Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Predictions! Who needs 'em?

Betina here. Running a little late this morning.

Blame the weather folk.

We're suposed to be in a category one or two hurricane right now. Lots of blow. Lots of rain whipping sideways. Lots of debris flying by at 90 mph. sigh. Right now, there's hardly a palm frond moving on the deck or in the yard beyond. The storm that shoulda been apparently has fizzled. Didn't stay out in the Gulf long enough to get good and hot-and-wet. So they've closed schools (on the SECOND day of classes, no less! The teachers I know are happy for the day off and dreading having to do "day one" all over again!) And they've sent beach brides and hordes of tourists home in mandatory evacuations. And all for a rainy day. With a little breeze. Maybe.

Now, I'm a big fan of preparedness. I applaud the state and local officials for looking out for us and trying to keep everyone safe in a state vulnerable to the PMS days of Nature. But really-- we need to improve on the whole "predictions" thing. The Spaghetti Plot Model (see a GOOD example above) doesn't seem to be working.

While waiting for the "big blow" to begin, I surfed around the TV dial and found myself watching a program on "decoding the past". . . which was basically a look at ancient prophecies that declare the world will end on December 21st, 2012. Granted, most of it is fairly mystical and takes a lot of interpretation. But there are a lot of otherwise intelligent people getting ready to
sell all their stocks and bonds on December 20th, 2012.

All of which made me think about the whole process of predicting the future. I read recently that scientists (some smart guys somewhere) had determined that virtually all human being have the ability to "see" THREE SECONDS into the future. Which sounds about right. "I think that baseball is coming straight at m-- wham! " "That stupid guy is running a red li-- wham!" "The chair that guy is tipping back in is going to-- wham!"

You get the picture. Three seconds is probably useful in survival. The science types have determined that some people (those with better survival genes!) can extend that time to five, seven, or ten seconds. And a few select people can extend it further than that. . . maybe for days, weeks, months. So theoretically, it's possible to predict the future. But for all our collective smarts, we're still not able to do much with the stock market, the long-term weather, or political campaigns.

Remember the Y2K debacle? Planes would fall from the sky. The stock market would crash. The government would be thrown into turmoil-- no social security checks would be issued-- when computers all failed. December 31st, 1999, we held our breaths and. . . nothing happened. To our relief. And chagrin. Or maybe we scared outselves into correcting the problem before it became a reality. Personally I kinda like that one.

I always thought I'd love to have a glimpse of the future. I'd love to be a mystic, a seer, a sage with a glimpse of Forever. I just tried to think of what I might have predicted accuratel in my life. Not much, it seems. Not even the birth of my own kids. One was 2 1/2 weeks late and practically had to be pulled out kicking and screaming, and the other was induced and was still a whole day late!! One of the longest inducements on record! I can't even seem to predict when the milk in the fridge will run out. "Nah, we've got plenty" I tell myself. The next morning, there's no coffee cream.

On the other hand, I've done pretty well with predicting the staying power of some couples. I knew at the wedding that two of my friends wouldn't be with their spouses long-term. But that was based on abundant clues that things wouldn't go well: the bride was so late the organist gave up and went home, and the mom and dad were sitting in the last pew and hanging onto each other for dear life. . . little hints that things might not go well.

Oh, and I did predict that #1 child would be a boy. But my pride in the accuracy was diluted serioiusly when #2 child came out a boy instead of the girl I'd been predicting. I'd carried him for nine friggin' months-- and had no clue! fortunately, I hadn't invested in anything pink. . .
What about you? Anything you've predicted successfully? Do you read your horoscope? Do you believe some people get a peek at the future? What would you like to know in advance?


Helen Brenna said...

Very interesting, Betina.

No, I don't read my horoscopes. Not sure if I believe in all that stuff.

I have, though, been paying much more attention to my "intuition" these days. There's more there than most people realize. Whether it's predicting the future or paying attention to signals, I don't know. But I do think women are better at it than men.

