Notices
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Why is everything so predictable in hindsight?

  1. #1 Why is everything so predictable in hindsight? 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    2,408
    I bet you all just knew I would ask a question like that!


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Scunthorpe, UK
    Posts
    10,691
    It's not.
    The phrase, and use of it, is a misuse of language in more ways than one.
    It's retrodiction (or postdiction): i.e. the wrong word.
    And it's also the fact that, given our psychology, we tend to say "Well it's obvious NOW that that's what would happen", whereas until it happened it was neither obvious nor inevitable 1.
    We accept the sequence of events and decide (or convince ourselves) that because that's what happened it's the only way it could have happened.
    And note also the paucity of people (including me I'll admit) who say it after something amazingly good happens.
    How many people turn round after the best day of their life and say "Well yeah, looking at it with 20-20 vision, it was obviously going to happen"? Nope, we give ourselves credit when we get it right and blame... what? fate? life? something (so long as it's not us) when things go wrong.

    It's a (false) "justification" for things having gone wrong.
    (Yeah, as if we wouldn't simply f*ck up in a different way if we could go back and avoid the bad decisions/ events that led to the statement. )

    1 Unless, of course, you subscribe to determinism/ predestination/ whatever.


    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    2,408
    Dywyddyr, you know I don't believe in strict determinism.
    Last edited by dan hunter; August 17th, 2014 at 02:45 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Scunthorpe, UK
    Posts
    10,691
    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Dywyddyr, you know I don't accept strict determinism.
    Neither do I.
    But you know as well as I do that if I hadn't put that caveat there some nitpicker would have raised the point.
    The "you" didn't mean you personally, it was a "you whoever is reading this".
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    4,138
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Dywyddyr, you know I don't accept strict determinism.
    Neither do I.
    But you know as well as I do that if I hadn't put that caveat there some nitpicker would have raised the point.
    The "you" didn't mean you personally, it was a "you whoever is reading this".
    It was very easy saying that with hindsight!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    2,408
    Thanks. Hopefully we can avoid the nitpicky part and people will think about the psychology of it a bit.
    I run into lots of people who think if they could somehow go back and change just one little thing in the past everything would work out like they hoped it would.
    They don't seem to recognize that you would simply be starting another chain of events and they might happen in a random or chaotic fashion. It isn't even possible to predict how much of a difference a change in the past would make in the present. Sometimes from history you get the idea that even major differences can lead to the same results.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    4,138
    This thread surprised me for it had 3 replies but zero views, yet it was discussing hindsight. No other thread had more posts than views so what was going on?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Yukon, Canada
    Posts
    4,056
    It is only in retrospect that we are able to get a broader view of the relationship of past events unto each other.

    Until an action or event has transpired, the potential outcomes remain several for there are any number of interventions that can possibly occur.

    After an event or a series of them, we can often identify 'the point of no return', that particular place beyond which the options become few or none other.

    Sometimes, I hoard the scratch tickets that hubby buys for me when he gases up his vehicle (2 x $2.00 Bingo scratches) because they are all potential winners until played.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Scunthorpe, UK
    Posts
    10,691
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    After an event or a series of them, we can often identify 'the point of no return', that particular place beyond which the options become few or none other.
    Hmm.
    Given what I wrote earlier was that "point of no return" actually such?
    Or do we rationalise it as that because what happened happened?

    I humbly 1 suggest that there are considerably fewer "points of no return" than we "like" to think.
    In the event of a nuclear war (let's give a simple everyday example) where's the point of "no return".
    When Fred stepped over the border to get a better look at the field mouse?
    When the border guard shot Fred?
    When the ambassador from Fred's country made a formal complaint?
    When the ambassador from the guard's country said (diplomatically) "stick it"?
    When the first tanks rolled across the border?
    When the defence minister panicked and ordered massive retaliation?
    Or when the electrical circuit on the Big Red Button closed and actually launched the missiles?

    At all stages (until the electricity flowed) there were options: if only someone had considered and explored 2.

    1 Not really humbly, this IS me after all.
    2 Unless a quick phone call and "Sorry, we didn't mean it" helps...
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Yukon, Canada
    Posts
    4,056
    The reason it is called 'hindsight' speaks to the perspective of the one doing the viewing, and 'the point of no return' will be different for each person and each situation, in my opinion.

    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Forum Masters Degree DianeG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    504
    I think it's because in hindsight you are only tracing one path in a particular chain of events. But beforehand, or in the thick of it, it is more like a web of paths that could go off in any number of directions. For example, in hindsight, it may seem that officials should have been able to predict a disaster or an attack, given the red flags or warnings, but only if you ignore the hundreds of other similar warnings/threats/irregularities that were also occurring, or occurred in the past, which didn't amount to anything.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Forum Masters Degree Implicate Order's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    27.4679 S, 153.0278 E
    Posts
    610
    With the benefit of hindsight as DianeG et al has mentioned, you can trace a single causal path. For example I can pick a stock chart of the last year or so and clearly outline where I would have made money......but at our point on the moving now or at the last bar on the chart any future is uncertain thanks to complexity theory and deeper down to HUP. Heisenberg must have worked in a casino.
    Last edited by Implicate Order; August 21st, 2014 at 09:46 PM.
    Quidquid latine dictum, altum videtur
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •