Here Comes the Future

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As we move forward into 2009 many of us are looking warily into an uncertain economic future. It seems logical then that those who promise advance knowledge – diviners, psychics, astrologers, and prognosticators – would be enjoying something of a boom time. That’s the premise of a recent CNN spotlight (HT: Klintron) on how some astrologers and psychics are doing well in this pessimistic economic climate*.

Embedded video from CNN Video

“Astrologer Randy Goldberg says he’s gone from seeing two to three clients a day to as many as nine. No longer is love the top query. ‘They’re curious about what’s going to happen to the market, what the economic future of the U.S. is looking like in the next couple of years…they want to know about the job market.'”

But is the common wisdom that psychics (and others who peer into the future) do well during hard times really accurate? After all, despite the New Age community’s recent Oprah-fication, initial signs have been mixed. Trade shows have been canceled, and niche publications are often hanging on by a thread. As for the psychics themselves, they seem split on the economic future. Bay Area psychics seem to think that the “economy will turn around much sooner than economists now predict”, while psychics from Colorado Springs seem a bit more pessimistic.

“The recession will bottom out on Oct. 22, 2009. During February 2010, nearly all of us will believe we are coming out of the recession.”

I wonder if the real answer to the question of psychics and astrologers doing well during recessions is one of style instead of substance. That the prognosticators willing to offer reassurance and comfort will be sought out, while doom-saying Cassandras (or hard-nosed realists) will see some hard times (aside from those who wish confirmation of their own portents of decline). In this these individuals won’t be too different from the entertainment industry, which will no doubt offer a steady diet of uplift, flashy action-heroes, and comedy as times get tougher (few will want to wallow in existential dread when their wallets are empty). It doesn’t take a mind-reader to know that people want escape and hope when times have backed them into a corner.

* The Horoscopic Astrology Blog takes issue with CNN’s conflation of psychics with astrologers, noting that most astrologers don’t claim to be psychic. You might also want to check out his “Top 10 Types of Astrologers To Avoid”.