It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.
The great Yogi’s admonition not withstanding, people seem confident of their ability to foretell the future. The futurist du jour is a teenage girl who foretells the imminent end of the world. Perhaps she’s right. Nevertheless, despite thousands of years of doom’s just around the corner prophecies, the world is still with us. Wordsworth complained about its presence more than two centuries ago – see below. One courts disapprobation and hazzard if he doesn’t place the end of days far enough away so that when proven wrong he’s not around to suffer any scorn.
An article in The Guardian, that font of wisdom, from just 16 years ago has surfaced. The internet has made everything, especially folly, eternal. Here are the first two paragraphs:
Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.
A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.
One thrills to the news of a secret report. We’ve still got 11 months to go before it’s no longer 2020, so there’s still time for Armageddon to descend. Brexit will be small beer compared what’s just days away. Nevertheless, it is 2020 and Britain doesn’t seem likely to become “Siberian” by year’s end. Also, keep a sharp eye out for nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting – after all it’s an election year in the US .
When evaluating any prediction remember there are an infinite number of things that won’t happen, but only one that will. Thus, denial is always the way to bet.
The World is Too Much With Us
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.