Can we change our beliefs to formulate better predictions for the future?


All Writings, Observations, Psychology / Friday, December 29th, 2017
Predictions in the age of uncertainties
Predictions in the age of uncertainties

As hard as one may try, it is not possible to entirely avoid the practice of predicting the future.  Why is it that people want to predict the outcome before it happens?  The reason is quite simple.  There is a desire to have certainty about the future.  Predictions give us a feeling of security.  We feel, since we are able to gauge the present events, we can also accurately predict the future.  This does have a measure of success, no doubt.  History and personal experiences form a very strong basis for prediction.  Precisely for this reason, one or more persons can feel justified in forming and expressing their confidence in their predictions.  Let us see what would be the human possibilities and how to keep oneself and others safe.

We can change our beliefs, and thereby change the predictions

Every person has some beliefs.  It is not just a matter of religion or of politics.  The way a person was brought up, what he experienced and how he experienced those events and interactions, forms a basis for many of our beliefs.  In a span of several years, some beliefs finally have had the opportunity to become set.  The intensity of the experience or the consistent repetition of it confirmed our reality to be one way or the other.  Conditioning had taken place and we no longer gave any consideration to our beliefs.  We went on living as we best knew how.

While we accepted some change and resisted other, the world was even slower to adapt.  In this complex interaction between a person and the world, there was only a limited set of information that each of us had to work with.  Anything beyond that information was perhaps, not even a concern.  We found our security in what we knew, also in what we settled on believing.  This is how months and years can go by without any major change, or the need for it.

The limits of change

Now when change does come in the world, we are confronted with the choice of making a change or resisting it.  Usually, people try to change with the world rather than change the world.  This has always been the basis of continuity, of longevity, and of permanence.  The world is greater and stronger than any individual, and if a change is resisted beyond a point, the individual will surely be defeated.  Even changing one’s beliefs is part of survival.

We are truly confronting the limits of change in this present world.  Not only is it a matter of what changes people are required to make, it is also a matter of how fast and how many those changes are.  It is truly exhausting to change or to even resist change.

Predictions during change

Who is bringing about these changes in society, or in government, or even in religion?  It is actually the case that people were perceiving the flaws in each of those foundations, but chose to remain silent for as long as was possible.  Finally, a time and the opportunity came for people to raise their voices in concern or in revolt.

All of these voices still are based on certain optimistic or pessimistic predictions. Usually, the way it is is that we tend to be optimistic about what is in our favor but pessimistic against those whom we perceive as enemies or opposers.  Indeed, this is even how people tend to form their beliefs and expectations.  So, it becomes difficult to judge, what came first – beliefs, predictions, choices, or attitude!

If we are truly serious about the preservation of life, then we must consider each of those things, but particularly our own beliefs.  The beliefs we have are reflected in what we predict, and how we predict.  Seeing the consequences of the fulfillment of our cherished beliefs is also an ability we must have.  Should our beliefs lead to unalterable or irreversible harm, there is a need to think beyond just our own selves.  This would be the basis for protection.  Otherwise, in our hyper-connected world, once there is the start of a decline in society and institutions, there might be no way to turn it around.

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