Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy (Chapter 14)

         When I joined this class, I did not think it would affect my life in any way. To be honest, I didn’t believe that I would even learn something that was vital to life. However, I’ve learned so much, that it changed my perspective of society. I learned to think by using a sociological imagination and realized that other factors affect my life. Everything that goes wrong in my life, isn’t necessary all my fault. This class has made me become aware of so many issues that are going on in the United States and around the World. I’ve learned about social equality and social construction. All of these things have really changed my perspective on the world we live in today. I struggled with deciding one topic to write this blog about. However, I chose to write about one topic that has really opened my eyes in the way that I can change my social life. The topic I chose to write about is the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Assumption or prediction that in itself causes the expected event to occur, thus seeming to confirm the prophecy’s actions (Newman, 64).

                I first learned about Self-Fulfilling prophecy when I watched part of a movie, called The Secret. My understanding of the Self-Fulfilling prophecy was that basically if I act like I already have something, or I put it up on my wall, eventually I will obtain that object. So, I decided to put a picture up on my wall of something I really wanted; a pink jeep. I knew I was going to get a used car from my parents before senior year and I really wanted this pink jeep. However, when I finally received my car it was a rusty old minivan. After that, I thought “The Secret” was a bunch of bologna and I never really thought of it again until this class. After reading Chapter 3: The Social Construction of Knowledge, I’ve learned that the self-fulfilling prophecy is more useful and complicated than I had originally thought.

                According to Newman, A self-fulfilling prophecy is an assumption or a prediction that, purely as a result of having been made, causes the expected event to occur and thus confirms the prophecy's own "accuracy" (Newman 64). In other words, the mere belief in some version of reality creates expectations that can actually make it happen. When I think of a self-fulfilling prophecy, I think of the Greek mythology story of Oedipus. This is also a very simple way to explain the self-fulfilling prophecy. In the story, an oracle declares Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother. He is then sent off to avoid this fate, but in the process of running away from it, it sets off a chain of events that makes that very prophecy comes true.

There are also many real life examples of the self-fulfilling prophecy. An example of this prophecy is if someone believes and says that “this is going to be a horrible day!” they will be in such a bad mood that they see nothing but bad things and possibly react negatively to everything. An optimist who says “this is going to be a great day!” sees nothing but good things and turns crises into opportunity. The self-fulfilling prophecy can not only be utilized towards attitudes and emotions, but they can be particularly powerful in social institutions. For example, in schools, teachers can unconsciously affect the progress of students. If a teacher believes a student to be especially intelligent, they might give that student more attention. As a result, this student might feel more intelligent and confident, and therefore receive a better grade in the class. Finally, self-fulfilling prophecies can affect people physically. The book gives examples of the “placebo” effects. This is the tendency for patients to improve, because they have been led to believe they are receiving some sort of treatment, when they are actually not.

                I believe this is a very important concept for people to be aware of, because it’s ultimately saying your thoughts build your own reality. Everyone has the capability to construct their own reality. Self-fulfilling prophecies can have both positive and negative outcomes depending on the truths you have created. I’m really thankful for learning about the self- fulfilling prophecy, because it reminds me that I can lead my own life. It reminds me to have a positive outlook on the world and the intentions you set for yourself are likely to occur. 

1 comment:

  1. Tanya,
    I like that you talked about something we haven't really covered in class thus far. However, how realistic do you really think the self-fulfilling prophecy is? I do agree with you when you say that someone in a bad mood is much more likely to have a bad day, and someone in a good mood is more likely to have a good day.
    But sometimes, as with your pink jeep incident, you don't get something you want no matter how much you think you're going to get it. Also, even if you believe you're going to have a good day, you could still end up losing your keys or getting robbed. Of course I believe it's great to be optimistic--I'm just saying that sometimes you still can't control outside factors.