by Dahria Beaver
Predictive Programming is 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. This was first described and proposed by researcher Alan Watt who defines Predictive programming as “Predictive programming is a subtle form of psychological conditioning provided by the media to acquaint the public with planned societal changes to be implemented by our leaders. If and when these changes are put through, the public will already be familiarized with them and will accept them as natural progressions, thus lessening possible public resistance and commotion.” (Wood) Then it was popularized by Alex Jones and David Icke. The most notable cases of predictive programing are the examples found in the Simpsons, The Dark Night Rises, The Hunger Games, and the oldest being from Futility. Information can be found on blog posts and many conspiracy theorists have either made videos on it or have spoken on the subject.
People who believe in this theory are mostly conspiracy theorists who think there will be a totalitarian government takeover, or on the more mild side, theorists who believe tragic events are an inside job or completely fake. David Icke proposed that the Sandy Hook shooting was predicted in the Dark Night Rises because Sandy Hook is shown on the map in one of the scenes. (Wood) While I was looking for more information on the motives behind the government participating in predictive programming I found that most commonly people believe the government creates a problem so the population will look to the government for a solution. However, because the government planned for the crisis the government will offer a solution that has been planned long before the crisis ever happened. Alan Watt, along with many others, believe a desired outcome is created through the power of suggestion in media. (Wood) This theory is still very popular today because any huge event can be seemingly traced back to cartoon or movie that was fortunate enough to predict it.
Predictive programming at its core is a tactic to reduce resistance by introducing concepts that seem far fetched and continuously reintroducing them to make these concepts appear more likely or at the very least acceptable. As always there is a reason why movies and television are used as the common vessel. When watching something a person typically perceives it as entertainment and their theoretical guard will be lowered and the subliminal messages will be directly go to the subconscious. It also is used as a sort of self fulfilling prophecy because once an expectation is created then when these events start to happen the population may seem more likely to accept the fate. There is also a control of imagination because the most commonly used tool in predictive programming is science fiction, by creating these stories the author can create boundaries of imagination and slowly show what may happen. (The Coincidence Theorist) As mentioned before one example of this is Futility. This is a book from 1898 that shared the story of a fictional ship named Titan that was deemed unsinkable and ended up crashing into an iceberg. With a similar description and fate this novel is seen as outlining the fate of the Titanic to create an acceptance among people for when the Titanic truly sank.
Predictive Programming is not a seamless theory because there are several contradictions when considering the possibility of subliminal messaging. Firstly, there is a conflict with the social learning theory. In the most popular experiment showing the social learning theory children either hit or ignored a clown doll depending what behavior they saw being exhibited by an adult. In predictive programming it is said that by portraying a message a reaction is assured regardless of the context, but in the experiment the children didn’t have a reaction to the doll other than the one exhibited by the adult. (Wood) Secondly, there are a few purposes for predictive programming and not all of them have to deal with tyranny. Some are meant to lessen the blow of an event like 9/11, or as mentioned previously, the Sandy Hook shootings. The contradiction raises when thinking about why the government would want to warn us or prepare us for Sandy Hook. The whole point of Sandy Hook conspiracies is to doubt the event even happened so the government could create a conversation of gun-control. This would defeat the purpose of staging it if the government was trying to ensure a small or inexistent response. (Wood). Lastly, Alan Watts is very successful in explaining how an event was predicted by looking back at what was in movies or cartoons before the event but predictive programming is not actually successful in predicting what may happen in the future based on current media. (Wood) For example the Simpsons are credited with predicting 9/11, the ebola virus, Trump’s presidency, and many others. In a particular episode Lisa is seen holding a magazine that advertises nine dollar bus fares to New York City but the price is placed by a silhouette of the twin towers. Therefore, the cover is depicting 9/11 and is involved in predictive programming. These instances of prediction from the Simpsons has only surfaced along with the theory, but there are no new prediction being reported from the Simpsons. With a majority being from the 1990’s or early 2000s. Showing that the accuracy of predicting the future is still fifty-fifty and left to chance.
There are several cognitive contributions that can be attributed to predictive programming. A lot of the evidence presented by theorists are highly likely to be coincidences. Some are eerie and seem to be a sure thing but they could be resulting from Pareidolia. Pareidolia is seeing patterns in random stimuli and as theorists are looking through evidence for their belief they may begin to use a confirmation bias and see a patten that does not actually exist. Interestingly enough pseudoscience may play a role in the appeal of this theory. A lot of the basis of predictive programming can be attributed to the idea of neurolinguistic programming but after empirical testing there is no evidence that neurolinguistic programming even works. More importantly there is no link between the two. As mentioned before, predictive programming is meant to soften the blow of a traumatic event and create less of a reaction and a tendency to accept. However, there are studies that show how stimulus is presented is very important to the outcome. A study in 2009 showed that portraying something in a negative or positive way will impact how it is perceived. (Wood) This eliminates the idea of predictive programming being completely subliminal but it does introduce the idea of the mere exposure effect. By showing a positive or neutral stimulus repeatedly there is a tendency for a person to like that stimulus more and more overtime. These finding are both a problem for predictive programming because through the mere exposure effect people would have an even worse reaction to any negatives being presented. (Wood)
The mass majority of believers in this theory are conspiracy theorists. Alan Watt is a researcher who first described the phenomena but it was made popular by David Icke and Alex Jones. What they proposed as evidence seems very believable, and with a lot of exposure and good explanations, predictive programming seems to convincing not to be real. Conspiracy theorists mainly latch on to this idea because as theorists they already have a sense of disdain towards the government and beliefs of long held deceit within the higher ups. These two factors play into why many believe predictive programing is real, because most times when a person believes in one conspiracy theory they believe in others.
Predictive programming is a seemingly real phenomena but it is built up by facts that aren’t truly facts and perpetuated by a self proclaimed researcher and social media. With such easy access to all of the evidence and the tendency to not trust the government the patterns presented as evidence make predictive programming look like a real and unstoppable issue. There are inconsistencies that have been shown but for the most part the belief in predictive programming grows each time new “evidence” is presented.
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