If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
—ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY
In the course of the last five thousand years, we’ve traveled across innumerable generations, each one marking its unique place in history and time. Some transformed the world, while others were simply part of an indistinguishable continuum from one generation to the next.
Yet we have no doubt that many felt their point in history was an apex for humankind—a place from which great change and grave decisions would shape the future—perhaps even end it. Some were right, such as those who lived through the great enlightenment ...