The Setting

In the film Paycheck, Ben Affleck is a researcher of new inventions. After having collaborated in the creation of a machine that predicts the future, he realizes that simple prediction become self-fulfilling prophecies

Teaching Perspective

The most important phrase of the scene is:
“We give over control of our lives completely”
We effectively give it over to what we expect.  As long as our perspectives are positive there would not be a problem, but we have to deal with predictions influenced by our past.
When talking about results they are expecting, many people say: “I know it’s going to be…” and they unconsciously put into place all the actions that bring them to that result.
Everybody’s story is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  In personal growth and psychology, it is also known  as the “Pygmalion effect” or “Rosenthal theory”.
“The machine predicts a war, and we go to war to avert it.  It predicts a plague, we held all the sick together, create a plague.  Whatever future this predicts, we make happen”
The prophecy becomes the cause triggering off the effect, like in the case of a trainee who believes that what the trainer say is useless, and therefore does not take notes, does not ask questions, and does not participate if not to disagree.  In this way, his prophecy becomes true.



Buy the film

Buy the recommended book

"Paycheck" A film directed by John Woo with Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman, Aaron Eckhart. USA 2003

"When Everything Changes, Change Everything: In a Time of Turmoil, a Pathway to Peace ", by Neale Donald Walsch

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