©3-15-2011, a Rare Rant by Donna Cunningham, MSW
”Beware the Ides of March!”
Today is March 15, a.k.a. the Ides of March …that date some fortuneteller supposedly warned Julius Caesar he should beware of, and it turned out to be the day he was assassinated.
So, a friend of mine from my earliest days in astrology emailed me this morning. She follows all the earth changes stuff by that guy with three names. The one with the map of the world after half of it is underwater. You know who I mean?
She wrote to tell me some geologist has forecast a huge earthquake here in the Pacific Northwest on Saturday. I wish that expert had said what time, so I could arrange to be out of my 8th floor apartment in this high rise when it happens. Maybe go out to lunch.
Am I nervous about it? Sure, I was for 10 minutes or so, until my usual cynicism about predictions kicked in. Pretty universally, dire predictions are attempts to gain glory and attention for the predictor by feeding on our fears.
At best, scary predictions are entertainment—we sometimes love to be scared by them the same way we’re scared by ghost stories. At worst, they create extreme stress about things that Might happen but seldom do. Think about it—aren’t those doom and gloom, end of the world predictions aimed at scaring us into some sort of costly action?
Take the economists for example:
“An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.” – Laurence J. Peter
The ones that strike me as the most cynical hucksters are weather people. Those fortunetelling laws that are still on books ought to invoked against THEM. They love to predict terrible storms, the kind of Breaking News forecasts that clear out the shelves of the nearest convenience stores.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, other than up in the mountains, we seldom see more than a dusting of snow one morning a year, and it’s all melted by noon. If a flake or two falls, we get continuous coverage…reporters out on location until it stops.
But let weather people predict snow, and suddenly they’re the lead on the evening news. They’ve studied all the tricks to draw out the drama and suspense and have us hang onto their every word. News in general is nothing but entertainment any more, but weather people really know how to get you going. And how often are they right? It’s a joke!
Likewise the people who hype up the end of the Mayan calendar. I am sooooo bored with the end of the world, and we still have a year or so left of the hysteria about it.
If I had $1000 for every time the world was supposed to end in my lifetime so far, I’d have enough for a down payment on one of those hybrid cars to do my part to end global warning.
Predictions are a win/win for the predictor. If they’re right, they get to build their reputation; if they’re wrong, nobody remembers….except those debunkers and skeptics out there who are so rude as to remind us and laugh at us.
They love to laugh at astrologers, but you don’t hear them laughing as much at weather forecasters. Weather forecasters PROBABLY took a science class or two, so they’re respectable.
Do dire things happen? They surely do. Japan, the Indian Ocean, Haiti, Chile in just the past year or so. Did anyone predict them? Nope. Only in the most general of terms, and with no specific dates attached. Anyone could have done that.
(Don’t bother to email me with exceptions. We all hit it lucky with our predictions now and then, or we’d go out of business. As my early mentor, Rod Chase used to say, “A stopped clock is right twice a day.”)
Do I believe in taking sensible precautions? Absolutely, I have a first aid kit, emergency supplies, cash on hand.
But I’m not living my life on red alert. And I’m not leaving the Pacific Northwest as some friends have begged me to, to avoid 9.0 earthquakes and a volcanic meltdown.
It’s beautiful here and very livable. I refuse to live in some God-awful boring, ugly place with a terrible climate. I figure if I’m meant to die, I’ll die wherever I am. And if I’m meant to survive, I’ll simply be somewhere else when catastrophe strikes.
One thing I do predict. I’ll probably get some flack about this piece. People who make their living scaring the wits out of rest of us are not going to be happy with me.
What about you, Reader? Where do you stand on dire predictions? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
UPDATE: We’re having a very productive discussion in the comment section about the difference between fear mongering and prudent preparation for a possible emergency. As a result, I asked Dr. Deborah Bier, one of the leaders in creating an emergency preparedness system for Concord, MA, to conduct a special Question and Answer Session on practical steps you can take to prepare for an emergency. See it here: Emergency Preparedness—A Q&A Session by Dr. Deborah Bier.
Follow-up articles on this topic:
Articles about Predictions:
- Catastrophobia: What Causes it and How to Heal it
- People who Misuse Pluto and Saturn—Don’t be Fooled by Scare Tactics!
- 10 Impossible Things—Do You Believe?
- Mayan Calendar Jokes: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the End of the World
- Awful Things Astrologers Say to Clients
- What to Tell Astrology Clients about Pluto in Capricorn
- Facing the Difficult Potentials of a Transit
- Talking to Clients about Difficult Transits–Readers Have Their Say
- Enough with the Mercury Retrograde Hysteria!
- Shields Up! Fight Second-hand Fear and Despair!
- 10 Strategies for Killing Negative Thoughts
- EFT-Another Self-Help tool for Freedom from Fear
- Red Clover Essence–A Gentle Antidote to Mass Hysteria, by Sheryl Karas
- Saturn Remedies–Flower Essences for Overcoming Fear and Worry