Using a form of animal augury to see who would win the U.S. election, I predicted that Donald Trump would win. When I first saw Trump, I saw a beluga whale. This white whale of the polar region is known as the “Sea Canary” because he likes to sing. Later, I saw Trump as a great white shark, constantly moving forward seeking blood. The last image, I had, was of a local theater group advertisement of “Moby Dick.” Their depiction of the great white whale resembled Donald Trump (if he were a whale). Since in the novel, the whale won, I believed that Trump would win.
As for Clinton, I kept wondering what animal would appear for her. I finally saw a chimera – a composite monster of a lion, goat, and a snake. If the three heads of the chimera can work as a team, this animal becomes a formidable adversary. However, if the disparate heads quarrel with each other, the chimera does nothing. In Western culture, the chimera is a metaphor for absurd ideas and wild fancies. That meant to me that Clinton would lose.
Since I fell victim to two cognitive biases, I doubted my readings. The first is the Consensus Bias. When a group of people reach an informal consensus, it becomes fact. This is often the strongest opinion dominating with the group coalescing around it. When I worked in economic forecasting, I watched this bias play out. People were careful in constructing predictive models, collecting solid data, and following economic trends. However, these astute people would often freeze with doubt about their forecast. If they could not explain why their model’s results did not fit the common consensus, they would rerun the model. However, this time they would add “judgmental factors” to smooth out the model’s results. Since the media and pollsters were predicting Clinton’s victory, I believed that I was wrong.
There is also the False-Consensus Effect. This means that people assume that many others will agree with them. Since Pagans tend to self-segregate and be Progressive in their thinking, their consensus was that Clinton would win. They assumed that the many people, that they did not know, would agree with that. (Outside the group, other people would, of course, have other ideas.) Since I believed my friends to be correct that Clinton would win, I doubted my own perceptions.
I learnt several lessons from this. One is as a diviner, I have to be sure of my own voice, skills, and perceptions. Two, I have to accept that I will be considered wrong, and will be wrong from time to time. No matter how different they are from the general consensus, my predictions can be correct. After checking for cognitive biases, I need to stand-by them.
Divination, Cognitive Biases, and the U.S. Election has more discussion on biases and the U.S. election.