Predicting the future is a growth industry. From Madame So-and-So’s palm reading parlor to bloated Washington think tanks to Nostradamus, telling us today what will happen tomorrow is a way to make money even in a down economy.
In the spirit of the past being prologue, dredging up interesting stuff from days of yore often fascinates us, especially in the days of really, really yore. The day the universe was created, for example.
According to History.com, April 27th is the anniversary of the day in 4977 BC when the Universe was created.
Before you start throwing the Big Bang theory in my face, fear not. I know we’ll hear scientists, readers of goat entrails and other seers say the Universe got going way before 4977 BC, the date claimed by German astronomer Johannes Kepler. They say the early 17th century math wizard and solar system junkie was off on the creation of Creation by about 13.7 billion years.
That is close enough for some historians, and some weather forecasters predicting tomorrow’s discomfort index, but I think it remains just a bit outside the margin of error for Gallup and Quinnipiac.
Clearly, then, predicting the future is about as haphazard as insisting that this or that scientist really knows when the past began, much less when tomorrow will show up.
Who can say when we all started and when and where we’ll end up?
In this world of online-ism, this stage of existence when simple rhythms pale in the heyday of algorithms, visionaries are a dime a dozen anymore.
Take drones for example. They barely began making headlines when amazon.com came along and made them into every day, humdrum tedium. Who knew?
How many times have you heard experts claim we’ve hit bottom?
Just as we didn’t get a lot of invitations to “Celebrate the end of Slinkies” parties, there weren’t any advertised “Happy Birthday Universe” parties around town either.
The irony is, the less we know about how we got here, the less we know about the future.
Watching the Discovery Channel or reading National Geographic can be educational, especially for those of us who didn’t know that whales once walked the land and that the great granddaddy of the Purple Martins fluttering around our back yard bird condo was a Pterodactyl. And who knew it took whales millions of years to make the transition from turf to surf, way longer than our attention spans these days.
Another example: Who could have told President Obama that perhaps he should have read the health care bill he championed? And who would have bet that the only Braves-related good news so far is Bobby Cox making the Hall of Fame?
Who knew that in a blink of an eye, the name Pontiac again is known primarily as that of the chief of the Ottawa Indians who fought against the British in the Great Lakes area in the 1760s? And which sages failed to figure out that a company named Solyndra would not stay extant as long as Soylent Green?
The point is, predictions are cheap these days.
Doomsayers are thriving right now, largely because doomsday seems so close at hand. I think it’s just winter.
Spring will be better, especially Spring Training. Baseball cures a lot of doom and gloom. Even Braves baseball.