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Today we talk about a theory we hear about every so often. We give our take on it all.
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What Does A Writer Make Of Predictive Programming? – Op-Ed Piece
As a writer, I try to tell you my opinion on a variety of writing-related topics here. Like how Harper Lee didn’t write To Kill A Mocking Bird, or that modern writers may not be as good as classic writers. I try to present these topics professionally so that you, the reader, can learn a thing or two from them, as I remain a credible source for that line of thought. To present one side of any argument, whether by accident or not, is not helping the audience because your integrity as a presenter comes into question. To be an expert, you must have expertise in framing an argument in a coherent fairway. Your opinion can be thrown out when the audience learns your bias towards a side rather than allowing the facts to speak for themselves.
I know that I only give my opinion for most of this stuff, and bias to some would be an acceptable approach since I am basically going on a rant here. I don’t call them op-ed pieces because it sounds catchy; nevertheless, objective presentation is a goal I strive for, as it should be for any who presents a case.
Sometimes I go off the trail. I write about stuff that you, as a reader, must say. What is this guy talking about? This makes no sense. I am lost, and I am not ever coming back to this site. In fairness, I do normally tell you when the car is going off the road, but still, I get your bewilderment. Now, today I am going to talk about a writing topic that even I see as strange and unusual; Me, the guy who spends time talking about the story of Thriller or handwriting as a form of penmanship. Here we go…
The topic of discussion is predictive programming. What do I make of it? Is it even a thing? How would I handle writing it (if I think I could)
First off, let’s start at the beginning. What is predictive programming?
Here’s a definition:
“it is a theory that the government or other higher-ups are using fictional movies or books as a mass mind control tool to make the population more accepting of planned future events.”
In other words, the stories that you are being shown on TV and at the theaters, or the books you are reading, are not meant to only entertain you but to prepare you for some things that will happen in the future. Hey, I didn’t make the theory. Don’t look at me for why this is even a thing. See, I told you we were going to talk about some weird stuff today.
I thought about whether this is topic is justification for inclusion on this site, and then I thought, “Yeah, because I am the very guy who would write the book or movie that is under scrutiny. That fictional story that is used as a mass mind control tool to make the masses more accepting of a planned future event is my novel.” I have a closer hand to this theory than most because of my occupation as a guy who writes up stories. Although I’d like to be as far away from this theory as possible, since I come up with stories, I am stuck with having it close to me. Like a family relative, you don’t like at the Thanksgiving table; you can’t get rid of them or tell them to leave; you have to deal with whatever stupid things come out of their mouth.
Some may claim that this very site is only designed to control you for future events. We are a part of the exact predictive programming we are trying to discuss. Is it working? We have been trying to get more readers. No? You mean you aren’t compelled to read more articles by us? Damn. That proves that predictive programming is not a good way to get an audience, then. Well, back to the drawing board.
I am going to divide these types of stories into two categories for us to better understand them.
There are the stories that “predict” from their whole story perspective. The very plot of the film comes true. Think of The Truman Show or Minority Report here. We talk about the main story when we are talking about them being included in predictive programming. That is a very different claim from the second type of story, which has a part or two that seem to predict the future. Think of The Simpsons getting a future event correct here. The main story doesn’t have much to do with any programming involved. We notice minor events, that as time goes by, end up being more true than anything in the story.
Here are the two types of predictive programming stories: (in list form)
The whole story is predicted. The plot is essential to our discussion of the story for the theory.
Examples: The Truman Show, Minority Report
Only part of the plot is predicted. The minor event in the story is essential to our discussion for the theory
Example: The Simpson predicting future events.
First and foremost, let me say this; if I were to do this as a writer, I would have to be putting effort into such a task. I wouldn’t do it by accident. It’s not like I’d write a book and then say, “You know I think this can happen one day.” No. As I am writing the story, I’d be aware of it. Those who often talk about this theory never discuss it as if many writers are involved in such a moment. One writer doesn’t have the time to do this with their story. An author writing a book won’t spend more time predicting the future than writing the story. That is not a very writer thing to do. If I am doing this, I know that I am doing it, and if I am doing this, I am getting help from other writers who know that they are doing this too. The theory is more complicated and difficult that no writer can do this by themselves. This is a team effort. Of course, that is assuming this can even be done.
