Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Predictions or Premonitions

Nearly everyday we hear of someone making a prediction of what the weather will be like or whether the stock market will fall or rise, these are based upon the naturally occuring cycles which these two categories follow. But what about when someone predicts the end of the world, or has a premonition that the Jets will win the superbowl?

Are these merely made up or is there some way to determine what will happen in the future?

A prediction is a statement about the way things will happen in the future, often but not always based on experience or knowledge. While there is much overlap between prediction and forecast, a prediction may be a statement that some outcome is expected, while a forecast may cover a range of possible outcomes.

Although guaranteed information about the information is in many cases impossible, prediction is necessary to allow plans to be made about possible developments; Howard H. Stevenson writes that prediction in business "... is at least two things: Important and hard."
Prediction is closely related to uncertainty.

Premonition is a type of prophecy consisting of a warning of a future event. The phenomenon is characterized by such sensations as anxiety, uneasiness, a vague feeling of disquiet suggesting impending disaster to actual visual or auditory hallucinations. Premonition is sometimes referred to as a "gut-level" feeling. The sensation tends to occur prior to disasters, accidents, deaths and other traumatic and emotionally charged events.

The sensation of premonition may be considered precognition at times because there is no clear-cut line between them. However, generally premonitions are sense-oriented, dominated by a syndrome of physical uneasiness, depression, or distress that is without discernible source or reason. It is an unexplainable feeling that "something is going to happen." Precognition, on the other hand, is more precise, involving visions or dream of the event that is to occur in the future.

The functioning of premonitions is not exactly known, that is, why some people possess them while others do not. One theory is that some people are more open or prone to psychic suggestion. A cause for the diminishing of this psychic ability in people is that a larger portion of the population has become less intuitive. With the advancement of the scientific age people have began to rely less on their sensations; it is just in recent years that science is investigating the importance of human intuition and sensation.

Stevenson, Howard, ed. Do lunch or be lunch. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1998

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