Prophets With Delphic Delusions

One knows not to question the wisdom of the Delphic seers, those voices of prescience whose cryptic counsels were so poorly interpreted by their clientele. Whether that be poor ole King Polydectes who was warned he would be killed by his foster-son or some other glutton for advice. If Polydectes, like the rest of us mere mortals, had been forced to resort to the Olympic raffle and got a seat in row ZZG125, he’d have had about as much chance of being hit by Perseus’s stray discus as Sisyphus had of completing the boulder-rolling leg.

Those Delphics were mighty wise, how they were able to factor in all those contingencies, the temper tantrums on Mt. Olympus, misfired arrows of Eros, the remnants of another of Dionysus’s wild parties; it must have been some academy to develop such foresight in its seers.

Politics in those days was a rough and tumble trade, a beauty contest and a stolen bride could spark a ten-year war. With Zeus playing the field female politicians found the glass ceiling awfully difficult to break, what with jealous wife Hera not adhering to the rules of the sisterhood. No matter how brave one was in battle there was always an Achilles heel one had to be virulent to protect.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that an array of business ventures crumbled in these unstable times – Medea Childcare Services just never got off the ground while Penelope’s embroidery business hit a snag when the long lost husband returned to murder all the clientele. The only one with a regular revenue stream seemed to be Charon’s ferry service, no shortage of dead people willing to pay the required obol to get across. Bloody monopolies.

Still the electorate was even more fickle in those days, if Zeus disagreed with your policies and he’d had a bad day in the office he’d hurl a lightning bolt or get his brother Poseidon to irrigate your coast with a twenty-foot wave. You thought negotiating with media moguls was difficult; try disagreeing with Athena when she demands a multi-billion dollar temple built in her honour.

However, in these simpler times the Delphic art seems to have been long forgotten. It’s such a shame, because there has been a long list of pretenders. For example Nostradamus’s prose is so ambiguous that any disciple can claim to predict virtually anything. And what of the woeful predictions in the last few hundred years: the Thousand Year Reich, the Fall of Capitalism, “No Child Will Live in Poverty By 1990”, an English tennis player winning Wimbledon, you’ll get good odds from Centrebet on any of these.

Mind you this hasn’t stopped our beloved pundits from making the most foolish of predictions. The egg is still being scraped off the faces of some of our wisest voices; read anything mid-2001 and you would be certain the Howard empire was in its twilight. Now our wise minions of commentary (or should that be dysentery for the Woody Allen buffs) have raced to assure us of the fact that the sun shines powerfully out our leader’s behind. Apparently there have even been discussions of this being tapped as a renewable energy source, but those darn lobbyists soon nipped that idea in the bud.

Such certitude, when the last two elections have been decided by a couple of thousand votes in about twenty-odd electorates. With electorate redistributions, pissed-off locals, idiot sitting MPs, feral independents, anything can happen. And we’re still quite a distance from the next election, so one of million things could happen. I could make a prediction, but I know I’m bound to make a mighty arse of myself, which I’m probably already doing. So I’ll stick to my I-Ching, which I hear is a wonderful source for financial advice.

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