I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy. Especially when I see evidence all around me of brilliant minds hard at work solving “intractable” problems, I freely admit that I’m an optimist. The human capacity to destroy ourselves is eclipsed by the human capacity to creatively collaborate, and to dig ourselves out of the mess.
And since writing is what do, I’ve wanted to do a big-picture book on this, for many years. Last month, I started writing an essay on this, and I think it will evolve into the proposal for my ninth book.
To give you a bit of inspiration on this snowy afternoon (here in Massachusetts, anyway), I want to share two sentences from a section of the essay entitled “Throw Away Assumptions”:
Assumption, 18th century: humans can travel no faster than the fastest horse. Reality: humans aboard the International Space Station have traveled at 17,247 miles per hour; future technologies such as warp-space drives and tesseracts, imagined by speculative fiction writers, could potentially take us orders of magnitude faster.
Shifting our attitudes from the impossibility of going more than 15 or 20 miles an hour to hurtling through space at more than 17,000 mph took a couple of centuries. With today’s future-think mindset, solving the problems of the world ought to be a whole lot quicker. Especially considering the consequences of failure.