I am not going to waste your time or insult your intelligence by discussing the pros and cons of believing in fortune-tellers. But the earthquake in Mexico and the hurricanes in the U.S. remind us that we face some catastrophes with more or less adequate warning, and others with none at all. Biblical prophets (are said to have) threatened all sorts of disasters (the word itself is of astrological origin) – and naturally (?) they occurred. Stuff and nonsense ! We are talking about rational estimates of what is likely or certain to happen, so that we can take the necessary precautions, when that is possible.
One day we may be able to predict earthquakes, the way we do with hurricanes, in time to escape from harm’s way, though it seems beyond human power to ever prevent them. (Never say never ?).
Volcanoes are kinda kinder. At the time of writing, it seems that Bali’s Mount Agung, the jewel of the Ring of Fire, which killed 1000 people in 1963, is about to erupt. Volcanoes give signs of seismic activity shortly before eruption, though often too late to evacuate the area. Indonesia has 120 active volcanoes.
There are other catastrophes for which we have more than adequate warning, if only because we created the threat, as with the human contribution to climate change.
There is one future fatal event we can be certain will happen. Sometimes we even have a fairly accurate estimation of when it will happen. The event is, of course, our death. Even healthy people know they will die, whether by accident, disease or old age. We do what we can to postpone it as long as possible, and are not necessarily terribly confident that science will offer us immortality anytime soon . . .
The best preparation for death that I know – presuming that we have made things easier for our loved ones by “putting our affairs in order” – is to enjoy life to the full as long as we can. A certain fatalism may help. Illusions about an after-life won’t. I will do what I can to avoid the pain which too often accompanies the process of dying. But I have looked death in the face and have learned to accept it, grateful that I have already found more fulfillment and enjoyment in life than I no doubt deserve. When the end comes I know I’m just – not a gigolo – but one helluva lucky old geezer.