The Quote Garden ™
“I dig old books.” ™
Quotations about Predicting the Future
and Quotable Predictions: Right & Wrong
Welcome to my page of quotations about predicting the future as well as writings addressed to the future, unsettling repetitions of history, and quotable predictions and warnings, whether they came true, did not, or are yet to be determined. This also covers speculation, fortune telling, prophecies, divination, prognostication, psychic powers, soothsaying, foreknowing, crystal gazing, palmistry, reading tea leaves, lucky and educated guesses, etc. —ღ Terri
To 2021 New York, from 1921. —
I wonder, old dear, why my mind has lately been going out towards you? I wonder if you will ever read this?... perhaps [you] will think back to the tradition of the quaint vanished creatures who lived and strove in this city in the year of disgrace, 1921... You seem a long way off, this soft September morning as I sit here and sneeze (will hay fever still exist in 2021, I wonder?)... You seem a long way off, I say — and yet it is but an instant, and you will be here... Before we have time to turn three times in our chairs, we shall be the grandparents and you will be smiling at our old-fashioned sentiments... ~Christopher Morley, "To a New Yorker a Hundred Years Hence," 1921
Fortune Telling Advice. —
Always remember the answers come not from the rock, the teacup, the shell, or the cards. The answers come from you. ~Gwendolyn Womack, The Fortune Teller, 2017
The A to Z of Divination. —
Meanwhile, Scaramouch took himself off and applied to all sorts of Divination. He tried Æromancy, or divination by the air; Anemoscopy, or introspection of the winds; Arithmomancy, or divination by numbers; Astromancy, or divination by the stars. He divined according to Botanomancy, or by plants... Geomancy, by the earth; Horoscopy, by calculation of nativities... Keraunoscopy, by thunder... Nephelemancy, the clouds; Oinomancy, wine; Ornithascopy, birds; Pelomancy, mud; by Psychomancy, evocation of souls... He divined moreover by Rhapsodomancy, verses of poets; by Skiamancy, shadows; by Stoicomancy, the elements; by Theurgy, celestial spirits; and Uranoscopy, the heavens... Xylomancy, wood; by Ylomancy, forests; by Zoomancy, of living things. And thus, having gone through the alphabet of Divination, without discovering where the object was, gave a great cry of hullaballiboowhoohooyoosee, and went to sleep. ~Anonymous, "Pontiprus," in the Southern Literary Gazette, Charleston, S.C., 1850 [a little altered –tg]
Tarot Card Humor. —
I stayed up one night playing poker with tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. ~Steven Wright, A Steven Wright Special, 1985, stevenwright.com
Fortune Cookies. —
My crystal ball is in the shop. Pick a fortune cookie. ~Bill Whitehead, Free Range, 2013 January 16th
Divination & Tea Leaf Reading Humor. —
Even by Harry’s low standards in Divination, the exam went very badly. He might as well have tried to see moving pictures on the desktop as in the stubbornly blank crystal ball; he lost his head completely during tea-leaf reading, saying it looked to him as though Professor Marchbanks would shortly be meeting a round, dark, soggy stranger, and rounded off the whole fiasco by mixing up the life and head lines on her palm and informing her that she ought to have died the previous Tuesday...
Ron... had just made Harry feel better by telling him how he had told the examiner in detail about the ugly man with a wart on his nose in his crystal ball, only to look up and realise he had been describing his examiner’s reflection.
‘We shouldn't have taken up the stupid subject in the first place,’ said Harry... ‘No more pretending we care what happens when Jupiter and Uranus get too friendly.’
‘And from now on, I don't care if my tea-leaves spell die, Ron, die — I’m just chucking them in the bin where they belong.’ ~J. K. Rowling, “OWLs,” Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2003
Women's Rights & Woman in the Workforce. —
"A woman does not, then, necessarily leave the industrial service on marriage?" I queried. "No more than a man," replied the doctor. "Why on earth should she?... a husband is not a baby that he should be cared for." ~Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward: 2000–1887, 1888 [The character in the book was looking back on 1887 from the year 2000. Bellamy, in this utopian novel and his 1897 book Equality, predicts many things for America and the world. Some he gets very wrong, such as global peace and the riddance of social and economic inequality, but he pretty much calls it right on health and safety advancements in industry, the invention of radio music, Amazon warehouses and home delivery, tiny houses, remote church services, etc. —tg]
A Criticism of Bellamy's Utopian Novel. —
In Mr. Bellamy's powerfully-written romance, "Looking Backward," which is now fluttering the dove-cotes of social reformers, the hero, Julian West, living in the year 2000 A.D., after recovering from a trance into which he fell in 1887, dreams that he is once more back in the hideous nineteenth century. Amid the throes of this nightmare he thinks himself walking the streets of Boston, U.S., with the "curse of gold" confronting him at every step. One incident alone stands out in relief against the general background of brutality and horror. A life agent hands him an insurance card, and the dreamer moralizes upon life insurance as "the only device, pathetic in its admission of the universal need it so poorly supplies, which offers these tired and hunted men and women even a partial protection from uncertainty." Thank you, Mr. Bellamy. If we live to the year 2000, by trance or otherwise, we'll improve our insurance up to date. But you wicked Socialists must keep quiet in the meantime. ~Post Magazine (insurance industry news), London, 1889, as quoted in The Baltimore Underwriter, eodem anno
A Divided America. —
