Since ancient times, magicians and astrologers have tried to convince people that they have the ability to predict the future, or to foresee destiny. Surprisingly, these mysterious prophecies, no matter how far-fetched they may seem, sometimes come true, and this has nothing to do with luck, coincidence, or predicting someone’s destiny; it is a matter of creating the future, and of noticing when predictions come true.
Prophecies have the power to become self-fulfilling, regardless of whether or not they make sense or have a scientific basis, and simply expressing a prediction can result in it coming true. It happens in the most diverse areas, from our love lives and the performance of international markets, to exam results and our health. Some predictions can even determine our destiny. So, how does an unfounded prediction influence reality? Let us start from the assumption that the oracle, in other words the person who is able to predict the future, does not live in the outside world, but within us; all of us, without even realising it, constantly make predictions about the future, and our brain is the most powerful predictive machine of all.
Greek mythology’s most famous oracle, Pythia, lived in Delphi, in ancient Greece. People would ask her to predict their destiny, because they believed that fate was predetermined and inescapable. One example of a self-fulfilling prophecy is the story of Oedipus the King by Sophocles, in which the oracle tells Oedipus of her prophecy that he will murder his father and commit incest with his mother. He leaves his home and family in an attempt to escape this destiny, but unwittingly goes on to commit the crimes the oracle predicted nonetheless, and later discovers that his parents were not his real parents. Oedipus trusted the oracle, and tried to prevent her prediction from coming true; if he had never heard the prophecy, he would not have committed the crimes. In this case, the prophecy disrupted the normal course of events, for the simple reason that the subject believed it to be true, and took action to escape it.