1.) Event A happens, which was predicted by almost no one (except sometimes when its immediate antecedents were given, and even then…)
2.) Predictions pour in that B will follow from A somewhere down the line, though not as an immediate consequence. B is some marvelous Utopia or apocalyptic hellhole. The arguments for B are all logical, the parallel cases to what happened the last time are airtight and convincing. The experts are enthusiastic and/or solemn.
3.) We become concerned and anxious, consume news media and watch more ads, don’t realize that we’re buying more shampoo. Resisting this while it happens is as impossible as not being unnerved by finding a giant spider in the bathroom.
4.) We muddle along, move on to the next shiny event A prime, the world stays the same as it ever was.
5.) Goods and evils arise out of the actual event A in complex, muddled, largely unforeseen ways. Historians looking back at A find it far more difficult to trace out lines of causality than those who had the infinitely harder task of figuring out where the lines of causality would go before they happened.