It is certainly much to be regretted that party discriminations are so far Geographical as they have been; and that ideas of a severance of the Union are creeping in both North and South... it is to be hoped that the Efforts of wise men will be able to prevent a scism, which would be injurious in different degrees to different portions of the Union; but would seriously wound the prosperity of all. ~Alexander Hamilton, to George Washington, 1792 [founders.archives.gov]
A Social & Political Warning. —
That our system is failing to solve the bedrock problems we face is beyond dispute. One reason is that our public discourse has become the verbal equivalent of mud wrestling. The anthropologist Marvin Harris says the attack against reason and objectivity in America today "is fast reaching the proportion of a crusade." America, he says, "urgently needs to reaffirm the principle that it is possible to carry out an analysis of social life that rational human beings will recognize as being true, regardless of whether they happen to be women or men, whites or blacks, straights or gays, Jews or born again Christians." Lacking such an understanding, of social life, "we will tear the United States apart in the name of our separate realities." Taken together, these assumptions and developments foreshadow the catastrophe of social and political paralysis. ~Bill Moyers, Foreword, At Century's End (New Perspectives Quarterly), 1996
Politics, Government, & Democracy. —
Prophecy, as applied to politics: It is nearly certain that the form of government of the United States will remain as it is. The sturdy independence of their scattered rural population will prevent any leader, by means of army or clever demagogue, from making himself despot of the country; and the quickness with which wealth changes hands in that country will, until the nature of its inhabitants is entirely changed, be preventive of the growth of an oligarchy. Thus we may surmise, without great boldness, that democracy will still hold its ground in the United States at the end of this century, though its future complexion would be more difficult to divine; and he would be a bold prophet who would say off-hand whether Whigs or Locofocos, Enslavers or Abolitionists, Know-everythings or Know-nothings, would be in the ascendancy at that date. ~Charles Forbes René de Montalembert, 1855
Religion & Philosophy. —
Religion is a man using a divining rod. Philosophy is a man using a pick and shovel. ~Author unknown
Divination by Cloud Gazing. —
In early history clouds were thought to reveal the feelings of the divine powers towards men and to forecast future events. Cloud gazing was very likely a more serious and anxious business, with attentive scrutiny to the ever metamorphosing landscape above and pastoral and agricultural life dependent on the weather. ~G. Stanley Hall, "Note on Cloud Fancies," 1903 [Aeromancy. Text a little altered. –tg]
Divination by Wind. —
AUSTROMANCY is a method of divination by the winds. It is, apparently, a branch of the science of Aeromancy, which says Agrippa, divines by aërial impressions, by the blowing of the winds, by rainbows, by circles about the moon and stars, by mists and clouds, and by imaginations in clouds and visions in the air. ~“A Short Lexicon of Alchemy,” appendix to The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Aureolus Phillippus Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim, called Paracelsus, The Great (1493–1541), editors A. E. Waite & L. W. de Laurence, 1894–1910 [Another term for wind divination is anemoscopy. –tg]
More Weather Divinations. —
Ceraunoscopy, n. Divination by thunder and lightning. ~The Century Dictionary, 1909
Oneiromancy & Astrology. —
...dreams, and predictions of astrology... ought to serve but for winter talk by the fire-side. ~Francis Bacon (1561–1626), "Of Prophecies"
Shakespeare Sonnet ♯ 14. —
Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck;
And yet methinks I have astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well,
By oft predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert;
Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.
~William Shakespeare, c.1609
Groundhog Day. —
The groundhog is like most other prophets; it delivers its prediction and then disappears. ~Bill Vaughn, United Feature Syndicate, as quoted in The Reader's Digest, 1987
Groundhog Day. —
Resolved, That we, the representative men of this State, filled with patriotism and love for the prognosticator of the weather, recognize this day as "Ground-hog day," and that legal enactment should fix the date, the 2nd of February, which shall forever remain without defalcation or discount, as Ground-hog day, never to be changed by constitutional amendments or acts of any Legislature of this State. ~Journal of the House of Representatives of the 38th General Assembly (Regular Session) of the State of Missouri, Saturday, February 2, 1895
Groundhog Day. —
It's a freakin' holiday entirely based on the power of a psychic rodent. If that isn't the epitome of awesome, I don't know what is. ~Flying LlamaFish, "7 Reasons Groundhog Day is the Ultimate Holiday," PunIntended.com, 2010
Increase in Automobiles. —
The number of automobiles in the country is increasing at a rate that makes one wonder if a car-less man will not soon be a curiosity. ~"Edlets," The Spatula: An Illustrated Magazine for Pharmacists, 1919
California Drivers. —
Or why didn't they all settle in California [instead of Phoenix]? Did they predict the high taxation and that weird thing where motorcycles whip between lanes on the freeway and scare the bowel movement out of you? ~Dominic Verstegen, "The Seven Stages of Dealing with Arizona's Heat," 2015 [Arizona drivers now behave like this too, it's hard to tell the difference anymore. —tg]
Staying Indoors. —
Caulfield: In the past, here's how you'd forecast the weather: pick up your phone; call someone west of you; have them open a window. In the present, you open a window on your phone.
Frazz: In the future, no one goes outdoors.
