans or know what to avoid or at the very least, feel more confident today. Or so we would like to think. We all want more control over our lives, but as history has shown, this is an elusive goal. Moreover, if we did achieve it, we would be bored silly. Risk brings excitement and adventure. Would you really want to get up each day knowing exactly what was going to happen to you today, tomorrow and the next day? Would you want to know the day and means of your death? How much risk are you comfortable with in your life? How do you attempt to predict your future? Do you go to seers or fortune tellers? Do you think it will rain or snow today?

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Nov 10, 2009 @ 08:26:33

    John,
    I find that the more tenuous my present situation is the more I seek “guidance”. I find myself looking at my horoscope for any insight into how I can keep my life moving forward.
    When I'm content with my life and do not see anything to interfer with it, I have no need to seek more affirmation.
    Basically, I do not want to stumble and fall if I can avoid it. Do I have any faith is those techniques used to predict the future? Not really since I would never put any money on what is learned there.
    So in summary, the best evidence on what tomorrow will be like is to look at your yesterday.
    Greg

    Reply

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