Cassandra’s Paradox

Seeing the future is problematic from an occupational perspective.

I often joke my departure (from most any job) as being Cassandra’s Paradox. Unlike other terms involving Cassandra, the paradox is truly a puzzle of relative loss – as opposed to focusing on audience disbelief.

If you are looking at and planning future operations, they haven’t happened. Connections and paths forward you see aren’t considered by others, or they likely would already have been done.*

So if the person seeing those connections is no longer present to see them, what is the loss? Nothing was built from those insights yet, chances are they hadn’t been fully fleshed out or considered. Can we miss what we never knew as possible?

This is similar to the comparison of a blind person from birth comparing notes on colour with another who was blinded by circumstance. The latter had seen, become familiar with and has reference for something now missed. The former can’t truly miss blue skies.

Cassandra’s Paradox is knowing something will be missed, but not knowing what that something is. It’s missing what could be without understanding what could be. It’s missing the person who can see possible.

Would we know Cassandra if she’d never seen the future to start with?


*Why corporatese should be focused on mindfulness rather than vision in their public statements and whatnot. The former is firmly entrenched in what is, rather than what can/ will be. Truth in messaging.