~Jef Mallett, Frazz, 2018 November 12th
4th of July / Independence Day Prediction. —
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival... with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore. You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. ~John Adams, letter to wife Abigail, 1776 July 3rd, Philadelphia
Climate Change & Environment. —
The end of days is an event I believe we're actually going to create for ourselves... The earth itself won't be destroyed. There's not a meteor shower out there with our name on it... From ancient civilizations to today's experts, we've been warned over and over and over again: if we don't take care of this sacred home we've been given, it won't be able to provide us with shelter, food, and comfort any longer, just as surely as a house we abuse and neglect will be condemned as unfit for human habitation sooner or later... Sometimes you'd think that we're all a bunch of teenagers, left unsupervised in the house while our parents are away. ~Sylvia Browne, End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies about the End of the World, 2008
You think you can fix everything, change everything. But there will come a day when things cannot be fixed. And, you know what, it will be a day just like today. ~American Indian elder, quoted by Kent Nerburn, "Thoughts on the Dakota Access Pipeline," 2016
Environment & Health. —
The environment will take its toll on our immune systems, there’s no doubt about it. It's karmic, really, the earth’s way of paying us back for all the abuse and neglect — still another reason we’ve got to start treasuring and nurturing this planet if we ever expect it to do the same for us again. There will be dramatic increases in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, sterility and infertility, and countless, virtually untraceable allergies. It’s probably also a form of payback that we’ll be more vulnerable than ever to diseases carried by unhealthy animals... These illnesses and plagues will hit hard and very suddenly, much more quickly than scientists and researchers can keep up with them, let alone conquer them. ~Sylvia Browne, “The End of Days Through My Eyes,” End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies about the End of the World, 2008
Price of Soda Pop. —
The price of fountain drinks in the big cities is already too high, and it is possible there is absolutely no limit to the amount the average customer is willing to pay. ~"Edlets," The Spatula: An Illustrated Magazine for Pharmacists, 1919
The Grand Canyon. —
The extent and magnitude of the system of cañons is astounding. The plateau is cut into shreds by these gigantic chasms, and resembles a vast ruin. Belts of country, miles in width, have been swept away, leaving only isolated mountains standing in the gap — fissures, so profound that the eye cannot penetrate their depths, are separated by walls whose thickness one can almost span, and slender spires, that seem to be tottering upon their base, shoot up a thousand feet from vaults below... The region is, of course, altogether valueless. It can be approached only from the south, and after entering it there is nothing to do but leave. Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality. It seems intended by nature that the Colorado river, along the greater portion of its lonely and majestic way, shall be forever unvisited and undisturbed. ~Joseph Christmas Ives, Report upon the Colorado River of the West; Explored in 1857 and 1858 [In 1919, there were 38,000 recreational visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park. Annual visits have steadily grown to 6 million, as of 2016. –tg]
Palm Reading, or Chiromancy. —
Never forget that you must die; that death will come sooner than you expect... God has written the letters of death upon your hands. In the inside of your hands you will see the letters M.M. It means "Memento Mori" — remember you must die. ~John Furniss, Tracts for Spiritual Reading: Designed for First Communions, Retreats, Missions, &c., 1877
Racism & Gender Discrimination. —
One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings. ~Franklin A. Thomas, 1982
Women's Rights, Speculative Fiction from 1889. —
The Year 2000 — United Britain. There have been many changes and much progress in the well-being of humankind during the past hundred years. The strongest point of the century passed has been the striking advancement of the intellectual power of woman. The barriers which man in his own interest set to the occupation of woman having once been broken down, the progress of woman in all pursuits has been continuous. It has come to be accepted that the bodily power is greater in man, and the mental power larger in woman. The arts and caprices which in old days were called feminine proved to be the silken chains fastened by men on women to lull them into inaction. Without abating any of their charms, women have long ceased to submit to be the playthings of men. ~Julius Vogel, Anno Domini 2000; or, Woman's Destiny, 1889 [a little altered —tg]
Astrology & Fortune Telling: A Fable. —
Fable XCIV: An Astrologer and a Traveller. A Certain Starr-Gazer had the Fortune, in the very Height of his Celestial Observations, to stumble into a Ditch: A sober Fellow passing by, gave him a piece of Wholesome Counsel. Friend, says he, Make a Right Use of Your Present Misfortune; and pray, for the Future, let the Starrs go on quietly in their Courses, and do you look a little Better to the Ditches.
The Moral of the Fable. There needs no more than Impudence and Ignorance, on the One Side, and a Superstitious Credulity on the Other, to the Setting up of a Fortune Teller.
