And making an exception only for his parents, he gradually became
contemptuous of all grownups who had made this mess and were unable to clear
it up. He was sure that when he was big he would straighten it all out.
–Boris Pasternak, from “Dr. Zhivago”
Spending the holidays with family consistently invokes in me a pensive mood. The usual unquestioning inertia of work done for its own sake is replaced by a deeper context. Seeing the effects of aging, the universal struggle for happiness, and the deep bonds of family, I’m forced to reevaluate the importance of what I’ve been striving towards.
For a brief period of lucidity, I’ll understand that people and meaningful relationships between people are what is most important, and that money and success are passing vanities. Inevitably, as I return to my routine this wisdom fades away yet again.
So, while that flickering idealism remains at the forefront, I remember that years back I dreamed of changing the world for the better. I think we all have had this naive dream at some time. But this youthful dream becomes trampled; there are no easy solutions to the most difficult problems, and humanity consistently falls far short of its potential.
Still, we live in a time of increasingly powerful technologies, and many of us are riding the crest of its wave. So we have some say in how it will crash and shape the future.
Let’s leverage technology to make this a better place somehow.