There is a question I think about when it comes to this theory that I don’t feel can be answered definitively; does history repeat itself, and are we mistaking the repetition of history with some future predictions? Let’s take 1984 as an example. WW2 inspired the Orwell classic, the largest human conflict globally, that saw the world at war with each other. From Europe to Africa, to Asia, fighting took place, and even nations like America, who did not have any direct land fighting, got involved in the global conflict. We know this war affected the author of 1984, as it has many books, movies, and songs as well. We are talking about the largest war the world has ever seen, so it is only natural for something that large to get into our arts. The author lived through the war and feared the Nazis as much as anyone else during that time. His propaganda and the government controlling every aspect of life in his novel were part of Nazi Germany. We present the book today as if he was predicting the future, but was he? Or was he using the recent past, even present, as a reference of something that could happen in the future? There were spies before Orwell.1984 isn’t the first book that wrote of government corruption or people spying on each other or the uneasiness in society. Do we give too much credit to writers who just so happen to write of things that we think of now? And how can we tell the difference between a writer who did predict the future and one who just got lucky? If a writer writes enough stories of the future, won’t he get one story correct, just out of probability?
To put it another way: If you write about boats and the sea, eventually you will write about one that crashes, but does that mean you predicted the Titanic sinking? I mean… As a political writer, was it not eventual that Orwell would write of a dystopian-like state? That is the debate I have with myself over this question.
Let’s talk about those stories that make us uncomfortable to speak about, not because of any controversy but of how similar they look to our world. The Truman Show is a great example of this phenomenon. A man learns that he is actually living in a TV show. We see the movie today and can’t help but notice how we live like him, with the lack of privacy collapsing from a person’s life before our eyes and that individual has no control over it. Like 1984, this movie has trouble answering the question of history repeating itself. Did the writers predict the technological-driven, open, paranoid world we live in today, or were they paying attention to the world at the time, like Orwell, adapting current trends and recent history for their story? Reality TV started before the movie took place. The question of our reality is not new. Plato wrote about it thousands of years ago. You can see the obvious parallels between the Allegory of the Cave and The Truman Show. The main character learns that he lives in a false world and tries to deal with his newfound knowledge of the world around him. As far as technology in the movie, you can’t say that the movie predicted any of it since the time of the plot looks like 1950’s suburban America, more than 2020 America. No one in the movie has any device that we today associate with our time, they have feelings and experiences that we relate to, and that can sometimes be confused with the prediction powers of the author.
The movie writers asked this question: What if a character in a TV show didn’t know they were in a show? How would they react?
TV shows weren’t new at the time either. So yes, I get that many view the movie as warning us against the blindness the world leads us and that the character of Truman is trying to awaken you, but the failure of any acknowledgment of creativity on behalf of the writers of that movie is insulting. Great stories use universal ideas that can be told in any time period; that doesn’t mean the writers are trying to brainwash you; it means that they understand some things will always be spoken about. Going by the theory of predictive programming, one must think that the movies and books must control your food and money too. You eat every day. You work for a living to make money. It would make sense for the stories to try to steer you to think certain things about some foods or how to spend your money in a certain way, right? Boy, if you believe that, you must think that someone is spying on you as you read this article. You are a few bolts away from a loony bin with that outlook. You think that the movies and shows are brainwashing you about the future and that they are also trying to tell you what to eat and buy. Yeah… that kind of insanity doesn’t need further explanation.
Now for a fun question… Would this work? I mean, who the hell would think of something like this? No writer is out there thinking of this; I can tell you that. So who is so interested in this idea that they would even come up with such strangeness? Are there really people out there that think, “Make a movie so that we can normalize things that we want to make normal.” That is assuming anyone actually gives a shit about your movie. Sure, it is seen by the masses, but it is only entertainment, so many like myself won’t view it as a source of enlightenment but escape from the world. This whole theory gives books and movies a little too much control over the way people go about their lives. So to directly answer the question, no, this wouldn’t work because, at the end of the day, the stories you are told can’t think for you, only give you ideas to think, but the thought process and ideas you get from that story are yours alone. Sure these stories may want you to see it in a certain light, but since you are an individual with a brain all of its own, you can view that movie or book any way you want.
I also have a problem with the blatant disregard the theory has for truth in our world, for how we as humans function regardless of the entertainment presented to us. Some things are right, and some are wrong. A movie or show doesn’t change this. They want to think that they can, but you can’t make lies into truth by repeating them. For example, just because movies and books are violent doesn’t mean that many people think that murder is okay. That’s not how the world works. In fact, you can even go as far as to say that the stories of our world reinforce certain truths about us as humans.
I am all for conspiracy theories. I present many of them related to literature here. But that is because I believe they hold water, and after I examine them, they are worth presenting to you, the reader, but predictive programming in our pop-culture; I don’t know, that is out there. If it happens, there is a room of writers who are told to write of certain future events. It all seems so unrealistic that I can’t help but laugh at it.
Predictive programming is a brilliant way for a book or film to be discussed by people years after it was released. When the story's future matches up with the present, that is a way for the story to be relevant. If it doesn’t, then the story can conveniently ignore the wrong prediction.
If you are one of those people that believes in this wild theory, at least look on the bright side; I am not one of those writers trying to brainwash you with this article. (Or is that something someone who wants to brainwash you would say?)
We hope you enjoyed this rant about this unusual theory.
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About The Blogger
Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.
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