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Predicting the Future

Posted March 04, 2017 12:00 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: future

Do you have any interest in knowing what life has in store for you? Do you ever wonder about what might be the cause of death for yourself or maybe a significant other (beyond those days when you know EXACTLY what causes their demise, that is)? Sure, we all speculate about it. And maybe a percentage of us actually go to lengths to prepare for these outcomes, but do we really want to know what is going to happen to us in hours, days, weeks, months, or years from now?

According to a study conducted by scientists from Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the University of Granada, the answer to that is no. Typically, people don’t want to know the future.

Published by the American Psychological Association, a survey was conducted with over 2,000 adults in Germany and Spain. When asked a series of questions concerning the future, 86%-90% of participants didn’t want to know about (possible) negative future events. Significantly, most participants didn’t want to know about the (possible) positive future events (40%-77%) either. In total, only 1% of the test sample wanted to know what the future holds.

The sample participants varied in age, education, and in other aspects of life, but the “pattern of deliberate ignorance” was consistent across all samples.

The following survey questions were used to measure participants’ feelings about possible future events:

  • Would you want to know the outcome of a soccer game that you were planning to watch later?
  • Would you want to know what gifts you were going to receive for Christmas?
  • Would you want to know if there was life after death?
  • Would you want to know if your marriage was going to last?
  • Would you want to know the sex of your baby?

Of all the questions, the only one that participants overwhelmingly wanted an answer to was what their baby’s sex would be, with only 37% not wanting to know.

Additional findings from the survey: People who don’t want to know about their future are more risk averse and more likely to buy life and legal insurance than those who don’t want to know.

Also interesting, older adults were less likely than younger adults to want to know when and how their partner dies; the closer an event was, the less likely the participant wanted to know about it.

Would you want to know your future? Your significant other’s future?

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#1

Re: Predicting the Future

03/04/2017 6:22 AM

My future is what I make of it.

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#2

Re: Predicting the Future

03/04/2017 12:14 PM

Can you see the future, even a little bit? I make no claim to the authenticity of this, but it is interesting...

http://www.blastr.com/2010/10/scientists_find_first_real_evidence_you_can_see_the_future.php

Here's the paper...

http://dbem.ws/FeelingFuture.pdf

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#11
In reply to #2

Re: Predicting the Future

03/05/2017 12:38 AM

Believe it or not, I and two of my sons have seen bits of the future on rare occasions. The presidential election was not one of them. When my daughter said she was moving to Alaska, one of my sons knew instantly that she would not come back alive, but kept it to himself. I don't always want to know what's coming but sometimes I do, but wanting has no effect on it happening AFAIK.

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Predicting the Future

03/05/2017 10:44 PM

I'm sorry about your daughter. The trouble with anecdotal accounts is that it can always be coincidence. We often worry when someone moves away, and only remember when our worries are vindicated. One data point doesn't define a trend.

I kind of doubt that any of us can actually know the future, but we all calculate probabilities and realize when some endeavor is risky. The mind is adept at running scenarios based on past experiences, and I suppose that is sort of a way of seeing the future.

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#3

Re: Predicting the Future

03/04/2017 2:15 PM

"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough."

--Albert Einstein

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#4

Re: Predicting the Future

03/04/2017 4:54 PM

I would be cool with just knowing some winning lottery numbers or good investments.

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#5

Re: Predicting the Future

03/04/2017 5:25 PM
  • Would you want to know the outcome of a soccer game that you were planning to watch later?
  • A: Soccer? Who cares!?
  • Would you want to know what gifts you were going to receive for Christmas?
  • A: No surprise, I buy them myself...
  • Would you want to know if there was life after death?
  • A: You mean the Zombie apocalypse? Well there is death after life...
  • Would you want to know if your marriage was going to last?
  • A: Too late that ship has sailed....
  • Would you want to know the sex of your baby?
  • A: Ha! a baby? that would be a miracle....

Anyone who's positive about what is going to happen in the far future, is crazy or a fool....Then again they may be manipulating events that lead to a predicted outcome....In any case I'm sure that won't dissuade anybody from trying to guess...

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Predicting the Future

03/04/2017 7:19 PM

Why did you post a pic of Tcmtech's boiler?

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#7

Re: Predicting the Future

03/04/2017 7:32 PM

What I would want to know is that if I am aware of a certain outcome can I willingly change it for the better knowing about it ahead of time? If that's possible then yes.

If it's not then yes anyways since if that's the fixed outcome regardless of what I do from when I find out about it up until it happens it's a no holds barred free for all on whatever I feel like doing until then!

Either way, either I have full free will to make things go my way or I am by default absolved of all responsibility for my actions (no matter how bad they may be) and thusly free to live my life and do as I wish until whatever event happens.

Either life goes the way I want it right to the end or life goes my way until the end stops me.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Predicting the Future

03/04/2017 7:35 PM

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: Predicting the Future

03/04/2017 8:55 PM

I think that the question of whether any definite future can exist boils down to whether the universe is deterministic. Free will is just one aspect of indeterminism. A lot of physical processes like radioactive decay appear to be non-deterministic.

Chaotic processes magnify minute differences over time. The famous "butterfly effect" is the well-known weather example. Tiny causes can have big effects. A non-deterministic decay of a radium atom can kill Schrodinger's cat.

So maybe we can't know the future until we get there.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/

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#10

Re: Predicting the Future

03/04/2017 11:30 PM

Upon reading this article, one might believe that German scientists are required, to ask people simple questions. Whereas almost everywhere else, common everyday folks can ask people simple questions.

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#12

Re: Predicting the Future

03/05/2017 10:58 AM

If you knew the future you could change it. Then the future would no longer be the future.

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#14

Re: Predicting the Future

03/06/2017 10:31 AM

The future. You won't get out of it alive.

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#15

Re: Predicting the Future

03/06/2017 6:56 PM

I've noticed at my age, that my future, is a lot of old memories.

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