Blog Entry

NOSTRADAMUS OR ORWELL: BETTER VIEW OF THE FUTURE?

Posted on: July 27, 2008 6:37 am
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Many people consider Nostradamus as the greatest predictor of future events in the last 500 years. His quatrains are famous and very popular in today's culture. I prefer to believe that George Orwell had a more accurate vision of the future, particularly in his book 1984.  This book was requisite reading in my High School days of the late 60s and early 70s. Orwell's predictions of Big Brother and constant video monitoring are eerily real in today's world. I recently dropped my wallet while leaving the local grocery store one morning after taking my kids to school. I realized within five minutes of driving that I had lost my wallet and returned to the supermarket where it had happened. They were able to replay their video monitors both inside the store and out into the parking lot and show me how I had tucked my shirt into my pants pocket along with my wallet and how my shirt had pulled my wallet out when I had sat down in my van. They also showed the young lady who worked in a business right next to them arriving about one minute after I left and picking up my wallet. She had carried it into her place of employment and was trying to find my name in the phone book to contact me. This is both comforting and disturbing to me. On the one hand, I was able to recover my wallet and its contents quickly and safely. On the other, hand, I feel like my privacy has been invaded as I was constantly surveiled while doing the rather innocent act of grocery shopping. Our media, which is supposed to be unbiased and keep us informed has become a branch of propaganda picking and choosing what facts to report only as they fit the message they are trying to convey. Probably the uncovering of the Watergate break-in was the last true real reporting for the benefit of the American public.  Now we are fed stories to justify our needs to invade foreign countries, manufactured numbers to deny that we are in an economic recession, and political rhetoric that is meant to confuse rather than clarify our leaders true motives.

Much is made of the predictions of Nostradamus' Quatrains. They are very long and obscure passages that are the subjects of interpretations of facts after they happen. Despite their existence for 500 years and vast studies, they have never been used to accurately predict a catastrophe or event in time to prevent it. It is only when looking back and using liberal interpretations that there seems to be any validity to his predictions.

I will provide links to several sites on both Orwell and Nostradamus for those wishing to look for themselves at the different sides of this debate. I have used these sites fro my own research, although I confess that much of what I feel about Orwell goes back to my studies of him in High School and Political Science classes in college.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nostradamus
www.skepdic.com/nostrada.html
www.evangelicaloutreach.org/nostrad
amus.htm

www.nostradamus.org/

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Orwell

www.george-orwell.org/
www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figu
res/orwell_george.shtml

www.k-1.com/Orwell/
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Comments

Since: Nov 3, 2007
Posted on: August 22, 2008 5:12 pm
 

NOSTRADAMUS OR ORWELL: BETTER VIEW OF THE FUTURE?

I will go with the Mayans. Those guys were predicting eclipses thousands of years in the future. Their calendar ended on December 21, 2012 so don't make any long term plans.lol.



Since: Aug 13, 2007
Posted on: August 11, 2008 6:38 pm
 

NOSTRADAMUS OR ORWELL: BETTER VIEW OF THE FUTURE?

To predict the future through visions or some supernatural phenomenon is saying that predestiny is reality. I don't buy that. I completely agree with that. And sometimes that prediction becomes a self fulfilling prophecy which is why the christian right scares me so much. If you believe in the apocolypse, then why not be the one that brings it about. Some think that the earth is destined to be destroyed and if it is why wait. I think that some religious people feel this way and that is scary because I don't.



Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: August 3, 2008 3:30 pm
 

NOSTRADAMUS OR ORWELL: BETTER VIEW OF THE FUTURE?

What we cannot do is control what others do, specifically those in power, and that it what scares me about the future. Freedom of choice is a double edged sword.

An old joke...if everyone just thought like me, the world would be a perfect place.


Thanks for the post, BRICK. I particularly like your comments that I highlighted above. I guess that as an existentialist, I find it hard to believe how many people really believe in predestination and various ologies. I agree can that best we can do as individuals is put ourselves in the best position for success instead of spending all our time looking back for excuses for bad decisions.




