Stephanie Sieberhagen
Psychologist

Relationship Specialist

Dr Steph's blog

The Ides of March

Posted by stephaniesieberhagen@gmail.com on March 15, 2020 at 1:15 AM

Julius Casear was fore-warned of his own death by a soothsayer who told him to '...beware the Ides of March' - which falls on the 15th of March every year. I have often pondered on predictions and what it would be like if we had a glimpse of the future. Of course, one would have to be sure it is a 100% accurate. Sadly, Robin Williams committed suicide when his specialist told him he had an incurable disease. It was only after his death that they discovered the specialist had made a mistake.

But what if we could see into the future? Would that help us? Let's assume in this scenario, that you could see the furture, but that it was unchangeable. What if you saw great unhappiness in a few years' time? How would that cloud the way you lived now? If you saw the death of a loved one - would you act differently towards them? Would you tell them?

So much of what drives us on a daily basis - is hope. We hope that we will do better, that our kids will achieve more, that we will get well or be fit again one day. Hope gives us light and energises us, but hope rests on the uncertainty principle. If we had sure knowledge, we would have certainty and we couldn't have hope - because we would already know the outcome.

It makes me think of a Midsummer Night's dream by William Shakepseare which introduced the idea of a love potion. I had a lively discussion with my English class at Wynberg Girls' High years ago - about using love potions. At the beginning of the lesson, most of them were dead keen on using love potions, but by the end of it - they had realised that being liked by someone is only a thrill because it delights us so to find that someone has seen us and likes us.

Slipping them a potion will make them like you. There will be no real desire on their side - you will have determined the outcome. So as with above - the uncertainty is removed.

We all love watching programmes or real life events where people vote - whether it is for a performer or a politician (often the same thing). Many of us will stay up late or even through the night - to watch the outcome of some poll or vote. This would be no fun if we already knew the outcome.

So as much as we claim that we don't like change and that we want to be certain about things, it appears as though it is the surprise elements in life that provides the spice. 

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