There is in the world today a great and mysterious force that shapes the fortunes of millions of people. It is called the stock market. There are people who claim to have special insights into this force. They are called stock analysts. Most of them have often been wrong about the market’s future behavior, and many of them have been wrong most of the time. In fact, it’s not clear that their advice is worth anything at all. Reputable economists have argued that you’re better off picking stocks randomly than seeking guidance from stock analysts; either way it’s the blind leading the blind, but in one case you don’t have to pay a commission.
Nonetheless, stock analysis is a profitable line of work, even for some manifestly inept practitioners. Why? Because whenever people sense the presence of a puzzling and momentous force, they want to believe there is a way to comprehend it. If you can convince them that you’re the key to comprehension, you can reach great stature. [...]
The term most often applied to these [...] experts is “shaman.”
The Evolution of God, de Robert Wright