In the second, or rather 5th Star Wars film, there’s a great exchange between Yoda and Luke:
Luke: I saw – I saw a city in the clouds.
Yoda: [nods] Friends you have there.
Luke: They were in pain…
Yoda: It is the future you see.
Luke: The future?
Luke: Will they die?
Yoda: [closes his eyes for a moment] Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.
And I thought the last line was “Always emotion is the future.” Well – it amounts to the same thing. Luke responds by abandoning his training and heads off to rescue his friends.
The point is that the future is very difficult to see. It’s perception is clouded by our own emotional attachment to certain outcomes. It’s also distorted by the change in consciousness. The future is currently in a higher stage than the present so it’s a little like trying to see what it’s like to be an adult when we’re 12. It’s outside of our conception.
Nonetheless, we continue to boldly step into an always uncertain future. To compensate, we listen to pundits pontificate about it. In fact, we pay forecasters a great deal of money to fail. In Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail – And Why We Believe Them Anyway, journalist Dan Gardner explores this topic in a refreshing way. The core research comes from Philip Tetlock, a psychologist at the University of California. Tetlock determined that “experts” in any given field (he looks at many) were just slightly better at making predictions than a dart-throwing chimp! In addition, the more certain an expert is of an outcome and the bigger their profile, the less accurate the prediction was likely to be. Perhaps that makes you a little happier about your own derailed plans.
People talk all the time of predictions, forgetting how often they’re wrong: politics, economics, sports, relationships, and all the latest gossip. Gardner talks about why educated people make dumb predictions, how they rationalize their mistakes, and why we willingly get conned by the experts. The simple answer is certainty. We’re seeking certainty in a world of change so we go with the most confident voice with the best story. The more considered opinions who express cautions and limitations are ignored even when they’re usually more accurate.
We also tend to assume the future is a continuation of the present. I don’t know about you but it certainly hasn’t been in my life.(laughs) Does this mean we should give up and not do any planning? No, it just means we should be flexible and allow whats waiting to be born to reveal itself.
We’re bound to a certain future. But what that certainty is, I certainly don’t know.