Predictions ... there is something comforting or discomforting about them, but in general, as far as I can figure out, the best policy when predictions come along is ... grab your wallet: Someone has figured out a way to make money from those who are comforted or discomforted.
Christian radio host Harold Camping has calculated that May 21, 2011, is the day on which the Christian Rapture will occur. On that day, God's elect will be taken up into heaven, rapture-fashion. The non-elected are screwed. About five months later, on Oct. 21, the world as we know it will end.
Camping's assurance and whatever he fancies his reassurance as being does create a quandary for those inclined towards apocalyptic predictions. The Mayans predict the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012. If the world has already ended on Oct. 21, 2011, how is it supposed to end on Dec. 21, 2012? Whatever the case, here is a CNN report on a professor's take on the global prediction business.
A couple of times in my life, people have given me predictions, some of which turned out to be pretty accurate. An Indian fellow doing my astrological chart in New York once laughed at me when I asked about spiritual adventures. "Enlightenment in this lifetime," he said emphatically. At the time, I was left somewhere between delight, embarrassment and confusion: If someone were to 'attain' enlightenment, how the hell could they possibly know it since knowing it would eviscerate the meaning of enlightenment ... which would mean that the attained enlightenment hadn't been attained at all. Or did I have "enlightenment" all wrong? In which case, what was enlightenment?
Well, all that daydreaming is in the past, but that doesn't mean that there isn't something very tempting about predictions. First of all, a prediction would mean you could lay down your burden of responsibility. It would be as if life said, "Not to worry. I've got things figured out. You can stop figuring." But, second, since human beings are built to figure and finagle, what the hell would you do with all that spare time?
Like reading astrological observations that appear in even the most revered newspapers, predictions beckon and entice. What if it were true? What if ... what if ... what if someone else actually could predict the future and get it right? That would be kind of kool ... wouldn't it? Sure, it's a juvenile pastime, but which one of us hasn't got a juvenile streak, a dreamy streak, an irresponsible streak, a streak that depends on others for our definition and peace?
Rather than holding all of this at a distance, like some stick-up-the-ass 'adult,' I think it is better to acknowledge it and examine it. Examine it not with an eye to standing above the fray -- so cool, so adult, so idiotically in control -- but rather as an aspect and a possibility... like a maple leaf on a maple tree.
Ain't that nifty, ain't that interesting, ain't that ... ain't that marvelous: A leaf on a maple tree? No need to clutch and cling: It's just a leaf ... what the hell did you expect from a maple tree?