Reflexion: This serves for a Reproof to the Ignorance and Confidence of Figure-Flingers, Starr-Gazers, that pretend to Foretell the Fortunes of Kingdoms and States, and yet have no Foresight at all in what concerns Themselves. ~Fables of Æsop and other Eminent Mythologists, with Morals and Reflexions, by Roger L'Estrange, 1692
Parental Predictions. —
Any astronomer can predict with absolute accuracy just where every star in the universe will be at 11:30 tonight. He can make no such prediction about his teenage daughter. ~James T. Adams, unverified
Remote Work & Megacorporations. —
Our projections suggest that in the year 2020... those who choose to work will have almost no limitations placed on them as to where and when they will engage in it. By that time, probably no more than 100 to 150 giant multinational corporations will control about 60 percent to 70 percent of Gross National Product. But, at the other end of the spectrum, we'll have literally millions and millions of one- and two-person entrepreneurs working from wherever they choose to work. ~William Reif, Associate Dean, College of Business Administration, Arizona State University, as quoted in Don G. Campbell, "Visions for Tomorrow," Arizona Highways, 1984, arizonahighways.com [Chuck Palahniuk in his 1996 book Fight Club calls these "megatonic corporations." —tg]
Year 2020 Prediction. —
By 2020 we will see a fundamentally different world. ~Michael de Kare-Silver, e-shock 2020: How the Digital Technology Revolution Is Changing Business and All Our Lives, 2011 [Oh man, did you hit that nail on the head! —tg]
COVID-19 Prediction. —
In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments. ~Sylvia Browne, “The End of Days Through My Eyes,” End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies about the End of the World, 2008
A 2020 Pandemic. —
There's a more traditional appeal to Defiance... a genuinely entertaining "immersion" play in which you'll find yourself sucked into the experience of life at the quarantine station during the 1881 smallpox epidemic, the 1901 bubonic plague, the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic and a projected Avian flu epidemic in 2020. The two acts are performed in buildings where some of the events depicted took place. ~The Rough Guide to Australia, 2011 [Close. COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease but it's most likely a chiropteran betacoronavirus, bat-borne SARS-CoV-2. —tg]
Importance of Science. —
Scientists will save us all. ~John Gunther, Jr. (1929–1947), note, 1947, quoted in John Gunther, Death Be Not Proud, 1949 [Or at least we can say they tried. —tg]
Police Reform 2020. —
If policing is to be effective in the years ahead, specialization is crucial... The vision can be brought to reality by committed police leadership to bring true professionalism in the discharge of policing responsibilities and enhance the public confidence in the competence of the force by 2020... The police organization of 2020 should be a far smaller unit than now... The police of 2020 will be required to shed its idée fixe for the show of strength in place of efficient policing. ~Praveen Kumar, "Vision for 'Police 2010' and 'Police 2020,'" Policing the Police, 2000 [Of India. Spelling Americanized. —tg]
Internet, Instant News, Constant Connectivity. —
I shall take the liberty this morning of transporting you one hundred years into the future... It is 1982... If you look back to 1882 you will be surprised at the rapidity of human progress... In the progress of events men considered that to keep up with the age, they must have their news at least once a week. Then came the need of a daily paper. Then the system was perfected for placing a bulletin on each man's counter three times a day and five times on Sunday. Then the telephone was used wholly to dispense with the printing press. Messages were directed to flash simultaneously once an hour to every village in the land. But even this system did not satisfy the needs of enlightenment. An hour to us seemed as long as six months to the Puritans of the seventeenth century. News must be instantaneous. Whatever occurred must be sent as by a nerve thrill through all the world. ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "New Year in 1982," Liberty and Life: Discourses by E. P. Powell, 1889 [a little altered —tg]
Distance Education, Remote Learning. —
It's my firm conviction that some day we shall find universities conferring degrees 'while you wait,' as it were... Then the golden age of education will begin... There's... the gramophone course, in which a man won't have to leave home at all to secure a degree from any college he chooses. By tabulating his knowledge and dictating it into a gramophone he can send the cylinder to the university authorities, have it carefully examined, and receive his degree on a postal-card...
Such a method would involve the utter destruction of the football and rowing seasons... a man can be branded with the mark of intellectual distinction in absentia... but a man can't win athletic prowess without giving the matter attention in propria persona... You can't stroke a crew by mail any more than you can stroke a cat by freight, and it doesn't make any difference how wonderful he may be physically, a Yale man... can't play football with a Harvard student... by telephone. You can do it with chess, but not with basket ball. ~John Kendrick Bangs, "On Short Courses at College," The Genial Idiot, 1908
Year 2020 Humor. —
Kids in the future will have to endure an entire school year of History class devoted just to the year 2020. ~Internet meme
Palm Reading & Fate. —
"And now let us look at your hand." Pamela turned Phenice's palm to the moonlight. "Far back in the past, there is a sea-voyage."
"I was never at sea," put in Phenice; "though I often wished I could go a voyage. My father was a sailor; he was at sea when I was born."
"That's it," said Pamela, "and your mother's heart was there, too, I expect. The things that happened to yourself, and the things that happened before you was born and is written down upon your fate, gets mixed up sometimes... In the future, your heart will rule your head. I see travel and trouble and hunger."
"Hungry?" said Phenice. "Well I dare say I shall. I don't expect ever to be rich."
"Ah, but there's more than one sort of hunger."
"Why do you say that?"
"I don't know why. I see what I see, but I have nothing to do with the whys and the wherefores. If you are afraid to dree your weird, you can but turn back." ~Elizabeth Godfrey (Jessie Bedford), The Winding Road, 1902 [a little altered —tg]
Divination by Clouds. —
So we sometimes espy a bright cloud formed into an irregular figure; when it is observed by unskilful and phantastic travellers, it looks like a centaur to some, and as a castle to others: some tell that they saw an army with banners, and it signifies war; but another, wiser than his fellow, says it looks for all the world like a flock of sheep, and foretells plenty; and all the while it is nothing but a shining cloud, by its own mobility and the activity of a wind cast into a contingent and inartificial shape. ~Jeremy Taylor, 1689
Divination by Dreams. —
Philostratus, in his Life of Apollonius Tyaneus represents the latter as informing King Phraotes that "the Oneiropolists, or Interpreters of Visions, are wont never to interpret any vision till they have first enquired the time at which it befell; for, if it were early, and of the morning sleep, they then thought that they might make a good interpretation thereof... in that the soul was then fitted for divination, and disincumbered. But if in the first sleep, or near midnight, while the soul was as yet clouded and drowned in libations, they, being wise, refused to give any interpretation. ~Dr. Anna Bonus Kingsford, 1886, preface to Dreams and Dream-Stories, 1888
Premonitions in Dreams. —
What! dost thou not believe that oft in dreams
A voice of warning speaks prophetic to us?
