Sunday, February 21, 2010

Discovery: Between destiny and self-fulfilling prophecy.

Knowing one own's future has always been something that's awfully mysterious and intriguing that it's no stopping one to pay another, just to get a bit of foresight of what's to come. Essentially there are two sides to the coin. One - if you know what's gonna hit you, you can avoid it. Two - if you know what's gonna hit you, you'll start reacting in a way that you otherwise wouldn't have, and bang it hits you. The question then becomes, which side of the coin would your subconscious mind subscribes to? It's easy to just say 'I believe that I can avoid it' or 'I don't believe in it' but, subconsciously, do we really? What intrigues me isn't so much of what's to come. It's why do humans want to know the inevitable? Is it impatience? Or is it just 'control'? If this is destined, by any means it will happen. Then why bother? If this isn't destined, then the 'prophet' speaks no more accurately than mathematicians on the subject of probability. Then why bother?

A couple of my friends have been dabbling into this crystal ball business of late. I guess what started as simple curiosity, it got serious when they were completely awed by the accuracy of the 'speaker'. And so, I watch them one by one changing. The one that was prophesied to have no hope in this business started to actively scout for other opportunities. The one that was to be blessed with bountiful change, immediately gained confidence in every pursuit, inevitably increasing productivity. Do you see a pattern forming here? It's exactly like what we do in research. We start with a hypothesis and we form steps to either validate or discredit it. In a simple sense, the end game was already decided. Researchers consciously move towards it while the former subsconsciously fulfils the so-called 'prophesy'. It's neither good nor bad. It's just the way the human mind works. Because I'm about to come to the best part of this story.

I come from a Chinese family and obviously I celebrate Chinese New Year. And for those of you who don't already know, there are 12 animals represented in every year of a 12-year cycle. If you were born in a particular year, then you belong to a specific animal zodiac. To cut the story short, there are general do's and don'ts for each zodiac sign every year. It's a prediction of different areas of your life - business, relationships, health and et cetera. I was told to avoid 'stepping onto someone's toe'. Well, I normally take it with a pinch of salt and within the next 24 hours, it's gone. Well, it was. Until last night when a friend of mine told me that he met a 'guru' of some sort who does prediction based on astrological calculations (which I'm not about to explain here). According to him, the prediction comes in 12 forms representing 12 different areas of your life as well. And in the midst of my excitement to find out what he felt about it, he suddenly got tensed and spoke to me in a very serious manner. Apparently, the 'guru' asked if he has any female friends who were born in the year of Sheep and are working in a fairly high position (italics mine cause trust me, it's not). He thought of me and the warning came forth: I (assuming if it's me the 'guru' is referring to) should avoid taking extreme measures at work because someone will get pissed and (somehow) will set a snare to trap me.


Exactly my reaction. I immediately thought of two people (ha ha! Sorry, couldn't help it). But anyway, my first real reaction was - why do you have to tell me? Yes, because it sounds serious and now we're back to square one. I am quite an extremist to a certain extent (an oxymoron right) especially at work because I don't believe in mediocrity. We can start from mediocrity but we should move along to get to 'good' and proceed to 'great'. So I must be an extremist in this sense because I want to get to 'good' and 'great' and it takes a lot of hardwork and heat. But the consolation side is I'm not thaaaat extreme because I have a fairly realistic timeline from one quarter to one year to three years. So, in short, I'm not very good at staying on a middle ground. And my friend and I have debated too that human kind has reached such extremes in all the different arenas - politics, economics, that we're doomed to explosion. But my contention is, if we have not explored the extremes, we wouldn't have reached the pinnacle of so many inventions and discoveries too. Yea, it's about balance but to ask me to sit still and watch things pass me by... hmm. Get ready a strong rope. You need to strap me down. Really tight.

So anyway, back to the topic of setting up snares and falling into traps. Well, I have to also admit, I got spooked a little. Simply because of the recent turn of events which resonated some truth from this 'prediction'. And in my friend's exact words, translated from Cantonese, I will go through 'life gets killed kind of disaster'. Maybe I should have asked if I were to be killed or me killing someone eventually. Anyway, jokes and blood-spilling event aside. So what am I to do? Honestly, I don't know. Stay low-key at work and practise on my plastic smile I guess. I was contemplating if I should clean up my resume a bit and start sending it out to headhunters and let them know I want 'extraction' by October. Maybe one of the management is reading my blog and maybe this is what will spark the wrath in them which caused them to dig a hole and wait for me to fall in and then sell me off as a slave to the Ishmaelites who would then sell me off again to a Potiphar-like who would then send me to the dungeons for denying his wife-kind advances which will have me making friends with a baker and a butler of which one of them will betray me. But you know what? If you know the entire story, the end game isn't so bad. And in order to rise to greatness, this sort of suffering must come. You know what they say: with suffering comes perseverance, with perseverance comes character, etc etc etc.

I don't know how true the prediction is. Maybe it is. Maybe someone is digging some hole somewhere and waiting for a fat juicy sheep to stumble in for dinner while she was trying to be funny and balance on two feet just to see how far she can go. But maybe it's not. Maybe it's all in our head. Excitement to splice the mundanity of everyday life. But whatever it is, I promise I'll try to keep small and be quiet and smile and walk away from confrontations that are fruitless, polish some shoes, and just go 'baa baa baa, I'm innocent, baa baa baa'. I promise all that. And I'll start emailing out my CV. Because if the agency wants to be mediocre then we obviously are beyond pages. We are in totally different chapters.

Happy Chinese New Year folks!

Oh by the way, just for tickles, I was googling on this subject and found this prophecy posted in 2008:

According to the Turkish Cypriot psychics, Malaysia will have a long war with Turkey and its allies, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Malaysia will be defeated by Turkish forces and the destruction of Penang, Johor Bahru, and Moluccas. Great Britain unables to stop the Turkish invasion of Malaysia. Malaysia will fall in 2010 when Turkish forces captures Kuala Lumpur, the capital. Malaysia becoming a part of Turkey and Turkey will cede Sarawak to Indonesia and they will cede Sabah to the Philippines. Petronas Towers will collapse. Many native Malaysians will be displaced and they will emigrate to the Philippines, Indonesia, and other countries to escape genocide in Malaysia under Turkish rule in the future.

Of which a Malaysian replied: crazy pilipino!!!nonsense!!

And then it sparked off a trail of ugly racial remarks from different nationalities. Why believe in something of the future that sparks negativity now?

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