The definition of the word means “knowing events or information before it is available,” but the word is usually used to mean “having a sense of what is coming.” Like me, having a sick feeling despite all the surveys, Hillary was not going to win. It is also prescient knowing that the little squirrel is hiding in the branch of that tree, waiting for me to stop waiting by the window so he can come back for more black seeds.
We have one young one who is totally hooked on black sunflower seeds and will settle for nothing else. He would be there 24 hours a day if I didn’t occasionally come outside and tell him he really needs to move on.
Prescient is that feeling you get when someone very sick is going to die … you just “feel” it. I’ve often watched my dogs communicate with each other. Without words, they seem to know what the others want — or they are letting them know what’s happening with just a nose-to-nose sniff.
Animals use non-verbal communication constantly. It isn’t prescient … it’s just non-verbal communications that I bet we could use if we wanted to. I suspect we did, too, before we started to chatter all the time. I think we all could, like our dogs, tell each other “things” without words or formal knowledge. We still do it. Couples use “the look” a lot. It’s the look which says “let’s split” or “that guy’s an idiot.” We know the look, we know its meaning. We pick right up on it.
So we are all prescient at some level.
Can I read tomorrow’s news without a newspaper? Sure I can. Trump will do something insulting and evil while everyone acts as if it’s normal. England will still not know what to do about Brexit. Half the world will hate refugees and the other half will be refugees.
Most foreknowledge is solidly based on past knowledge. You know what always happens, so you have no doubts what is about to happen. Is that prescience or experience? Both?
These days, I think our whole world is prescient.