There is no doubt that there exist such voices.
Yet I would not call them
Voices of warning that announce to us
Only the inevitable. As the sun,
Ere it is risen, sometimes paints its image
In the atmosphere, so often do the spirits
Of great events stride on before the events,
And in to-day already walks to-morrow...
~Friedrich Schiller, The Death of Wallenstein, 1799, translated by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)
Reading Tea Leaves. —
England, a fortune-telling host,
As num'rous as the Stars, could boast
Matrons, who toss the Cup, and see
The grounds of Fate in grounds of Tea...
~Charles Churchill (1731–1764), The Ghost
Esperanto & Universal Languages. —
"Dr. Leete," I said, "has told me something of the way in which the universality of culture, combined with your scientific appliances, has made physically possible this leadership of the best; but, I beg your pardon, how could a speaker address numbers so vast as you speak of unless the pentecostal miracle were repeated? Surely the audience must be limited at least by the number of those understanding one language."
"Is it possible that Dr. Leete has not told you of our universal language?"
"I have heard no language but English."
"Of course, everybody talks the language of his own country with his countrymen, but with the rest of the world he talks the general language — that is to say, we have nowadays to acquire but two languages to talk to all peoples — our own, and the universal. We may learn as many more as we please, and usually please to learn many, but these two are alone needful to go all over the world or to speak across it without an interpreter..." ~Edward Bellamy (1850–1898), "What the Revolution Did for Women," Equality, 1897 [Esperanto, the public domain universal language, was developed from 1873–1885 and published in 1887 by L.L. Zamenhof, with the first decent English translation published in 1889, but the movement didn't become popular until about the 1920s, so I'm not sure whether Bellamy would've known of it. His popular 1888 utopian novel Looking Backward was translated into Esperanto in 1937, thirty-nine years after his death. —tg]
The Prophecy of Poetry. —
I think poetry is the greatest of the arts. It combines music and painting and story-telling and prophecy and the dance. It is religious in tone, scientific in attitude. A true poem contains the seed of wonder... ~E.B. White, 1939
Poetic Foretelling the Future. —
Who thinks, at night, that morn will ever be?
Who knows, far out upon the central sea,
That anywhere is land? And yet, a shore
Has set behind us, and will rise before:
A past foretells a future...
~Bayard Taylor, "First Evening," c. 1862
Trusting the Future to God. —
So, hope-lit New Year, with thy joys uncertain,
Whose unsolved mystery none may foretell,
I calmly trust my God to lift thy curtain:
Safe in his love, for me 'twill all be well.
~Julia B. Cady (d.1869), "New-Year Thoughts"
Portable Devices. —
Camille Faure's improvement of the secondary battery was made last year, in 1881. I shall now take the liberty of transporting us one hundred years into the future, to the year 1982. Vastly better methods have been devised for storing electric power, so that we literally box up localized force and carry it off under our arms to use where and when we will... Electricity has also been applied to cars. These electric cars are capable of self-illumination, and are thus at night objects of great beauty, moving with colored lights. ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "New Year in 1982" [Text a little altered. Granted, here he's referring to flying cars, but at least he nailed the portable devices part. —tg]
A Political Warning & Prediction. —
Let us guard against every enemy threatening the perpetuity of free republican institutions. If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's, but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition, and ignorance on the other. ~Ulysses S. Grant, 1875
A Political Warning from Hamilton. —
The truth unquestionably is, that the only path to a subversion of the republican system of the Country is, by flattering the prejudices of the people, and exciting their jealousies and apprehensions, to throw affairs into confusion, and bring on civil commotion. ~Alexander Hamilton, enclosure, "Objections and Answers respecting the Administration of the Government," letter to George Washington, 1792 August 18th [founders.archives.gov]
Hamilton's Warning, Continued. —
When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits — despotic in his ordinary demeanour — known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty — when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity — to join in the cry of danger to liberty — to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion — to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day — It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may “ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.” ~Alexander Hamilton, enclosure, "Objections and Answers respecting the Administration of the Government," letter to George Washington, 1792 August 18th [founders.archives.gov]
Foreshadowing of The Big Lie, 2020. —
When a Stalin or a Hitler can predict the future because he has the power to make his predictions come true, the life of the average man becomes unpredictable. ~Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, 1973
Classic Orwell. —
We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories.... we control the past... Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. ~George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949 [He was only off by 32–36 years, in America at least. —tg]
Election 2016. —
I have come here today not to talk about the past but to focus on the future. That future will be shaped more by what happens on November 8th in voting booths across our nation than by any other event in the world. ~Bernie Sanders, July 2016
Future of the Republican Party. —
As long as Americans remain susceptible to easily provoked fears — of losing their jobs to immigrants, their kids to perverts, their lives to terrorists — and as long as there are wealthy corporations and religious control freaks eager to exploit them — the Republican Party and its allies have a bright future. ~Ted Rall, "The Right Stuff: Conservatism is dead. Long live fictional conservatism!", 2007
Future of America. —
Perhaps America will one day go fascist democratically, by popular vote. ~William L. Shirer, 1969
The Dying of Truth. —
Let no one deceive you in any way, for it will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness (the son of destruction) is revealed. He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship... The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of power, sign, and false wonder, and with every wicked deception directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them. For this reason, God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie, in order that judgment will come upon all who have disbelieved the truth and delighted in wickedness. ~The Berean Bible, Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, 3–4 and 9–12
Supreme Court & the American Future. —
That's right, people. Trump's nominee to replace RBG [Amy Coney Barrett] could help overturn Roe v. Wade, kill Obamacare, and expand gun rights. So that means someday in the future a fetus can shoot you and you won't have insurance to pay the hospital bills... ~Trevor Noah, @thedailyshow, Instagram video, 2020 September 29th
In our day... The employer paid as little as he could, and the worker got as much. It was not a pretty system ethically, I admit... ~Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward, 1888 ["Our day" was 1887 Boston, but by Bellamy's fictional year 2000 the minimum wage and living wage issues had been fully resolved in America. —tg]
I dunno. I just find it hard to discuss the Affordable Care Act with people who think it's one of the prophecies of Nostradamus. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com, 2013 [the ACA, or as it is widely known, "Obamacare" —tg]
Medical History & Future. —
A Short History of Medicine:
