Don?t count on psychic predictions for a peek into the future

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Cliff?s Edge by Dennis Clifford What happened to the Y2K threats and predictions that totally consumed so many people three years back? One of the things I particularly enjoy at this season of the year is the predictions of the various famous psychics who tell us what to expect in the next 12 months. Have any of you ever read a newspaper headline reading, ?Noted Psychic Wins Superball Lottery?? These predictions are about as accurate and dependable as the self-help books written on how to win at the craps table every time, results ?guaranteed.? It is possible that our interest in the predictions comes from a sense of insecurity raised by those who govern and direct our lives. Isn?t it a peculiar situation that a people who supposedly claim to be the most educated in the world turn to mediums, crystal ball gazers and horoscopes to give some sense of direction to their worried lives? One of America?s best selling toys is the popular ?8-Ball.? It even comes in a computer form for the technophile. The TV networks at this time of the year produce shows to recap the events of the last 12 months. One network had a ?Top 5 Predictions that Failed to Come True.? Once again the scapegoat was the ?They.? Has anyone ever determined just who the nefarious and prolific ?They? really are. I have to admit that on occasion I will use the ?They? term but usually I have an inclination as to who my ?They? really are. At any rate, 2002?s ?They,? predicted the stock market would top 13,000 by year?s end with World Com leading the way. ?They? also believed Osama bin Ladin would be captured or killed before the start of 2003. No, we cannot lump these prophets into the groups that predict that aliens will return to Earth to de-clone the species they cloned 25,000 years ago. These mystic diviners were respected experts in their fields and had major followings. Even in the Christian community the interest in knowing the future captures the minds of many believers. Books on the end of the world sell particularly well and now we have a group of movies seeking to impact the visual learners with their unique form of biblical prophecy. It seems to me to be a form of religious science fiction in its approach and appeal. Nevertheless, it certainly does occupy the minds of many Christians and non-Christians as well. As for me, I think we should hold anyone who wishes to predict or prophesy the future to the same standards as was used in the Old Testament. In those times you could listen to the exhortations of the supposed prophet and then act as you saw fit. However, when the event prophesied happened or failed to happen, then action was required. If the event came true as the prophet predicted, he would be accorded great honor and declared a true ?prophet.? People would be directed to listen to his words and honor and respect him. However, if the event failed to happen, the wannabe prophet would be ?stoned.? No, I do not mean that he would fall under the ethereal effect of inhaling the magic weed. I mean he would fall under the weight of real stones. He would be put to death for his false prophecy. I wonder how many authors would be on our bookshelves today if we were to return this penalty for being wrong and misguiding people. Mark Twain said in ?A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur?s Court,? ?I have done some indiscreet things in my day, but this thing of playing myself for a prophet was the worst. Still, it had its ameliorations. A prophet doesn?t have to have any brains. They are good to have, of course, for the ordinary exigencies of life, but they are of no use in professional work. It is the restfulest vocation there is. When the spirit of prophecy comes upon you, you merely take your intellect and lay it off somewhere in a cool place for a rest, and unship your jaw and leave it alone; it will work itself. The result is prophecy.? In the political realm, predictions drive our economy. In June, Fed Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said not to expect any more rate reductions as we were at a 40-year low and to reduce it further would scare investors. Then three months later, in August, he took it down a big fat one- half percentage point. In September, Democrat prognosticators predicted that Republicans would take a big hit for being too close to corporate America. American voters, being American voters, showed their feelings about predictions and gave the whole Capitol Hill to the GOP. I think in 2003 I will not waste time or energy in trying to divine my future. I think I will concentrate rather on what I can control and that is, the now. I will keep my faith that in spite of operator?s attempts to play god, he will always do as he has in the past and fall on his human face. The role of God is already taken and I am so thankful. It is my prayer that 2003 be the year that brings our families closer together. A year that allows us to point our attentions at what we are doing and not worry about what our neighbors are doing. On Dec. 31, 2003, let us reflect on what it was that brought us comfort, security and love in the year just past. Make it a Happy New Year! Dennis Clifford can be reached at cliffsedge He appears in the Journal on Tuesdays.