I like to divide prophets and futurists (for they are similar professions) into two groups. The first is those who are simply mad and without conscious thoughts report what they perceive and interpret about worlds seen and unseen, usually with a hearty dash of paranoia or megalomania. The second are those who consciously perceive and project patterns that most of the rest of us cannot see. The former gaze into worlds within. The latter inspect the worlds without.
Most prophets are souls troubled by religious conviction or faulty body chemistry.
Most futurists are writers with a sharp eye, and a healthy dose of skepticism and often, because of what they can see and predict, an unsettling dose of fatalism.
The debate between the influences of the Muse and of madness will no doubt continue, as the veils between worlds are thinnest for those who see and feel the most. Now science is throwing back the veils and even the heavy drapery so that we can peer into the reasons Why and How of the What we have empirically always known. We no longer need angels and demons and spirits and dieties to give grounding to things we did not understand.
Like very young children who begin to grasp the concepts of Agency [something must be making that tree bend in the wind, what is the source of that noise in the closet...surely someone is doing it] and Object Permanence [peekaboo demonstrates that just because we don't see it doesn't mean it isn't still there]. Out of these concepts can sprout the invisible friends so common to the young and religions so common to us all.
Though many writers may cross and recross the boundaries between genius and lunacy and often live astradle the wavering fence, there predominates the ability to imagine, to foretell and to explain.
Fiction writers bring us perspective on our present, our past, and our future.
The most fascinating perspectives are about the future, that unknown territory, the maleable mass and energy, the equivocations of the mind and heart when actions taken can change a day, a relationship, a life, a world, an entire universe.