Editorial

Looking at days of future passed

Dianne St. Jean
Looking at days of future passed

The turn of a new year always brings two things with it - looking back at the year that has just passed, and making forecasts and predictions for the future.

Online searches for predictions and prophecies peak at this time of year in nearly all areas - sports, entertainment, economics, politics, and yes… world events. Top interest areas tend to lean toward possible cataclysmic events like World War Three, or horrendous natural disasters that will signal ‘the end’.

There appears to be something in human nature that wants to know what is going to happen; and those who are anticipating something like another world war or the end of the world sometimes even seem impatient in waiting for it to happen! 

Yet how quickly we overlook or forget those predictions that did not come to pass from the year before.

I did my own searching on predictions and forecasts from the last year and found that, out of those who made inaccurate predictions for 2018, few dared to be honest or mentioned their flopped forecasts. Those who were honest were very straightforward in admitting their misses.

It seems that many of the seriously flopped predictions were in the area of politics, and those failed soothsayers were the most silent about their inaccuracies.

Not that every detail of every so-called failed prediction is entirely wrong. Any forecast or prediction will usually get some details right. It’s like going to a psychic who gives just enough information that fits into the details of a person’s life and so they get all excited about what they’ve been told, yet when some things don’t happen as expected, the inaccuracies tend to be totally overlooked or forgotten.

Seemingly, then, predictions are not so much about accuracy as anticipation - things we literally look forward to.

The idea of making predictions itself, though, shouldn’t be overlooked or dismissed. In fact, there are some who make a very good living out there by predicting trends, especially in the area of economics and marketing if they’ re good at it. To a point, I suppose we can all make some accurate forecasts or predictions if we study markers and trends enough. Yet even then there is no guarantee that some rogue or unexpected element might appear and move something off into an entirely different direction.

I think the bottom line is that looking for and making predictions about a new year is actually about challenging ourselves, to see how much we know or sense about the world around us, as well as having fun.

It is fun to see if what you predicted will happen, actually happens. And it’s a personal challenge to see how well you have read the ‘markers’ in life.

Bottom line, though, is that none of us from our own human perspective can truly and accurately predict anything with absolute accuracy. This is because, as learned or smart as we think we are, we are all limited in some capacity or other, either in experience or knowledge, to put everything together. And there will always be the unexpected. Even people, who we are certain we know very well, will at times do things that totally throw us off. 

As for ‘major’ predictions, such as wars or catastrophes, I still remember as a young person preparing to go out on my own in the 70s, feeling intimidated by predictions at the time of oil supplies running out in the earth that would cause an economic crash and chaos, and that we were supposedly on the edge of another Ice Age (now THAT was scary, considering I love a sunny beach and heat!). Even Carol Burnett made a spoof of ‘The Energy Crisis’ when, donning winter clothes in the house and still freezing she says, “I don’t care what the President says - I’m turning up the thermostat!” Funny how one remembers those things. The topic, then, must have made a real impression!

So - maybe there will be catastrophes (a likely possibility). Perhaps riots will continue, and maybe there will even be a major war. Perhaps economies will flop and we’ll have a recession as some experts are predicting, but then again, maybe those ‘experts’ will be wrong and there’ll be a turnaround instead.

One thing that is certain about the future is that it’s going to happen, and regardless of what it brings, we need to remember that, despite predictions of doom and disaster, some coming true and others not, somehow we go on - life goes on.

And that is what really matters.