Predict the future? Inertia – a conceptual filter for viewing and predicting world events

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Nothing changes without a reason. Common sense, I know. Feels stupid to write something that obvious. But the thing is we don’t apply it. Let’s consider applying it to world events to predict the future.


Inertia is the tendency of everything to keep on going exactly as it has been going, unless a force acts on it.

What that means is that the status quo stays the status quo, unless and until something actively changes it.

2 traps

When reading about world events most people fall into one of two traps. There’s the reactionaries who only pay attention to all the forces acting on events. And then obsess about them and how THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!!! while completely ignoring the fact that forces have to fight against inertia to effect a change. And that inertia wins most battles. This is the kind that watches mainstream media too much. Sensationalist media plays to people’s inner reactionary.

Or they’re sedentary and keep thinking that the status quo will continue as the status quo forever (i.e. the “it won’t happen to me” crowd who actively tune out the forces). They passively accept the status quo, they don’t even consciously acknowledge it exists, let alone the forces that are assaulting it daily.


The rub

I think the trick is to make the status quo (the inertia) conscious in your mind, and then to accept the world events (the forces) pushing sideways against it. Don’t fight about the forces of change unless you can actually do something about them (and no marches don’t count – go clean your bloody room).

Once you objectively know what the status quo is, and you can (objectively) identify the forces trying to change it, then you can assess world events and their possible outcomes. Doesn’t mean you’ll be good at it though.

The people who are good at it are the ones who have the aptitude (i.e. experience) for figuring out how much a particular world event (force) will affect the way things are and have been (inertia). I think they do this, firstly by taking educated guesses, and when they’re wrong they recalibrate their education to make more accurate guesses next time. Secondly, I think they do this on purpose. People who make millions off life-changing world events don’t do so by happenstance. They didn’t get that good at it by idly daydreaming about the future now and then, they’ve made a serious study of being able to make the predictions they make.

So if you want to be able to predict the future, are you willing to put in the time and effort other’s have?


What’s this got to do with self defense?

Self defense isn’t just hitting a mugger, it also extends to moving your Jewish family out of Germany when you concluded that Hitler was going to take over, and that he’d be bad for your health.


It also covers being aware of how severe (or mild) a hurricane is. Knowing how emergency services have responded in the past. Knowing what lies about preparedness politicians have made in the past. And using all that to predict if you need to visit family somewhere inland for a week.

Self defense is about getting home safe every day. And darn if predicting the future wouldn’t help with that.

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