Future

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If you do this then that will happen. Linked, of course with action and consequence. And I am also advised that “if only” is a terrible expression and we should therefore strive to not only grasp opportunities as they arrive but also to make good choices. As if any of us would make bad choices if we knew the future.

However, as people, we try very hard to predict the future, and I know no psychic who ever died of hunger… except maybe the ones who were actually right. Cassandra springs to mind. I have always had a soft spot for Cassandra. The Greek myth says that she was a prophetess and as such under the protection of Apollo, a later Sun persona. As a prophetess, her word was not doubted, the only mistake could come from interpreting the notoriously mysterious messages given. But then Apollo fell in lust with Cassandra and she refused him, so he cursed her to always be true and never believed. Needless to say she went mad (was mad?) and her life went downhill from there. Greek tragedies make thrillers seem comical and horror movies seem non-sensical.

But predicting the future has another downside, as if knowing in advance what will happen is not bad enough. Even Cassandra, always true, could not do anything to prevent the future from happening. And I think that is what actually drove her mad. Assuming responsibility way beyond what human shoulders can carry. I reckon that the Greeks (and most every traditional society that had prophets… hm, that would make all of them!) put the prophets under the protection of a God/dess for the express purpose of stopping the madness from taking hold. If you are just the mouth of a God/dess then you couldn’t possibly be responsible for what you predict, in fact, it is presumptuous to do so. In some cultures you prophesy only in a trance, or under the influence of special plants, mostly hallucinogenics. The setting is carefully chosen, the people carefully prepared, sacrifices are made.

Compare this then with the current way of “predicting”. Using logic (action and consequence) only, assuming responsibility for both right and wrong prediction, blamed for the choices people make based on those predictions… does that sound to you as a recipe for disaster? And let’s not think of the ones who make religious/financial/eschatological prophecies. Take people in every-day life, trying to predict whether to marry, buy a car, have a baby, change jobs, invest, buy a house. All sort of choices. Go to university, it’s the only way to get a good job. Start your own business, it’s the only way to be free. Save for retirement, you never know when the super will become unmanageable. Send your child to private school, so he can have a good future.

And if you don’t? You should have done this, if you’d have done this none of this would have happened, silly! There is no shortage of people who will point out “if only”’s. And, without a God/dess, without salvia and mushrooms, with no sacrifices made and no questions properly asked, what do we get?

Blame and guilt, of course, what else.

To what purpose? It doesn’t seem to teach us anything. Not even when we are lucky.

I’ll ponder this while I ask my question of the Tarot.

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2 thoughts on “Future

  1. So what is prediction? Science not as still can any single time be contradicted. Even with extensive studies of probability. One can make the right choice and still the desired outcome not happening. And that is no way of oracle interpretation. What a game….

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  2. I reckon the first question would be “should we predict?”, then if the answer is yes then we look at ways. In our (set up to be) Apollonian civilization, science, probability and logic work quite well, up to a point… then we seem to fall to pieces, for our civilization does not leave much space for Dionysus (intuition, luck, insight, dreams). I plan a blog about scientific discoveries taken lightly, I’ll touch more on the subject then. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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