We live in times of rapid change. Since we actually live day to day in these times, it's easy to lose sight of this fact. If you confronted yourself 5, 10, or 20 years ago and stated a salient fact or two, you would astonish and shock your old self.
Imagine that you had a time machine and could tell the people the following truths:
+ Go back 50 years, to 1960, and tell the Beatles that they would be the most influential musical group in history and that, half a century from then, there would be a announcement receiving worldwide attention that their music could now be purchased on billions of small computers. You probably should be kind enough not to mention that in 20 years, one of them will be gunned down in cold blood, and about twenty years after that, another would be almost fatally stabbed in his own house.
+ Return 30 years, to 1980, and tell the United States public, perpetually terrified of nuclear confrontation, that two big concerns within now-capitalist Russia are how the government is dealing with multi-billionaire Russian oligarchs and the fact that Moscow is the most expensive city in the world.
+ Teleport yourself to a decade ago to downtown Manhattan and tell the people staring up at the glimmering World Trade Center towers that next year they wouldn't even exist.
+ Go easy on your time machine and zoom back just five years. Find the teenager Mark Zuckerberg and tell him in just a few years he would be the world's youngest billionaire. While you're at it, burst onto the set of CNBC and tell them the world's biggest financial calamity was going to take place soon and that Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns would simply disappear.
All these things are true, and the recipients of this information would have considered you absolutely insane. They'd cart you off.
So I tell you now – – people living five, ten, and twenty years hence will know of events that I guarantee you would find impossible to believe. Some of them good; some of them bad. But they wouldn't be simply surprising or thought-provoking. You would find them unfathomable. So don't discount the infinite possibilities – again, good or bad – before us all.