Psychic prediction

Ok, this isn’t really psychic, but I thought that was an apt name for the article.


A hypothetical rock starts rolling down a hypothetical mountainside, slowly at first, then gathering speed it rolls through some mud which completely cakes the rock in an inch thick layer … and on this strange hypothetical mountain, it then encounters a patch of small broken sticks, then rolls across ice which freezes the mud and traps the sticks in it, then it rolls across gravel that gets stuck between all the sticks;

— and then the process repeats:

  • mud
  • sticks
  • ice
  • gravel

On this strange mountain, this layers repeatedly build up in that exact same order, making an ever larger and more massive frozen conglomerate boulder.

So, waiting down the bottom of the mountain are a bunch of observers, and they don’t know what process this boulder went through, they just see it coming.

Of all these people observing, only 5% do a decent job of predicting the approximate path of the conglomerate boulder as it flies past at high speed, the others all fall over not really knowing which way to run ( don’t worry, they’re only hypothetical people ). It then crashes into a much larger stationary granite boulder and smashes itself to pieces against it — and only one or two of the observers actually approach the impact site to investigate its composition, while the others look on whispering to each other about these two geeky weirdos are paying so much attention to a bunch of mud sticks and stones.

After a short wait, another boulder just like the first comes flying down the mountain. Most are surprised to see a second, and if we watched 1000 alternative timelines of this 2nd boulder coming down, we’d see approximately the same thing — being that approximately the same proportion of people ( give or take a few in each alternate timeline ) successfully predicted its path and got out of the way.

In each of these timelines, the same 2 guys investigate the fragments after the event, but on this occasion a small number of others join them, and it is confirmed the 2nd boulder has the same conglomerate composition as the first. Everyone else stands back from these geeky few, uninterested in or threatened by the intellect of these geeky ones.

A 3rd boulder comes down, this time about 7-10% predict its path and get out of the way, except for 1 guy who was busy proclaiming that it must be a sign from god, but he was turned to paste as the boulder smashed right through him. The geeky group has consolidated, but some outsiders have had the courage and humility to ask them questions, and so they explain their findings on the mass and composition of the boulder, explaining also how to better predict its movement and avoid being hit by it.

As the 4th comes down, the geeks have noticed the frequency of occurrence appears to be very slightly accelerating, such that less time exists between each event. About 30-40% dodge that last one, they’re getting the hang of it, then suddenly the 5th and 6th come down simultaneously, which causes a little chaos and people struggle to get out of the way, with only 15% having much success.

One of the geeks has a eureka moment, and says follow me, and they race up the mountain past a 7th, then and 8th and 9th, crossing these patches of mud sticks ice and gravel, until they reach the top and find some snotty little high school kid throwing rocks down the mountain and the geek yells out “hey dickhead, stop throwing rocks you little shit”.


Ok, I admit I didn’t really know how to end that, but it’s good enough for the point I wanted to make;

— which is this:

  • going down the mountain would have been a bad idea
  • because there’s no guarantee they’d all be stopped by the granite boulder
  • even if they were at first, the rubble pile would build up becoming a ramp
  • eventually the granite boulder couldn’t stop them
  • so you’d be heading down the mountain with an increasing number of boulders coming after you
  • only going up the mountain finds the source of the problem

ALSO: some people adapted well to dodging, others didn’t, some needed the strategy explained, others didn’t even consider asking, as they were too wrapped up in social conditioning issues to ask, and blissfully ignorant as to the nature of the situation they were facing ( mostly just confused that it was even happening ).

BUT those whom took an interest and investigated — which was clearly their habit in all things — adapted quickly, understood that which was not explained, yet discoverable by reasoning, logic, and evidence — eventually inspiring a solution to be found, even if the specifics of the solution were not known, the direction to find it was clear.

From the perspective of those whom did not adapt ( particularly the dead religious guy ), the actions of those studying the smashed boulders, and then climbing up the mountain, were a mystery — they couldn’t understand the motivation, and didn’t see the logical connections, because they were illiterate and unpracticed in the critical thinking skills required, and had been culturally brainwashed to worship ignorance and stupidity … it was as if they were watching crazy people act for no reason, from the perspective of their flawed values and fraudulent beliefs.

People adapted to dodging the boulders at different speeds, and for different reasons, but with the greatest variables being ones familiarity with ones own body movement, and the other being a natural or learned affinity with gravity, and other forces of physics, thus a capacity to quickly analyse the dynamics of the boulder’s path, see the probabilities of influence of the surfaces and obstacles yet to be crossed, and thus predict its future position.

When they got to the top, it might seem to one of the late arrivals that the guy who had the idea to go up was psychic — how did he know there was a kid at the top throwing rocks? … but was he really psychic? … or was it just a familiarity with using his brain? He didn’t actually know it was a kid, he just knew it was the right thing to do, regardless of the cause, and that the cause would become apparent, so it wasn’t a priority in making the decision, and he already had all the information required to make that decision to go up.


So if critical thinking of the highly skilled can appear like a psychic ability, and given the power of the human brain, is it really a supernatural ability if you predict whom is on the other end of the phone when you get a call ( sorry millennials, just imagine for a minute there’s only old style phones with no LCD screen and no caller ID )? — OR — is it a simple matter of your extremely powerful brain with billions of information sensors at its disposal, and a lifetime of stored memory, making rapid calculations, and then performing pattern recognition and probability calculations? But all you see is the end result, when your brain delivers the answer, so it feels like magic, and you attribute it to the supernatural.


A critical thinker is thus a kind of “conscious psychic” — ie: what you might do by accident from time to time, they can do reliably, consistently, accurately, and at will — because it’s nothing supernatural, it’s just a skill they took the time to develop, and they were humble and curious enough to learn it.

I hope you understand the lesson.

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