It’s a Friday. I want to wait until 9:30 to begin attempting to understand my hideously complicated notes on “5000 years of Chinese history”. Therefore, I’ll take these five minutes to randomly explain something most of us already know about.
Many fortune cookie readings seem to be dead-on accurate. Ever eaten a fortune cookie and found that the little slip of paper inside corresponds uncannily to your life?
Take the fortune on the first cookie I ate yesterday for instance. It read “you’re putting on weight, time for exercise!”. At first glance, it seems very true (okay, it is very true).
But what these ‘fortunes’ actually are are simply generalizations or vague statements that most people would fit into.
You’ve been putting on weight, time for exercise – most people put on weight. Most people despair about their weight. This statement can apply to a very broad audience.
Another example, “Face all the challenges you meet in your life bravely. Times have been hard recently, but go for it!”. Your first thought would be “Oh, it’s true – I’ve been going through so many challenges lately!”. But stop and think about it. Doesn’t everyone go through challenges at every point in their lives? Figuring out how to fix a faulty stapler is a challenge. Doing a math worksheet is a challenge. Heck, even typing this post with one hand is a challenge.
The promise of the “fortune cookie”, the anticipation of wanting to know what your “fortune” is – these are what make you want to believe in the fortune. Thus, no matter how far-fetched or weird the fortunes are, they will most likely seem accurate to the average person.
As another example, let’s use my second fortune. This one was “You’ll soon meet your dream lover. Grasp the opportunity!” (many lulz were had)
Let’s say girl X is going to meet a lot of male acquaintances/friends, all around her age, during Chinese New Year. Before reading this fortune, she may think something along these lines:
“Ok, I’m going to A, B and C’s houses next week.”
But because she is so eager (despo?) to believe this fortune, her mind exaggerates it into something like:
“zomg since A, B and C are the first few guys I will ‘soon meet’, one of them must be my dream lover! The fortune is true! I’m going to meet my dream lover in A, B or C!”
Of course, this is all very exaggerated and subjected to my illogical thought processes.
Have a nice day/night, sleep early (it’s good for your health) and take a second look at the piece of paper inside the next time someone offers you a fortune cookie.