Since: Jun 12, 2007
Posted on: August 1, 2008 5:58 am
 

NOSTRADAMUS OR ORWELL: BETTER VIEW OF THE FUTURE?

I believe there is a separation between a view of what the future may hold and predicting the future. Great minds can objectively look at a general picture of the current state of affairs they live / lived in and come to a fairly logical conclusion of what may be on the future's horizon. To predict the future through visions or some supernatural phenomenon is saying that predestiny is reality. I don't buy that. I think we sometimes get caught up in to thinking that we are not masters of our own destiny but I truely believe as individuals we can't make things happen but we can do the things in life that lead to better opportunities to succeed. What we cannot do is control what others do, specifically those in power, and that it what scares me about the future. Freedom of choice is a double edged sword.

An old joke...if everyone just thought like me, the world would be a perfect place.




Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: July 31, 2008 9:59 pm
 

NOSTRADAMUS OR ORWELL: BETTER VIEW OF THE FUTURE?

Both Cubbuffan and DF, I agree with both of you much more than my response may have indicated.  The term that concerns me the most regarding politics and religious beliefs is THEOCRACY. This is what I think you are getting at DF. Iran in particular is a country which is a theocracy and the most extreme proponents of their faith have been the ones who have risen to power and now dictate policy. The same thing is basically what happened with Nazi Germany, only instead of  honoring a pre-established religion, Hitler and the state of Germany was elevated to Godlike proportions. Sadly, outside of the few successful democracies that have developed and prospered in the last few centuries, most kings and emperors ruled by divine right. The current world political situation have led to deep divides between countries and even between political factions in America. Nobody seems very concerned with reaching a rational solution to the monumental problems that exist. Instead, each proponent of a particular view is more concerned with forcing their views on everybody else. One of my biggest concerned with these faith based political idealists is that having faith by definition means believing that you are correct regardless of factual data to the contrary. I really started this blog to commentate as much on the fact that we, as a people in a "democratic republic" are only given the facts that support the agenda of the administration and that we are indeed under almost constant video surveilence anytime we are out in public. I was really amazed at just how closely my grocery shopping trip had recorded at 8AM at a Kroger store. I know people who have received traffic citations from being filmed by hidden cameras. The passing of the Patriot Act is one of the scariest pieces of legislation that I have ever seen. It gives a government I have no trust in the right to invade my personal life on whatever level they deem appropriate. And I am a white, middle aged, christian male who has no police record at all outside of a couple of minor traffic violations. But I fear that my criticism of the present administration if I really expressed just how I felt about it would be sufficient to get me put on some list. I grew up as a Viet Nam war protester and certainly fitted a profile and appearance that would have made me an ENEMY OF THE STATE by the standards that are applied by the people in charge of America today, who I certainly would never define as moderates. America was founded as a refuge from religious and political prosecution for your personal beliefs, but I am sad that I don't feel that is the America I live in today.



Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: July 31, 2008 11:18 am
 

NOSTRADAMUS OR ORWELL: BETTER VIEW OF THE FUTURE?

-No worries, Fan66!  Great blog!

-With respect to Islam (and Muslims), I'll be the first to agree with you that it isn't fair to paint everyone with the same brush-  there are many aspects of Islam that are and were quite laudable.  For example, while Christianity was (and still is in a number of ways) threatened by new knowledge (look at what happened with Galileo-  Copernicus didn't didn't want his ideas to be published until after his death). Islam (at least in it's "golden age"), actively pursued it, and actually preserved many of the texts and writings (of ancient Greeks and Romans) that helped pave the way for the Renaissance in Europe.  However, at this point, it seems to be the extremmists who are setting the agenda.  Where is the voice of the "moderates"?  Particularly in the Middle East?  Why are they not actively protesting the the actions of the extremists?  It may well be because they fear 1) reprisal, and 2) being viewed as somehow not being a "real Muslim" if they do.  In any case, it seems, as I said, that the fundemtalist/extremists have in many ways co-opted the voice of Islam, and that is very worrisome to me.  Muslims in the Middle East have numerous beefs with the West.  For example, are very many people even aware of the Crusades and what they were about?   Probably not, but going on a thousand years later, they are still a sore point with many middle east Muslims.  The creation of Israel is obviously a very sore spot, and many Weatern values are seen by many Muslims as "depraved", and "inspired by Satan" (or "Iblis", as they call it)...  I've met some Muslims in my old line of work at home who are very polite and considerate people, but they tend to be overshadowed by the actions of folks who protested those European cartoons of the "prophet"....  
Free speech has it's limits, I guess....