I'm not sure there's anything I want to know in advance. Nope. Nothing.

And as for the weather. I think the media has been sensationalizing it these last few years.

It's getting to the point where I poo-poo so much of what they say. Thunderstorms? Yeah, right. Tornadoes? I'll believe it when I see it.

It'll probably get me killed some day!

Debra Dixon said...

Betina-- I'm so glad the palm fronds aren't blowing.

Despite weatherman evidence to the contrary, I very much believe that some people get a peek at the future.

Maybe it's the rational sizing up of variables of which we aren't even aware we've collected. That collection gives us a better picture on which to make a decison or predict an outcome.

Or maybe it is out-of-the-blue knowledge. But I've seen some interesting things that make me believe some people do get a glimpse of the future.

Michele Hauf said...

I agree with intuition, and it is partially a prediction tool.
Sadly, I did make a prediction years ago about a little neighbor girl who used to play with my son. They were 5, I caught her trying to 'elevate' the play to extremes. I told my husband then, she'd be the first one on the block to get pregnant. At 12, she had her first child.

I don't want to know my future, because it can never be the same as what I see. I think it changes with every step you take, every decision you make. I'm happy with the Now. But sometimes it is fun to read my horoscope and blame it for a bad day. :-)

Playground Monitor said...

I read my horoscope, but more for entertainment value than anything else.

As for predictions... When #2 son was a sophomore in college his car died, so the DH and I planned a weekend trip to western NC to help him find a new vehicle. He wanted a truck this time around. The morning we left, the DH told me, "I had a dream that we'd find a red pick-up truck at a car lot along the highway. The lot will be on the right just after a bend in the road."

Ooookay. I wasn't sure whether to believe him (he'd had a few other dreams about family members that had been correct) but I did stay on the lookout for red pick-up trucks. And... nothing. At least until we got 7 miles from the university and rounded a bend in the road and there sat a red pick-up in a small car lot on the right side of the road.

Cue the Twilight Zone music.

We looked at every pick-up for sale in a three-county radius and ended up buying that red one after the bend.

So glad Fay isn't going to thrash you about. I have lots of Florida friends and my mother lives about 50 miles north of Jacksonville, so I worry when a storm starts to target the area.

I live in tornado alley and have a tremendous respect for them. The DH gets all mad when they predict bad storms and nothing happens. But I'd rather spend a little time preparing for nothing than get caught unprepared. I keep my utility closet stocked with a flashlight, batteries, candles and matches, a battery powered radio and several old blankets -- just in case.


lois greiman said...

So glad you haven't blown away, Betina.

As for predictions, they wrong so often it hardly seems to matter. And I love weather...the theatrics of it...the drama. It's lightning?? Let's go out and watch.

Liza said...

I've picked the sex of everyone of my friend's babies and all 3 of my sister's girls. I only missed with one friend once. Pretty good odds with 13 babies.

Tarot By Arwen said...

You might think that I do believe in predictions from my name and blog. However, I actually believe more in tendencies. I have predicted sex of babies (with an 85% accuracy) as well as future events for clients. For myself? I'm nearly always dead wrong.

For me, the future is something to be prepared for but my clients will tell you I harp on the fact that choices made today will change future tomorrows. So if you want the best future, make the best choices.

As to the weather? I do what my grannilu told me to do. I dress in layers, carry an umbrella and keep a jacket and a hat in the car. ;)

PJ said...

Glad the storm wasn't bad, Betina. My brothers in Florida have been keeping me informed. Neither was worried about this one.

I definitely believe in intuition and maybe some foretelling too. It seems to run in my mom's family and there have been several times when I've experienced it myself. I've learned to trust that "little voice". One of my brothers and I are especially attuned to one another and always know when something is wrong with the other even though we live in different states.

