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Soothsayers & Doomsdayers

image of Nostradamus

In 2012 a British newspaper did a survey in the United States and the result showed that 1 in 10 adults believed the end of the world was coming in that year and 22% believed the world would end in their lifetime. That’s a lot of people believing doomsday was just around the corner. It seems to be an interesting fact of life that many Americans believe in something, well, rather odd, from a belief that unicorns exist and that the world is flat.

In 2013, it was reported in the Huffington Post that nearly 30% believed that cloud computing actually involved using clouds, no doubt also believing a thunderstorm was a crash of databases. The Post also reported that a huge 24% of people believed that in the past man co-existed with dinosaurs. How humanity quite managed to survive against Velociraptors and the like is beyond me.

If you look back through postings on the web you can see that almost every year since 2000 (and probably before) there have been predictions by Doomsdayers stating ‘the end of the world is nigh’ and that includes this year, 2017. It’s September now and so far so good, though I did have a catastrophic hard drive failure followed by a database crash that killed my old blog… maybe there was a problem with the clouds on those days!

Doomsdayers and Soothsayers are in fact as old as humanity and there have been and still are people who believe the world is flat and that our Sun is NOT at the centre of our solar system. Some people, in fact, will believe almost anything, which you would expect to make a soothsayers job a lot easier, but think again. Caesar’s famous ‘Beware the Ides of March’ told to him by an unknown soothsayer was ignored and that same day Caesar was assassinated. In the 16th century Nostradamus gave plenty of predictions, though it seems they are so hard to understand that their interpretation is, well, open to interpretation.

Though soothsayers have a bad wrap, you have to feel sorry for one Scottish soothsayer, The Brahan Seer, who perhaps unwisely predicted his employer, the Earl of Seaforth, was cheating on his wife with numerous women. Lady Seaforth either didn’t believe him or was simply a raging psychopath. She had the hapless Seer burned to death in a spiked tar barrel.

So, if you have a sudden vision of doom and gloom, take a tip from the past and keep it to yourself, after all, who’s going to believe you?

Tom Kane © 2017

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