-With respect to all Japanese being "kamakaze" pilots, of course it s not true.  But Japanese devotion to honor and duty, in all levels of society, was, in fact, strict to a point very alien to the Western mind until fairly recently.  Until about 150 years ago, it meant honor to the point of death, particularly for the samurai, who would disembowel themselves quite willingly to preserve it.  It was a very old Japanese cultural trait that persisted with the "kamakaze", and redirected itself into devotion to one's company that they worked for, and a "first train, last train" work ethic.  It is weakening somewhat now, but Japanese society remains very competative and stratified, so it will persist, I expect, for a while yet..


DaFan-I loved your post. In fact I thought that maybe I wrote it. The only thing I would change is Islam to Organized Religion. I understand that religion has a great effect on some people. It gives them hope to believe. Some use it to give them strength, so I don't begrudge people who are religious. But I also think that religion is the cause of a lot of ills in the world. I feel that using religion to preach hate for another religion is an oxymoron at best.


-Hey cubufffan!  While Islam is the religion that worries me most at this point, I would change it perhaps from "organized religion" to "theistic religions".  They're the ones that preach a god (or gods) with particular traits that were "revealed" by certain "chosen" individuals (aka "prophets"), and who feel that their view is is not just the only correct one, but "divinely sanctioned", to boot-  there is no questioning it, since there is no questioning "god(s) divine wisdom".  You need only take a long look at history to realize just how dangerous that kind of thinking can be...

-DF

 




Since: Aug 13, 2007
Posted on: July 29, 2008 3:49 pm
 

NOSTRADAMUS OR ORWELL: BETTER VIEW OF THE FUTURE?

Great Blog Fansince66. I think Nostradamus is a little over-hyped a lot of his "predictions" are a stretch with a lot of poetic license given by the interpreters, such as the belief that he predicted Hitler. While I think Orwell is spot on with his view of a government gone wild. I see a lot of parallels. In 1984 policy was a slogan, nowadays it is a sound bite. Nobody has time (apparently) to delve into the meat of an issue, so all they understand is the soundbite. Fake patriotism and jingoism is rampant in this country, people feel that if they slap a bumper sticker on saying they support the troops that they don't really have to do anything else. It doesn't seem to be much of a stretch to see Americans lined up infront of the TV every day going thru the patriotism indoctrination. And then there is the state of never ending war which helps keep people vested in fake patriotism. The enemy doesn't matter as much as the fact that we unite to beat the dreaded hun.

DaFan-I loved your post. In fact I thought that maybe I wrote it. The only thing I would change is Islam to Organized Religion. I understand that religion has a great effect on some people. It gives them hope to believe. Some use it to give them strength, so I don't begrudge people who are religious. But I also think that religion is the cause of a lot of ills in the world. I feel that using religion to preach hate for another religion is an oxymoron at best. I also feel that all religions have extreme views on life. I don't understand the mentality that lets people believe totally that their belief system that can't be proved is better than someone else's belief system that can't be proved.




Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: July 27, 2008 11:04 pm
 

NOSTRADAMUS OR ORWELL: BETTER VIEW OF THE FUTURE?

Thank you for a very well worded and thought out post DF. Nostradamus is like a rock star in todays culture, but I consider him no more of a reliable source for predicting the future than Brittany Spears. Actually, her behavior is very predictable without the need for hindsight and interpretation. Your assessment of corporations being given rights that should be reserved for individuals is dead on. There can be no question where a corporations priorities lie when it comes to profits VS personal liberties. I wished that my government was as kind to me as it is to Haliburton or BP. I understand the tenants of trickle down economics, but there has to be a degree of integrity or honesty for this practice to actually work. Otherwise, large corporations just take advantage of the leniencies they receive to generate ever larger profit margins. These are recycled into supporting candidates that will enable them to continue their practice of making record breaking profits.


