Prediction

Sunday here was gorgeous, almost unbearably pleasant. It was the kind of day God created for raking leaves. In addition to raking, I spent the afternoon chatting with my neighbor, cutting the grass with my push mower, and thinking (dangerous, I know).

A tragedy occurred in a nearby town a few weeks ago, to a retired couple who lived in a nice house in the same neighborhood where my brother-in-law once lived. She was what we Southerners would call a "home body." Her husband said she didn’t go out much because it was too dangerous. But on this particular day, a small airplane fell out of the sky and crashed into her house, killing the woman, but leaving her husband and dog unharmed, at least physically.

oracle I saw a political cartoon today that implied, like many of them do, that things would be better if other decisions had been made, other votes had been cast, other people had been elected. The fact is, our world and our systems are too complex for our simple theories (or even our complicated ones) to predict how things will turn out. (That brings up an interesting but distracting thought line I may pursue in some future writing, about the existence of vast numbers of better and worse decision outcomes. I think it would also bring in quantum theory.)

Political pundits, financial analysts, and fortune tellers profit by our belief in the predictability of the future. And it certainly give us pleasure to blame the good or bad things that happen on the actions or inactions of those whose philosophies we disagree with. But we should also realize that similar justifications are going on in the other camp.

Of course, we can’t completely abdicate the planning and decision-making process. We will certainly continue to make decisions, not only on our ballots, but also on our calendars, with our credit cards, in our relationships, and even with our TV remotes. We can’t just sit there waiting for a decision, or an airplane, to crash into us.

Wise are those who predict and plan, but wiser still those who realize that they may be wrong.

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