2000 B.C. – "Here, eat this root."
1000 B.C. – "That root is heathen, say this prayer."
1850 A.D. – "That prayer is superstition, drink this potion."
1940 A.D. – "That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill."
1985 A.D. – "That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic."
2000 A.D. – "That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root."
Nutrition as Medicine. —
The medicine of the future will know but few drugs... It will concern itself with the production and preparation of food, rather than the production and preparation of drugs, because it knows that its only permanent results in the direction of improving health will be won by the former instead of by the latter. The kitchen is the best laboratory, and the doctor of the future may even take rank with the cook as a public benefactor. The medical colleges of 2014 will teach the botany, geographical source, and methods of production and preparation of foods as carefully as they now do those of drugs. ~Woods Hutchinson, M.D. (1862–1930), "The Dawn of the New Doctor," Civilization and Health, 1914 [Well, we can confidently say that this didn't happen, not in America anyway. —tg]
Health Education. —
The doctor of the year 2014 will work shoulder to shoulder with the teacher. He will see to it that education shall train and develop the whole child, instead of just the expanded bulb at the top of him, leaving the rest of him to shift for itself in the intervals that remain. The new medicine will make schooling a thing of the open air instead of stuffy rooms, of fields and gardens instead of printed pages, of deeds instead of words... Perhaps by 2014 teachers may recognize that it is as important for a child to correctly bound and describe his liver as the countries of Europe, or the States of the Union, and to know at least as much of his own interior as he does of that of Hindustan. Education for life will include a sound, working knowledge of the body machine that he has to live and work with; of what food fuels will best and most economically supply it with energy; how its bearings are to be watched and its gears regulated; and how to make roadside repairs. ~Woods Hutchinson, M.D. (1862–1930), "The Dawn of the New Doctor," Civilization and Health, 1914 [Fail. —tg]
Devolution. The Death of Creation Science. —
We are now one hundred years in the future, — January 1, 1982. Evolution has not been overlooked as a theory explaining the origin of man and linking all the processes of nature into one complete unity. The missing links have been so frequently found that no one even doubts the truth of the scientific explanation of species and genus, and especially of the genus homo. But very strangely the truth of the evolution theory has become confirmed quite as stoutly by the lapsing of man toward the animal. Humans have been found that are rapidly retrograding... in mental characteristics toward the ancestral anthropoid types... ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "New Year in 1982," Liberty and Life: Discourses by E. P. Powell, 1889 [a little altered —tg]
Divination by Wind. —
Over our manhood bend the skies;
Against our fallen and traitor lives
The great winds utter prophecies;
With our faint hearts the mountain strives,
Its arms outstretched, the druid wood
Waits with its benedicite
And to our age's drowsy blood
Still shouts the inspiring sea.
~James Russell Lowell, The Vision of Sir Launfal, 1848
Horoscope Humor. —
Horoscope, Aquarius — Check the kitchen drawer. Your coupons have expired. ~Richard Thompson, Richard's Poor Almanac, 2021 March 23rd
Horoscope Humor. —
Horoscope, Sagittarius — The "Mr. Ed" theme song sticks in your head all day, starting right now. ~Richard Thompson, Richard's Poor Almanac, 2021 March 23rd
Horoscope Humor. —
Your horoscope for today: Quick, go hide under the bed!… I'll explain later! ~Tom Wilson II, Ziggy, 2013 February 11th
While in college master computers, modems, fax machines and E-mail. It is how most of us will get to work in the future. ~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book, 1995, collegiate-empowerment.org
Sherlock Holmes on Prediction via Statistics. —
'Dirty-looking rascals, but I suppose every one has some little immortal spark concealed about him. You would not think it, to look at them. There is no a priori probability about it. A strange enigma is man!'
'Someone calls him a soul concealed in an animal,' I suggested.
'Winwood Reade is good upon the subject,' said Holmes. 'He remarks that, while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man will do, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant. So says the statistician...' ~A. Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four, 1890
Universal Brotherhood & World Peace. —
Mr. Gilbert: “Troublesome happenings seem to be prevalent among us, and the moralist is many times unable to account for them... Thoughts regarding the welfare of our people have forced themselves upon me of late... The thought comes to me that the days of all creeds and society beliefs are numbered; that faiths given out by men and women will be replace by Universal Brotherhood attainment. Is the world indeed to witness so great a change as this?”
