Stepping Into the Future

Ready for some time travel? Let's go back to the time of Christopher Columbus. We take a look around, then climb a hill. Notice how much farther we can see from up here. That's because of the curvature of the Earth, right? Then why are all those people insisting that the Earth is flat? Can't they climb a hill and look?

The trouble is, people didn't think like that back then. It was rare to have methods of thought to know what the evidence meant.

Let's travel to another time. Now people do know what the evidence means, but they do not fully trust it. They believe that doubt is inherent in the "human condition," and that certainty goes beyond confidence into arrogance. So politicians tell lies, and get elected anyway, because voters say, "Who am I to judge?" People do not fully understand how they turn observation into knowledge, so they mistrust the process and doubt the result.

Right! We are back in the present. Let's try the future. Now people are familiar with every step in the process of turning information into knowledge, and they check up on every step, so they have no reason to doubt the result. Certainty has become the norm. People are sure of themselves, so they insist on being free. They show impatience with our desire to discuss doubts. They want to be doing things

Did Columbus feel like a time traveler? If so, it was because he was sure of his convictions and wanted to be doing things. His mind was in a future of world circling travel.

Can you step into a future where you stop agonizing and start doing? Well, you can put your mind there. Thanks to Ayn Rand, you can learn every step in the process of grasping reality. Then you can perfect each step. That will substitute joy for agony, and accomplishment for aspiration.

Just as one can put on funny clothes and pretend to travel back in time, so one can put on a confident attitude and pretend to travel forward in time. But attitude is no substitute for action. The real stepping stones into the future are the steps of making concepts and validating inductions. The real time machine is reason.

Next Essay Previous Essay Essays Index Home