Your 10-step guide to predicting the future
December and January are generally slow news months in Australia. The pollies have gone home, cricket is on the TV and we can find time to relax. It can be a testing time for the media, with column inches and tabloid TV segments to fill. But all is not lost.
Enter the fortune tellers.
What does the year ahead hold for us? Let’s ask our resident astrologer/medium/psychic/mystic/clairvoyant.
It can be hard to keep tabs on all these new age seers, but luckily for us, at the end of each year in a report entitled Tomorrow’s News Today in the pages of the Psychic Directory magazine, members of The Australian Psychic Association give us their predictions. Presumably these people are not your run-of-the-mill fortune tellers, but the cream of the paranormal industry. If anyone should know the future, its them.
Most of their visions are about movie and TV celebrities with names like Nicole Kidman, Brad and Angelina and Tom Hanks popping up. In fact since 2008, no fewer than 40 stars are mentioned. We find predictions about romance, babies, new movies and so on, but alas very few of the many statements came true.
Couples who were supposed to separate stayed together, twins failed to appear for other couples, Elton John did not have a major health scare and Schapelle Corby was not home in time for Christmas 2011.
Now I’m not saying all the predictions for celebrities were wrong.
Amongst the very few to be ticked correct was the death of Elizabeth Taylor but honestly it was hardly a surprise. Oddly enough the death of Michael Jackson was also foretold - only it was by the well known American Skeptic Rebecca Watson!
The royals are always mentioned in these predictions and we must spare a thought for our dear Queen who abdicated in 2011 and will again in 2013. William and Kate are expecting and expecting. I predict that one day they will indeed be parents.
A vital ingredient when casting a third eye into the future, is to conjure up one or two predictions from left-field… things that are not likely to come true. But just like putting all your chips on black 13, once in a while you’ll hit a winner.
Finally, near enough is good enough. A prediction of an earthquake in California (these happen every single day of the year) that will occur in mid-July, 2010, causing havoc particularly in San Francisco was credited as a hit the following year. The earthquake that shook California on the 7th July was a magnitude of 5.4. Residents of California would say ‘so what?’.
A rough count of the 300 (or thereabouts) predictions made since 2007 gives us a 8 per cent success rate. This figure can be argued as many predictions are vague and open to interpretation… but after the event. The bottom line is that most of what is predicted doesn’t happen and most of what happens is not predicted.
The list of major events overlooked is endless such as a certain Prime Minister being shown the door and a certain young redhead taking his place. If this were any other industry the people concerned would be sacked for lack of performance.
Now I’m not saying that many people take all this seriously. It’s like a sort of a guilty pleasure to pretend to have a sneaky look into the future. As long as it’s billed as entertainment, then all is well and fine as it’s only silly fun for the silly season. Only, it’s not. The Psychic Directory magazine certainly gives the impression that these predictions are real and disclaimers are not given on the tabloid TV segments.
You can also bet that each of those people making those predictions also makes most or part of their living from giving private readings where it’s all treated as if it were very real indeed.
Life is about uncertainty. It’s the core of reality and makes life both wonderful and awful. Will I meet the person of my dreams? Where am I going to be in 5 years’ time? Will it be a boy or a girl? Who will win the cricket? Who will be our next Prime Minister? Will my mother survive the operation? What day will I die?
If it did turn out that someone could really see what the future held for us, it would cause a dramatic and fundamental change to our lives and society in general. I predict that it would not be a world in which I would want to live.
The ten golden rules of predictions:
1. Make lots of predictions - some are bound to come true.
2. Make lots of vague predictions and mix in a few specific ones.
3. Throw in some unlikely predictions, once in awhile some of them are bound to come true.
4. Did I mention make lots of predictions?
5. Talk about natural disasters, especially floods and earthquakes. They happen every month around the world in some form or other.
6. Make sure you sprinkle your predictions with things that are on the cards for any given year such as political unrest or the death of older celebrities or royals.
7. Crow about the predictions that do come true.
8. Don’t worry about the predictions that don’t come true, they will not be checked by the media. If they are, just say I never said I am 100 per cent accurate, or I can only go on what the spirits/stars/cards tell me.
9. Fudge those predictions that are partly true or can be re-worked in the light of hindsight. (This is also known as retrofitting.)
10. Remember that you are unaccountable. Make up whatever you want.
Oh, and one last rule for the media. Don’t go back and check last year’s predictions. It’s a lot of work to research and your audience doesn’t care.
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