Do you see the future? Do your visions stir you from a deep sleep? Have they propelled you to scribble fluff or pontificate about what will be? Your faithful author thinks we have outgrown you. You are a divining rod, a tarot card, a palm scratcher, a crazy person on the street selling pencils from a cup. We have evolved in spite of you and away from you.
I used to be a hopeful agnostic. I wanted to believe in premonitory skill. I wanted to believe that those with Ivy League diplomas and enough real-world experience could rationally extrapolate likely outcomes. Atheism has taken hold. I have a prediction—your psychic irrelevance.
In the days following September 11, 2001 the nut jobs began warbling that Nostradamus had predicted the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York—this little gem of a quatrain:
In the City of God there will be a great thunder,
Two brothers torn apart by Chaos, while the fortress endures,
The great leader will succumb,
The third big war will begin when the big city is burning.
Did the “oracle” predict the fall of the World Trade Center or the break-up of Simon and Garfunkel?
The brightest minds on Wall Street failed to predict the economic collapse of 2008. Given the choice of risking nest-egg money with Lehman Brothers or Blackjack at the Bellagio, which seems the better bet in hindsight? Consumers put their trust (and life savings) in the largest financial institutions because they claimed to know how markets behaved thus reducing risk. The outcome of these forecasts would not have been a surprise if transparency existed and investors knew the financial institutions were shorting the products they sold. Their only focus was then as it is now–self-interest and financial celebrity.
Real estate gurus have been predicting the return of a blazing housing market for the last five years—with no data or evidence to support their soothsaying. Promulgating false information served self-interest. ”You should buy now, we have reached a market bottom and things are heating up again!”–2009-2011.
So you say you are a visionary? Before you stencil that on your office door, bring me some winning lottery numbers.
Until then…..keep your visions to yourself.