Sunday, June 03, 2012

The right stuff

The use of "sustainable" and "sustainability" took off in the 1970s.  Here is the N-gram.  Perhaps as the world becomes more dynamic, there has to be some backlash involving static and parochial perspectives.

The antidote is the amazing David Deutsch, in The Beginning of Infinity, who puts it this way:
... progress is sustainable, indefinitely. But only by people who engage in a particular kind of thinking and behavior -- the problem-solving and problem-creating kind characteristic of the Enlightenment.  And that requires the optimism of a dynamic society (p. 423, italics in the original).
Craig Venter, profiled in today's New York Times Magazine, appears to be one of the people Deutsch describes.

ADDED:  Ane here is one more guy who fits the mold.