Zelma: “Yes, in time, and the hour is surely approaching. The spirit of individual freedom hath already entered the hearts of thy loyal brethren in every sect that exists. Dependence upon faiths established by persons will never do for the coming century. Every soul must become a creed unto itself, a follower of no man or woman, and a seeker after God alone. Thy ready wit will tell thee that such unqualified uprightness of thy people will readily pave the way for the Universal Brotherhood — a brotherhood which will ask of no member to name his or her belief, for faiths given out in words shall have little meaning in the ears of the coming race. As the trees are different, so is each member of the human family different. Attempt to bring two separate souls to see alike and there is conflict. Yield to them an unqualified freedom, and all words, rituals and precepts become as vague remembrances. Then only will each soul have found its oneness. When every wayfarer of earth shall stand upright, there will be no need of leanings this way nor that. All will be one because all will be separate, and there shall come a lasting peace unto man. This shall be the freedom thy people have so long been struggling for.” ~Alwyn M. Thurber, “A Soul to Soul Conference,” Zelma, the Mystic, 1897 [a little altered —tg]
World Peace. —
Much human progress will have been made from 1882 to 1982. The league of the nations will form early in the twentieth century... and peace will be maintained as a mutual interest with no standing armies whatever. An International Conference will exist... a sort of court, without power to enact laws, but an arbiter between nations... It will be bound in its decisions by "The Constitution of United Humanity," which will become the common law of the whole world. ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "New Year in 1982," Liberty and Life: Discourses by E. P. Powell, 1889 [a little altered —tg]
Fortune Cookies. —
Who needs astrology? The wise man gets by on fortune cookies. ~Edward Abbey
Shelley's Poetic Prophecy. —
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth;
And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ode to the West Wind," 1819
Animal Rights. —
Henry S. Salt declares not only that human beings have rights. He declares that animals also have rights. That it is not the vivisector alone who has rights. Not the meat-eater alone. That the vivisected and the meat-eaten also have rights. I was going to say Salt was ahead of his time. That is a mistake. He is ahead of your time. ~Horace Traubel (1858–1919), "Animals' rights," in The Conservator, 1906
Shakespeare Soothsayer Scene. —
Charmian. Good sir, give me good fortune.
Soothsayer. I make not, but foresee.
Charmian. Pray, then, foresee me one.
Soothsayer. You shall be yet far fairer than you are.
Charmian. He means in flesh.
Iras. No, you shall paint when you are old.
Charmian. Wrinkles forbid!
Alexas. Vex not his prescience; be attentive.
Soothsayer. You shall be more beloving than beloved.
Charmian. I had rather heat my liver with drinking.
Alexas. Nay, hear him.
Charmian. Good now, some excellent fortune! Let me be married
to three kings in a forenoon, and widow them all:
let me have a child at fifty, to whom Herod of Jewry
may do homage: find me to marry me with Octavius
Caesar, and companion me with my mistress.
Soothsayer. You shall outlive the lady whom you serve.
Charmian. O excellent! I love long life better than figs.
Soothsayer. You have seen and proved a fairer former fortune
Than that which is to approach.
Charmian. Then belike my children shall have no names:
prithee, how many boys and wenches must I have?
Soothsayer. If every of your wishes had a womb.
And fertile every wish, a million.
Charmian. Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.
Alexas. You think none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.
Charmian. Nay, come, tell Iras hers.
Alexas. We'll know all our fortunes.
Domitius Enobarus. Mine, and most of our fortunes, to-night, shall
be—drunk to bed.
Iras. There's a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.
Charmian. E'en as the o'erflowing Nilus presageth famine.
Iras. Go, you wild bedfellow, you cannot soothsay.
Charmian. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful
prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear. Prithee,
tell her but a worky-day fortune.
Soothsayer. Your fortunes are alike.
Iras. But how, but how? give me particulars.
Soothsayer. I have said.
Iras. Am I not an inch of fortune better than she?
Charmian. Well, if you were but an inch of fortune better than
I, where would you choose it?
Iras. Not in my husband's nose.
Charmian. Our worser thoughts heavens mend! Alexas,—come,
his fortune, his fortune! O, let him marry a woman
that cannot go, sweet Isis, I beseech thee! and let
her die too, and give him a worse! and let worst
follow worse, till the worst of all follow him
laughing to his grave, fifty-fold a cuckold! Good
Isis, hear me this prayer, though thou deny me a
matter of more weight; good Isis, I beseech thee!
Iras. Amen. Dear goddess, hear that prayer of the people!
for, as it is a heartbreaking to see a handsome man
loose-wived, so it is a deadly sorrow to behold a
foul knave uncuckolded: therefore, dear Isis, keep
decorum, and fortune him accordingly!
~William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, c. 1606 [I, 2] [Hear my soul speak. Doubt that the stars are fire, but never doubt that George Mason University's OpenSourceShakespeare.org is the best! —tg]
Improvement of the Condition of Mankind. —
Prologue. A.D. 1900–1920. Young George Claude Sonsius had finished university and appeared to have before him a fair, prosperous future; but due to the failure of large banking company, the death of his parents, then and at age twenty-eight a serious accident requiring two years' recovery and rendering him incapable of using his right hand, he had lost his job. During the next several years the life of he, his wife, and their twelve-year-old crippled son, had been one continual struggle with ever-increasing want and penury.
