It is this time of year that I usually take the opportunity to debase the use of New Year’s resolutions as a tool for effective change. Instead, this year I am going to condemn those who are purveyors of psychic readings or predictions. These charlatans prey upon the gullibility of people and some certain psychological needs. Psychic readings tend to flatter the subject and also provide hope. Hope sets one up for disappointment though. Similarly, belief in fate or destiny removes one from responsibility and active participation in creating a future. So-called psychics that predict upcoming events for the year are inaccurate often and their “hits” are vaguely accurate guesses at best - the most popular Hollywood couple “will experience problems in their relationship this year and may divorce.” Well what couple who has a busy workload that takes each in opposite directions for weeks at a time isn’t going to have problems. What is a problem? Must it be defined as such by the couple? They may not divorce, they may be revealed as aliens, they may spontaneously combust and likewise . . . they may not. ‘May’ is not a concrete term. It is neutral in value, just as ‘whether’, although ‘may’ carries a positive tone of permission or probability while whether carries a negative associated with inaction or omission [I am going whether you are].
The X-Files episode Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose is worth watching to see an example of these phonies in action and a rational response.
As in that fictional episode these real life vultures reject the existentialism accountability for free will and instead promote a fatalist view that life is predetermined. They appeal to people who seek to escape from freedom and be comforted by narrow certainties and be granted license to blame others for their misfortunes. Their predictions are not scientific because they are too vague to be falsifiable. What makes these so-called psychics such scumbags is that they are willing to take money from individuals for their phony prognostications but won’t utter a precise altruistic sentence to the world such as, “Do not go into the World Trade Centers on September 11 of this upcoming year because terrorists are going to hijack two planes and fly them into the buildings which will result in the collapse of both.” Supposedly some ‘psychic’ twins claim to have made the prediction but apparently they were not taken seriously. Any one of those psychics [scumbags] could have made that declaration and supported it by providing ample evidence demonstrating the accuracy of all of their precise past predictions and saved thousands of lives but none did because they do not and cannot. Their hits are the result of the Dixon Effect*.
This ghost hunter/paranormal researcher quackery goes hand-in-hand with so-called psychics. In the poltergeist revealed documentary included with the movie Poltergeist one of these hucksters explains the scientific method used in searching for poltergeist this way. The research is done in a scientific way using actual scientific tools. One of those tools is a Geiger Counter. Geiger Counters measure atmospheric particle radiation. There should be occasional clicks of the Geiger Counter from normal levels of radiation but when the clicks become more rapid that indicates the presence of a poltergeist. Thus, the areas around Chernobyl, Ukraine and Fukushima plant in Japan are overwhelmingly occupied by ghosts. Apparently ghosts gravitate to areas that have been abandoned by humans because they suddenly became uninhabitable due to nuclear power plant facility catastrophes. One ghost hunter said it is her duty to “dissertate whether there is a ghost.”
Difficulties in parent-child relationships do result from the acceptance of similar fatalist views. I regularly have clients who have succumb to the view that the lack of a satisfying relationship with their child, usually founded upon being the non-custodial parent, is the result of outside forces. Those vexed blame the law, the judge, the other parent, the other parent’s parents, collusion by the attorneys, parental alienation, having an incompetent attorney or, my favourite, the heavy-handed challenge to them by or the will of God.
I make prognostications about the parent-child relationships of clients. They are predicated upon the necessity of the parent holding an objective viewpoint of the child custody dilemma. Through therapy most parents are able to see their contribution to creating or perpetuating the difficulties they have encountered in their child custody battle. The most egregious miscarriages of justice have included an underlying aggravating factor by the aggrieved parent. Those who have accepted that we all contribute at various levels to our station in life and hold ourselves accountable are best poised to make the adjustments which lead to more positive relationships.
As you embark upon the ongoing journey of life this year I suggest doing so with a disposition that holds you accountable for your actions and that it is your actions that determine your future.
In closing I have two concepts about the future to share with you.
Today does not exist before tomorrow which determines yesterday.
The future does not exist. It is only the past coming into being.
These both reflect the idea that our current actions are a response to our previous experiences and both are simultaneously aimed at achieving a desired future which doesn’t happen to us but is a result of those actions.
By the way, I predict that the S&P 500 will drop 100 points in 2015 pushed by tech stocks. I predict that the S&P 500 will rise 100 points in 2015 pushed by oil stocks. I will be correct because during some period during the year the S&P will have a difference of 100 points either way and either tech or oil will move because they are volatile and I didn’t say they will lead.
*Here is how the psychic frauds claim to make “accurate” predictions. It has come to be known as the Dixon Effect. Jeanne Dixon reportedly predicted the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the May 13, 1956, issue of Parade Magazine she wrote that the 1960 presidential election would be "dominated by labor and won by a Democrat" who would then go on to "[B]e assassinated or die in office though not necessarily in his first term." She later admitted, “During the 1960 election, I saw Richard Nixon as the winner”, and at the time made unequivocal predictions that JFK would fail to win the election. By emphasizing a few coincidentally correct predictions and ignoring those that were wrong she appears to have made an accurate prediction.
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