There was a Buzzfeed quiz circling around the internet that would, after asking a series of deeply personal questions involving passions, pet peeves, and sleep patterns, deduce, with little margin for error, the definitive type of pizza topping that described you. The pizza toppings range from cheese, the blandest, to more obscure combinations like pineapple and sun-dried tomatoes, and all came as the result of a well-ordered system of yes or no questions.
Without Buzzfeed’s structure, we already tribalize ourselves with personality designating devices like astrology, cartomancy, and any other number of bogus ancient traditions passed down from the Egyptians, the Romani, the Druids, and so on. These traditions have been a foundational in new age medicine and crystal healing, but have almost always existed for the express purpose of, through personality classification, precognition.
We have an immense societal reliance on our ability to forecast. We predict, with varying degrees of success, the weather, the economy, the elections, and the sports championships. We predict grade point averages and population growth and production numbers for widgets. These easiest prognostications, where variables can be calculated, where subjects can be isolated, where controls can be placed, indulge our addiction to clairvoyance until we inevitably become our own Cassandra, overdosed on foreknowledge and crippled by inability. If ever we reached such a point, humanity would have no choice but to give up while ahead, now imprisoned in fatalistic determinism, where choice, independence, and free will have degraded into a meaningless series of binary decisions based on birth month, eye color, and pizza toppings.
I have a suggestion. For the illusion of free will to persist, and for the sake of humanity it must, I suggest, in the prediction of the future, we should do our best to lie like hell. Lying comes naturally to us. We lie about things we forget, things we remember, things we love, things we hate, and things we feel generally ambivalent about. We lie to our parents, our siblings, our friends, our teachers, our judges and disciplinarians of every rank and social circle. We lie about everything except the future, the one thing we should be lying about most. So, to make up for lost time, we must start, and quickly, before any falsehood can be prematurely debunked by the exalted and intricate web of augurs and augury we have created, chief among which is the meteorologist. We can start with them.
Meteorologists sit at the center of our addiction. We rely on them to tell us when and where to eat, to play, to move, and to live. We rely on them to tell us what to wear, to bring, to buy, and to sell. They have deviously placed themselves in a position of necessity. With an intricate series of meteorological tests, studies, and flagrant guesswork, they build a model of the most-probable weather patterns in your area. They deliver the model through television, radio, apps, and browser extensions. Whatever the methods, I simply ask they fabricate their findings to the point of falsehood. It can be small at first, a degree or two off, or perhaps a fifty percent chance of rain instead of seventy, then a steady progression to abject deceit. If they predict ninety degrees and rainy, imagine the chaos of twenty-five degrees and snowy. If they predict drought in Texas, imagine the elation at a monsoon. They may be allowed, if only to keep the society from collapse, to tell the truth from time to time, but sparingly, and only in moments where the catastrophe of falsehood would outweigh the benefits, such as a meteor strike. After aversion of disaster, they continue as always, and if they perpetually fail to predict the weather, I anticipate an adequate apostatizing from the church of clairvoyance, perhaps enough to shake our faith in the seers of The White House, The Wall St. Journal, ESPN, and Buzzfeed as well.
I have no idea how Buzzfeed’s quiz predicts my future. I am unsure how being a “pepperoni-bacon” man will affect my tomorrow. My tomorrow may not be affected at all. Or, perhaps, tomorrow, through a series of separate conditions, quizzes, economic actors, binary factors, and the machinations of totalitarian politicians, those identified as “pepperoni-bacon” people might be singled out and executed in public for crimes against the state. Either way, I would rather remain ignorant. Knowing the future is a frightening prospect. Intentionally seeking this knowledge is an arduous, unrewarding experience. So if pursuit must be had, let it be fruitless in the best of ways; where we all believe it to be otherwise.