Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Unexpected Drivers of History

Things we assume to be true mislead us the most. We assume that the world is orderly and things happen due to human planning and ingenuity, but history is often moved by human errors, unexpected manmade or natural events. In 1492, when Columbus departed on a voyage to discover the sea route to India, no one could have predicted that a navigational error would lead him to the island home of the Taíno in the Caribbean. 

No one foresaw the First World War, the quick dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the defeat of the Greeks in Anatolia and the rise of Turkey, the rise of Hitler, the loss of Churchill in the 1945 election, the sudden collapse of the British Empire, the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the spread of the Internet, and the rise of China. What will be the state of the world in the next decade, the next year, and even month—we can’t be certain. Something that no one foresees today might happen and completely transform the world, for better or worse. 

The rules we make, the political institutions we create, and the mass behavior we develop will not protect our society from chaos when a major unexpected event strikes. Unexpected events are the real drivers of history.

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