Your comments on the environment are equally accurate. Oil companies are not going to come up with an energy solution that puts them out of business. The infrastructure of automakers and oil companies is so powerful and intertwined that they cannot be trusted to put our best interests ahead of their bottom lines. Exploring for more oil reserves in ever increasing harsh or fragile environments is not going to stop the carbon imprint we are making on our environment. We need to find an alternative fuel that is less destructive to our planet, not more oil to make gas temporarily cheaper. And temporarily is all we can hope for. We are burning fossil fuels at daily rates that took millions of tears to create. No matter how much we explore, we will eventually run out of this finite resource. But who can we trust to offer an alternative as long as we continue to pour ever increasing amounts of money into these corporate coffers? Necessity has always been the Mother Of Invention, but can we afford to keep polluting our planet until it becomes necessary to find an alternative.   BTW, Orwell acknowledges that he was indeed influenced by the writings of Aurthur Koestler, as you will see referenced in the links I provided.

Regarding your comments on Islam, I have personally known several Muslims for 10 to 20 years. They do have a different view of life from most westerners, but I hesitate to lump all of them into the catagory of extremists or terrorists. I enjoy knowing and talking with people of different cultures from my own, something I would think that you share giving your present living conditions. In WWII, it was assumed that ALL Japanese were Kamakaze's that held no value on their own personal lives and hated America. Would you say that statement is still true today or that it was even true then?  The Muslims do seem to have some very extreme views on life and religion that I don't pretend to understand even after many years of friendship with several Muslims. But I don't want to prejudge ALL of them based on the radical believes of a minority of heir population. Muslims and Christians have been warring for centuries, but it is hard to say who has initiated the most conflicts. The Christians were the aggressors in the Middle Age Crusades and the extremist Muslims have certainly been the instigators of our present hostilities. I am not defending terrorism in any form just as I don't want to defend the fighting of unnecessary wars or occupations of lands that are halfway around the world from us. These issues are far too complicated for me to offer any sensible resolutions to.

As always, it is a pleasure exchanging ideas with you DF. You are obviously a very intelligent person who thinks carefully about what you want to say and how it sounds to other parties. You seem like someone that it would be fascinating to sit down with face to face and really have a philisophical discusion with. Take care while on the other side and keep in touch. I wish that the time difference in where we live didn't limit the amount of time we have to discourse as much it does.



Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: July 27, 2008 10:20 pm
 

NOSTRADAMUS OR ORWELL: BETTER VIEW OF THE FUTURE?

Thanks for th post Hawg. The rise of technology brings both the potential for benefits and exploitation.As you allude to people now get traffic violations without ever talking to a police officer. I am a big proponent of personal civil liberties and have a real distrust for the Machinery of authority. Just on your computer, you are constantly having tracking cookies and spyware installed while innocently visiting normal websites. I fear that we may reach a point similar to the movie MINORITY REPORT where the sheer probability of committing a crime is enough for a conviction. Already, public figures are tried in the court of public opinion long before they are actually faced with a fact based trial. The ability to spin facts to support your side seems more important than actual facts, and the general population seems eager to watch these episodes with their 15 minute attention span rather than seek the truth of the mater. I have never been a big believer in the ability to predict the future and that any book or quatrain containing enough words can be found by selecting only the cryptic passages that apply in hindsight. Could there be a greater power at work trying to guide us? Certainly. Would I base my decisions on how to live my life on these, certainly not.



Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: July 27, 2008 7:19 pm
 

NOSTRADAMUS OR ORWELL: BETTER VIEW OF THE FUTURE?

Isnt this a sports website, i mean this was pretty interesting, but this cbssportsline.com

 

but it was a very good blog

good job keep it up



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