They dwelt in the miserable attic of a most dilapidated house in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of London, without a sound roof and with no furniture except one horsehair mattress. For thirty hours they had been without food, when George, maddened by the moanings of his wife and child, stole a loaf of bread from the baker's shop. The proprietor caught him and took the administration of justice into his own hands by dealing the unhappy man two severe blows in the face. To a healthy person the punishment would have done comparatively little harm, but he was so weakened by disease and starvation that the shock of the blows was too much. He died on the pavement in front of the shop.
Scores of people remembered the pleasant-mannered young man and pitied the horrible condition and desperation that drove him to the one lapse from an otherwise stainless life. What a frightful contrast between the hidden poverty and the gorgeous wealth of the great London metropolis! Had not, it was asked, every human the right to demand from a world which through the resources of the experience and science became constantly more productive a sufficiency of sustenance?
The inquest was short. A butcher and shopkeeper on the jury insisted that the baker not be made responsible for George's death, else how would poor tradesmen protect themselves? Some jurors desired a verdict of manslaughter. It wasn't long before the compromise of "Death by accident" was agreed to. That same night a large crowd of men and women assembled outside the baker's shop with hostile demonstrations. A serious riot may have ensued but for the arrival of a large body of police.
Again the fate of George Sonsius became the familiar topic of the press. The fierce spirit of discontent which for years had been smouldering burst into flames. A secret society called "Live and Let Live" was formed, with ramifications throughout the world. A bold and outspoken declaration was made that every human being had an inherent right to sufficient food and clothing and comfortable lodging. Truly poor George Sonsius died for the good of many millions of his fellow creatures...
The Year 2000 — United Britain. Many years have passed, with great changes and much progress; thus, the well-being of humankind has vastly increased. Long since a general recognition was given to the theory that, whilst equality of possession was an impossible and indeed undesirable ideal, there should be a minimum of enjoyment of which no human being should be deprived. Crime as an occupation has become unknown. ~Julius Vogel, Anno Domini 2000, 1889 [abridged —tg]
Life's Unpredictability. —
Mindfulness meditation doesn't change life. Life remains as fragile and unpredictable as ever. Meditation changes the heart's capacity to accept life as it is. ~Sylvia Boorstein, unverified
Governmental & Political Efficiency. —
By the year 1982, Congress will meet but once in ten years. Other legislative bodies will meet but once in five years. Congress and legislatures will not be permitted to remain in session over one month. All time wasted in deadlocks and factional struggles will be charged to the factionists at the rate of four times the pay they would receive if about the public business. ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "New Year in 1982," Liberty and Life: Discourses by E. P. Powell, 1889 [ROTFLMAO. Text a little altered. —tg]
Future of America. —
When the smoke of countless factories shall darken the air in districts where the primeval forest yet stands, will the United States be able to solve the great problems of government which have puzzled sages and philosophers, kings and statesmen, students and men of business since the world began? And will they secure, as they grow older and more thickly peopled, that which all governments profess to desire — the greatest happiness of the greatest number? Or will the increase of population lead to difficulties? And will those difficulties — aided by time and aggravated by circumstances — become so irreconcilable as to dissever the glorious fabric of America? Beware the deluge that is to burst over their earth in a hundred years...
But the real dangers of the Union do not spring from the inelasticity of the Constitution or from the quarrels of the North and South, or from any domestic question likely to arise, so much as they do from lust of territory on the one part, and from political and social corruption on the other. The greatest danger is the growth of corruption, and the decay of public virtue. A republic is, theoretically, the purest and most perfect form of government, but it requires eminently pure men to work it.
In the memorable words of President James Buchanan: "In the last age, although our fathers, like ourselves, were divided into political parties which often had severe conflicts with each other, yet we never heard until within a recent period of the employment of money to carry elections. Should this practice increase until the voters and their representatives in the state and national Legislatures shall become infected, the fountain of free government will be poisoned at its source... A democratic republic, all agree, can not long survive unless sustained by public virtue. When this is corrupted, and the people become venal, there is a canker at the root of the tree of liberty which will cause it to wither and to die." ~Charles Mackay, "The Future of the United States," Life and Liberty in America, 1859 [altered —tg]
Future of America. —
The United States of America may be but the first step in a great progression, of which the next may be the "United Republics of America." Why not? Is not the prospective unwieldiness of the Union a reason why it may be expected to break up into compartments a little more manageable, and resolve itself into at least three or four federations instead of one? A binary, trinary, or quadrinary system of republics? The time may come when the New England States may seek to effect a legislative union with Canada; when New York and the Middle and Western States may form another constellation of republics; and when the South may defy the North; and when California and the other commonwealths on the Pacific sea-board, from mere considerations of distance and locality, may set up in business for themselves. ~Charles Mackay, "The Future of the United States," Life and Liberty in America, 1859 [altered —tg]
The Age of Peace. —
Here in 1882 we are in the age of civilization. One hundred years hence, by 1982, we will be in the age of enlightenment. We will then have only to anticipate one more age, that of pure reason, which will also be the era of unbroken peace. ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "New Year in 1982," Liberty and Life: Discourses by E. P. Powell, 1889 [a little altered —tg]
Last saved 2021 Sep 27 Mon 22:47 PDT