Thinking backward vs. thinking forward

Posted by on Apr 23, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments


Nice piece today in the Guardian to link to (that's like cut-out-and-keep for today, isn't it?) about the origins of the Star Trek phenomenon

A really useful reminder of the limits of our individual cognitive abilities: how unequal our backward and forward thinking is.

Looking back at the rise of something successful like Star Trek), it's hard to imagine that anyone ever thought it might not turn out that way: who were those fools who cancelled the original series….? (of course, we don't think about all the things that failed…)

Looking forward, though, is much harder: which cultural phenomena will turn out to be this successful?
How can you tell? The bones, the flight of birds, numerology, some feature of the thing like it's stickiness?

Now, it'd be great if we did have that kind of power but the truth is we don't: we just like to imagine we're good at prediction or that some of us have a gift.

All too easily our poor distorted minds deceive us – about probability and chance and our abilities as agents or diviners.