Sunday, November 22, 2009

vital question

"The really vital question for us all is, What is this world going to be? What is life eventually to make of itself?"

--William James, Pragmatism

In 1938, some people thought we'd be living in a bubble by now. I'm glad they missed that call. Maybe we want to speculate not so much about the particular details of the material culture of tomorrow, but should concern ourselves with what kinds of people we'll be. Will we still be killing one another over our different ideas about what life ought eventually to make of itself?

On this day in 1963, most Americans would have said the prospects were dim. How much more sordid (but also splendid) history has passed in four-plus decades. Let us hope, and work, for the best that is yet to be.

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