This blog post argues a point of view which will upset a whole load of Doctor Who fans! But before I get to the controversial bit –
“Alex, do you believe it is possible to prophesy the future?” a gentleman asked – about five minutes after I guessed that he would. 😉 This got me thinking: although I keep talking about astrology, tarot and what-not, what evidence do I really have to say that predicting the future is in fact possible?
The fact is that on rare occasions I have had precognitive dreams which have been accurate in a general sense. However I would have to qualify this assertion with two important points. An example I most remember was I wanted to know how a meeting with a certain person would turn out. I therefore, whilst having a lucid dream, willed myself to travel forward in time to the meeting and spatially to where it was due to take place. The demeanour and behaviour of the person as I experienced it in my dream turned out to be an accurate indication of what later transpired at the actual meeting – however, the precise detail of the words spoken was not.
On another occasion, I once dreamed vividly, a propos of nothing, of Yorkshire Pudding. That evening I visited my parents’ house for dinner, when they served up Toad In The Hole – which, of course, is made with Yorkshire Pudding. A friend to whom I told this anecdote said that he would have been freaked out if it had occurred to him, but I was made of sterner stuff, and not to be put off by a load of sausages!
Hence: my first qualification is that the only instances of precognition which I have had have been accurate to generalities, but not to specifics. This is why I am not currently a Lottery millionaire. I would love to know whether it is possible to get specifics – for what should be obvious reasons! On a more serious note, this also serves to confirm why precognition is so bad at predicting disasters. In his book The Sense Of Being Stared At, Rupert Sheldrake describes research he carried out on precognition after 9/11. His results were that there were plenty of people who had a feeling that something was going to happen, but few could say exactly what. And as for the few who predicted something bad about the World Trade Centre, there was nothing to indicate – prior to the event itself – why those predictions should be believed and why predictions naming any of the other skyscrapers in New York should not. Based on the precognitive information available prior to 9/11, it would have been impossible to avert disaster without evacuating every high-rise building in Manhattan.
Likewise, in my own attempts at astrology and current events in North Korea, whilst I accurately predicted violence against those involved in communication and the media, I was not able to predict exactly who the regimes first victims would be. However, it does not take the world’s greatest psychic to say: if you are involved in any way with the media, or with communication or entertainment, and you happen to be in North Korea – you should get out now if you have not already done so.
The second qualification I would have to make is that as far as my precognitive dreams were concerned, they were about events in which I was personally involved. I do not know if it is possible to be completely objective about these things, which is why something like astrology has appeal.
I have a theory why the Future can never be predicted with 100% accuracy, and it has nothing to do with the fact that all systems of divination are a load of cobblers. It is this:
THE FUTURE DOES NOT EXIST.
THE PAST DOES NOT EXIST EITHER.
THE ONLY THING THAT DOES EXIST IS A CONSTANTLY CHANGING PRESENT.
Think about: we talk about the Past and the Future as if they are places, but the single observable fact about Time is that it is never measured at any point other than the Present. The only sense in which the Past and Future can exist is as a memory (in the case of the former) and a potentiality (in the case of the latter) – but in both instances, the Memory and the Potentiality themselves exist only in the Present.
Thus, Divination, precognition, etc, does not work by foretelling the future, but by accessing implicate parts of the Present. By identifying Present-Causes – some of which may be considerably more esoteric than others – we can speculate what the Effects will be when the Present transforms into the moment that the Effect occurs.
To say that the Future is fixed would be like saying that an event has happened in a place where it has not happened.
Likewise, when in Golden Dawn magick one travels through time and space and across dimensions to the Hall of Judgement in the Egyptian After-life, this is not to be thought of as something which once existed thousands of years ago, but which exists NOW, in a magical region of the Present.
By positing that neither the Future nor the Past exist per se, one is able to neatly explain every time travel paradox put forward by scientists. Why have we not seen tourists from the future who have travelled back in Time? Given that the future has not occurred, there is no place from which to travel back! Likewise the Grandfather paradox is actually a fallacy, because it is not possible to travel back to somewhere that has ceased to exist.
Now, you may begin to see the problem with Doctor Who! Whilst the postulate that “neither the past nor future exist as places to one which can travel” would neatly explain the observed facts of time-measurement, it would totally rip the guts out of any science-fiction based upon time-travel. Unless of course it were predicated upon some fantastic method of transforming the Present.