Who Will Shape the Future?

René Dubos, “The Unbelievable Future,” So Human an Animal: How We are Shaped by Surroundings and Events, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1968), pp. 21-22:

Frequently in the past the son rejected what the father had taken for granted, and civilization thus took a step forward. Beatniks, hipsters, teddy boys, provos, hooligans, blousons noirs, and the countless types of rebellious youths are probably as ignorant, foolish, and irresponsible as conventional people believe them to be. But conventionality rarely has the knack of guessing who will shape the future. The substantial citizens of Imperial Rome and the orthodox Jews of the synagogue looked down on the small tradesmen, fishermen, beggars, and the prostitutes who followed Jesus as he preached contempt for the existing order of things. Yet Imperial Rome and the Temple collapsed, while Jesus’ followers changed the course of history.

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