Lately, with all that is going on in the world, ancient prophecies are again becoming a big topic. The new so-called “signs” have swayed some of those people who previously didn’t believe to start believing and fearing we are doomed.
In some previous posts, I have discussed how believing in prophecies is a bad thing and how this can actually create self-fulfilling conundrums of bad things. This time, I would like to run by you a few more thoughts. Regardless of what you think about prophecies, please stick with me, as this can come in handy in your daily routine.
So, prophecies are expectations, in the same way mothers would expect certain behaviours from their babies.
Mothers express what they expect will happen from their previous knowledge, and babies usually do what babies do. Imagine a mother thinking about all the things she needs to do, in order to take care of the baby: if she leaves the baby alone on her own, she expects that, at some point, that will result in the baby making a mess with food, soiling the diapers, or similar. Realizing this mess, mommy knows what she needs to do, but she is still unhappy with the extra work. This cycle repeats until a certain moment, when the baby’s brain starts picking up the mother’s vibes. Wishing to please mother, the baby learns. First reason for learning is conquest for pleasure and the other long term survival. Baby changes behaviour, in order to please mother, either forced by the punishment of frowning looks or by the mother’s reward of excessive smiles when the baby learned to poop in the potty. So, in a way, the baby learned to be an adult, taking responsibility for oneself.
So, despite the mother’s expectation, the baby changed behaviour, and, mother reacted with surprise and delight.
In the same way, we can look at prophecies as expressions of parents’ expectations. Imagine a voice saying, “I expect you will screw up, but you are there to show me how tough you are and whether you are capable of changing your ways”—like it is saying, “I know what you’ve done before, so try to surprise me this time.”
For Christians among the readers, there is a verse (1 Corinthians 13:11) in a song of love, which says:
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
Now, Jane Elliott, known for her "Blue eyes–Brown eyes" exercise, did a psychology experiment, which showed the effect of negative conditioning: that, when people are expected to fail, they are more likely to. This looks like directly contradicting all my above statements, but it doesn’t: bad things that could happen (“prophecies”) are more like premature biofeedback. It’s like the “Mind the gap” sign in a train: it gives us messages about what we need to pay attention to.
Those signs are not manual instructions on what we should do, but what we need to be careful about.
Once we realise that expectations (prophecy) exist, newly-gained knowledge can help us to learn, grow, adjust, and change our behaviour and therefore overcome expected outcomes.
It is very similar with all other things in life. Once we switch from “me” mode, thinking only about our personal needs, we can start thinking and caring about others.
I am not talking about human relationships only; there is a vast pool of other living beings out there—things we are completely dependent on and that are dependent on us.
When the Pope said that scientists are right about climate change, he was basically conveying the same message: “Wake up, take responsibility, and stop behaving like a child. We can fix things while there is still time!”
We can solve any issue, but it is necessary to grow up and take responsibility for our actions.
When we start thinking about every living creature like part of our own family, taking the role of caring for those who cannot care for themselves, things will change.
So, when God allegedly said we will destroy ourselves in the fire, an event very much resembling global warming or nuclear war, maybe God just set its expectations very low, just as the mother expects from the baby.
By ceasing to be babies, we will change the prophecies.
Prophecies are not set in stone.
They are expectations.
It is on us to prove we can do better.