The limits of expertise
As many of you may know, I am a retired psychologist.
As part of the practice, I'd often testify in trials concerning child abuse/neglect, custody, occasionally criminal competence, etc. A constant fascination and concern for me was the expectation that Psychology was a "science" that could tell you what was likely to occur in a particular case, what an individual person was likely to do in the future. Of course, we knew based on 10,000 years or so of cumulative human experience that there were such things as personality traits, developmental "stages" that people (and all life) go through. But there was no way we could account for all the massive number of variables that impinge on particular individuals, internally and externally, that allow for another person to predict with confidence what that individual person will do. (Just incidentally, I'd lay out my opinion and rationale based on past behavior and the person's manifest personality traits, but it was a matter of odds, not of "scientific" certainty).
I see the same thing going on here. We have people projecting into the future based on presumptions about people's motives and (more importantly) the constancy of those motives. We have projections based on the exercise of power by elites who may or may not retain that power over time. We have countervailing expressions of confidence that humans are sufficiently resilient so as to head off and mollify looming Armageddon. We have experts line up on all sides, all equally inept as I was to foretell the specific future, despite all the expertise and science at hand.
Cassandras? Chicken Littles? Pollyannas? All part of the human assemblage for the same reason certain foretelling is fraught: there are simply too many variables in the human condition--either conditionally or collectively-- to know what will be.
For me, I am diversified, but otherwise live in the moment, and enjoy what's before me. I know many of you are doing the same thing.