Monday, November 09, 2015

Attention span

As this excellent XKCD cartoon illustrates, it's funny how human beings love to see things through rose tinted spectacles.

Many people constantly bang on about how bad things are today compared to the past, many have an attitude that the older something is the more likely it is to be true or worthy. It's a perspective that's heavily influenced by personal circumstances (we can all think of people who are having a bad time) but when we look at the big picture, i.e. the average, then now is probably the best time there has ever been to be a human constituent on planet Earth.

There's a lot to be happy about and yet many people still prefer to believe that the past was better. Many political manifestos are even built on this concept and for most faith based organisations and systems this idea seems foundational. Of course we must remember that golden geese aren't immortal, the value of our stock can go down as well as up so learning from the mistakes of the past is essential to our future success. Investment is key IMO, as every successful business person knows to survive in the long term you need to invest in the down market and save in an up market. This is why I believe that the current debate on science funding is critical, we need to make sure that the current climate of austerity doesn't constrain investment unnecessarily, we won't succeed in the future if we continually gaze in the rear view mirror.

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