GRE Issue Essay 197

“The past is no predictor of the future.”

Experiences of the past have always made us wiser with respect to various aspects of life. It is not necessary that our past will be an exact indication of the future, but the happenings in the past do have some bearing on the probable events that might take place in the future. Therefore, it may not necessarily be true that the past cannot predict the future accurately, but there may be instances when the past has helped us in determining what might happen in the future.

The future has always intrigued humans to the extent that they have often resorted to utilizing crystal ball gazers, horoscopes, tarot-card readers, fortune-tellers etc. for foretelling what the future holds for them. The authenticity of such predictions is always questionable, but the past can definitely be useful for a vague estimation of what the future holds for us. Studying the past has always been used for ascertaining success in the future. Whenever there is a requirement of carrying out a particular action, there has been a study of the effectiveness of that action in achieving its aim in the past. This study can be used to forecast the results of that particular action in the future. This is because there are some occurrences that follow a certain pattern. For instance, the meteorological departments of most countries have been able to successfully predict the weather in the future by studying the present meteorological data coupled with the effects that they have had in the past. Generally, these predictions have been found to be true and this has been made possible by studying the data and the results from the past.

On the other hand, it is not always necessary that studying the past can give an estimate of what the future holds. Take for example the future of a business enterprise, which can be predicted to quite an extent by studying its profitability in the past. The success of a business in the past may not be a definite indication of how it will fare in the future. Nevertheless, the past will be able to give a rough estimate of the profits that the business can make in the future. However, the future of the business will also depend on various factors like the success of its competitors, the variations in the demand for the company’s products, changes in technology and the adaptability of the company to modify its products to meet the demands of the consumers. For instance, a company well known for its photography equipment may not be able to maintain its profits if it fails to manufacture cameras that support the latest digital imagery technology. Therefore, in such a case, a detailed study of the success of the company in the past will not be able to predict its losses in the future as no one will be able to foretell how the company’s top management will choose to react in a particular situation.

In conclusion, it has been seen that the past has been able to loosely predict the future in some cases. These cases would include events and situations that have been known to recur in a particular pattern. However, when seen in the larger perspective, a study of the past cannot include unforeseen events that may occur in the future and affect the results that have been predicted. Therefore, it is not necessary that the past will always be able to provide an accurate prediction of the future.