A hope note
Woody Allen charged his audience of college graduates: ‘More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.’
Looking down the road, like Woody Allen, sometimes we can see no good possibilities. It’s relatively easy to make educated guesses and go with probabilities. But occasionally a far-out possibility trumps the odds. Was there one person on the planet who predicted that the George Mason University basketball team would be in the 2006 NCAA Final Four, and all four top seeds absent?
Who looked at Teddy Roosevelt the child-asthmatic, nearsighted, tutored at home because he was too sickly to attend school ‘ and believed he would grow up to be a war hero, a president and title his most famous speech ‘The Strenuous Life’?
First-century Roman engineer Sextus Julius Frontinus, when the empire was at its peak, wrote: ‘Inventions have reached their limit, and I see no hope for further progress.’
In 1899, President McKinley was advised to close the U.S. Patent Office because, according to the commissioner of patents, Charles Duell: ‘Everything that can be invented has been invented.’
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, said in 1943: ‘I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.’
Remember Sextus Julius Frontinue or Tom Watson or President McKinley or George Mason University next time you think the future is a lock.