2007 : WHAT ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC ABOUT?

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Emeritus School Professor, The London School of Economics; Author, Soul Dust
Psychologist, London School of Economics; Author, Seeing Red

The Best Is Yet To Come

If I had lived in the year 1007, and had been asked what I looked forward to for my descendants in the next millennium, I might have imagined many wonderful possibilities. But I would not — because I could not — have imagined the music of Mozart, the painting of Rothko, the sonnets of Shakespeare, the novels of Dostoyevsky. . . It means I would have failed to see one of the best reasons of all for being optimistic: which is, the power of human artistic genius to astonish us again and again. I will not make the same mistake twice. So let me say straight out, in 2007 I hope and expect that the best is yet to come: that greater works of art than any the world has ever seen will be created by human beings not far ahead of us — works of presently unimaginable aesthetic and moral force. And, mind you, it will not require genetic modification, computer hybridization, high-tech brain enhancement or whatever — it will simply require that we continue to be the kind of people that we are.