The future, never in past tense

Peter Jennings took a smoke break, his first in years, from 9/11 live coverage. It was the beginning of his end. The Canadian co-author of “The Century” must have studied the Wright brothers, whose invention could lift itself up into thin air albeit for just a few blocks. But he had never seen anything like the two planes that aimed low that morning.

In the decade since, from Steve Jobs (the I-series) to Steve Chen (Youtube),

from Facebook to Twitter founders, we have seen a new breed of inventors.

Instead of fixating on the hunt for an old man, wrapped in blanket with a remote control, watching makeshift propaganda videos of himself (BL), these digital natives followed the trail to the future.

They limit data transmission to short bursts (140 characters) or miniaturize play-back device (I-pod) while charging only 99 cents per song. Search has evolved from generic to semantic and shopping from global E-Bay to local (Zagat).

Rattled? Yes.

Deterred? Hardly.

Five stages of grief, processed in one fell swoop (in less than a decade).

What evil didn’t plan, was for the very invention in the West, be used against dictators in the MidEast.

(Arab Spring propagated and went tweet-viral in Egypt, birth place of caliphate).

You can take down a building, but not its blueprint.

Yes, there were people who ran down the stairs to safety, and stayed there in the past.

But there were also 343 heroes who ran up the stairs, 43 more than at Gates of Fire, to “fight (fire) in the shade” .

Just as the analog stairway (Encyclopedia Britannica, book stacks) shows the way down, the digital one (Wikipedia, Skype) points to “the sky is the limit”.

In the decade since, we have started “friending” each other, made possible by another Harvard drop-out, whether we were from NYC or not, just because we all share in a future, that will never be conjugated in past tense.

How I wish to have “followed” Peter Jennings on Twitter to read his post-9/11 reflections!


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