Clairvoyance: “To predict future events; the ability to perceive matters beyond the range of ordinary perception”; are both these definitions the same?
The recent ferry sinking in South Korea, missing Malaysian airliner, last year’s Boston marathon explosion all stir up thoughts of would have, should have, could have done better. But can we? At these moments it’s my mother’s voice in my mind’s ear asking how I could have behaved that way, what was I thinking; didn’t I see what could happen? Unfortunately no… only in hindsight.
Currently in south Florida there is an investigation under way of children who died while in the custody of our child welfare system. Having been a volunteer in this process for nearly twenty years there has been an opportunity to view how it functions in an intimate, hands on fashion; not so easy to be clairvoyant. A judge once called my into chambers and coming close to my ear asked how we could not have known that the mother in the case was seeing a man convicted of a violent crime, “Where you all blind?” he whispered. No, none of us looked under the woman’s bed, did not go in her closet looking for cloths nor open her bureau draws looking for underwear.
Perhaps it is the arrogance of perfection, the expectation of superior intelligence which provokes us to feel that “I would have seen it coming, I would have acted differently.” Or maybe it’s guilt from having not seen “it” coming in our own past experiences which provokes old feelings of guilt and hidden embarrassment and causes us to shake our heads.
“Beyond the range of ordinary perception” seems to be the operative thought; the confrontation with the reality, limitations, vulnerability of our ordinary capabilities.