We’re dipping into the archive today to re-visit a Trail Baboon post from two years ago. Did you realize that next month this online conversation will have been going on for five years? That’s just an eye blink in the vast span of human history, but it represents a prodigious amount of tippy-tapping on various keyboards throughout Baboon-land.
Today is the anniversary of two cataclysms, the Sack of Rome in 1527 and the explosion of the Hindenburg in Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937. Both were sudden and somewhat unexpected, though there were hints of what was to come – Rome had been sacked before (in 410) and a string of other hydrogen-filled airships had already crashed and burned.
Still, one always hopes for the best and an optimistic soul is surprised when things turn out otherwise.
In our time, the Hindenburg is a better-known calamity, but only because there isn’t compelling footage of the Sack of Rome.
Historians say the Sack of Rome marked the end of Italy’s High Renaissance, and significantly pushed forward the protestant reformation. The Hindenburg disaster called an abrupt end to the development of rigid airships – most certainly those filled with hydrogen.
So it goes.
Although we try to prevent catastrophic events and want to have some positive influence over the great changes that sweep over our world, it often feels that we are stuck in the role of an interested, but powerless, observer. Perhaps this explains the popularity of parallel-world games like Minecraft, where one can start from scratch and construct an environment with just a few elements, an assortment of building blocks, and a blank canvas.
You could take advantage of this technology to try to build a make-believe world without Kings, Armies, Popes, Nazis and New Jersey. But you’d still probably need gravity, fire, hunger, ambition and hydrogen.
Things might turn out pretty much the same.
Is there such a thing as creative destruction?