Earlier this year I witnessed a hit and run accident while chatting with a friend in front of her store. (thankfully, nobody was hurt) I had intended to go straight home from her store but found myself driving to Wal-Mart. As I was pulling into the parking lot I thought to myself, "that car is here". Sure enough, I turned down an aisle and there was the car that had "hit and run". I called the police and the person was arrested. Now if I could only get it to work when picking lottery numbers! lol

Estella said...

I don't read my horoscope and I don't want to know the future.
I knew what all four of my kids were by the way I carried them.

Jane said...

I used to read my horoscope everyday when I was in high school. I've never had my fortune told, but I'm not against it. I do believe some people can peek into the future. I think it's possible for a person to get a feeling that tells them something good or bad is going to happen soon.

Betina Krahn said...
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Betina Krahn said...

What a range of responses! Interesting that so many of us have had woo-woo experiences ourselves, but sort of discount predictions in general.

Intuition seems to be better accepted generally than other ESP-sounding things. And probably most of us have had incidents where our hunches have paid off. But none for me like Marilyn's red pick-up or PJ/s hit-and-run car. Wow, those are pretty memorable.
And my hat is off to Arwen and Liza who can predict the sex of a baby. . . you must be in big demand among the friends and family. 85%!! I don't even get 85% of my grocery list right!

And as for wanting a glimpse of the future. . . it's probably not a great idea, for a lot of reasons. but I can't help being a little curious. Of course I only want to see the good stuff that's coming. . . not the catastrophes or apocalypses.

Lois, Michele, and Helen-- the weather stuff drives me crazy. I want them to be a lot more scientific and accurate... but I know they're doing their best.

Maybe part of the fun of life is being surprised now and then. And I suspect there will be quite a bit of surpise all around in 2012, whatever happens. Or doesn't.

Betina Krahn said...
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Betina Krahn said...
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Kylie said...

Glad to hear you've battened down, Betina!

Predictions are helpful at times, like for the floods that hit our area this summer. However when they predict flood waters 6 ft below what comes our way, how helpful were they? The predictions did give the towns down river from us a chance to prepare as much as possible, though.

Sometimes I wish I could predict the future. But most of the time I'm happy not having my joy in the moment marred by the weight of possible upcoming sadness, you know?

As for intuition...I have a mom sort of intuition that's wrong as often as not, but has been right on enough occasions that it scares my husband to death :) Usually knowing that my kids were up to no good or that something bad had happened.

Being pyschic would help in writing though, wouldn't it? Guessing the next hot trend before it hits; figuring out which agent/editor would be the best fit; knowing how much my royalty check was going to be...that would be helpful!

Cait London said...

If you've never had a past life reading done, do it. It can lead to explaining your present day decisions. I admit to watching my horoscopes, but I use runes, just one to make decisions. Or not. One thing about weather alert gizmos: they can scare you, going off in the middle of the night or when your dead set into writing. Great for the tornados we have in the Midwest. I was all frazzled the first time I heard the weather alarm go off, not a clue.

Betina Krahn said...

Kylie, three cheers for the MOM intuition! I think I remember having that. . . and giving my kids the willies by appearing out of the blue when they were getting into trouble. I now wish I could transform that ability into the writer thing.

Oh, hey, I think I predicted the whole "women's fiction" thing. . . said "women dealing with other relationships" would be coming next (or someday!). I was right in 1996. . . but totally missed the trend myself. Fat lot of good that insight did me.

And Cait, I've never had a past life reading. Can you do that online? I'm always getting offers for that from Astrology.com and wonder if it's legit. Or is it better to do it in person?

Cait London said...

Betina, you need a real live person doing it. Pretty interesting. If you do, strip off all distinctive jewelry, clothing (keep some on :)), so that they are not influenced. According to my reader (I had just one), your past life influences the choices you make in the present. FWIW: I was a South American tribal rain maker. My color choices come from her, beloved of her ancient peoples. Then, I was a young French aristocrat, caught in a war and I died. When your repetitive dreams stop, that's supposed to be when the past life ends. Interesting.

Betina Krahn said...

Thanks, Cait! This sounds interesting! I may have to try it one day.