Where the media end and you begin
In the information ether, choices proliferate - and the accumulation of choices made is world-changing.
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When the information sources were few - think Adrian in 1910 - only a few people owned them, and they decided what you would receive. Today there are plenty of big media owners, but there are so many information sources that they control just a tiny share of the flow. Then who holds the controls? You do - at the receiving end. You decide what you want to know, and you go get it. And nobody can stop you. This individual power is unprecedented.Skip to next paragraph
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But wait - if billions of people suddenly can get any information they want, won't they make a lot of bad choices? Yes, they will. Everyone does, at one time or another.
Even so, we can be confident that the world emerging will be a better place than before. It is fundamentally healthy, intrinsically right, for people to be able to choose their own information and make their own choices. Why? My newspaper's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, put it this way: "God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience." Those are the basic tools of human progress; we all have them. Give us better information, and most of us, most of the time, will make better choices.
What does this mean for you? The greatest source of human progress in this century will be the release of pent-up human intelligence, creativity, and productivity. You are the cream of that untapped reserve. You have crucial assets and advantages:
• An excellent education.
• Freedom of choice in a free society.
• Unlimited access to global information resources.
• A strong, stable economy with more kinds of employment possibilities than any other in the world.
A final overlooked asset is that you have learned how to learn. Maybe you thought you'd be done learning once you received your diploma. In this fast-changing century, you'll need your learning skills all your life. Change will come upon you again and again, wanted or not, and learning will be your most effective response.
You can make it easier by deciding right now that change isn't your enemy, but your friend, because it invites you to tap more of your ability. And you'll need to, because billions of others will be doing the same.
The fact is, you have skills and abilities right now that you have not yet imagined. You have barely begun to imagine what you can become if you continue to grow.
Of course, it's optional. You could get a dead-end job and play Party Poker four hours a day. The rest of humanity wouldn't know or care - but you would. Your powers of self-government, reason, and conscience would urge you in better directions. The best direction you can go is toward growth - and you're the only person who can make that choice for you. Growth is adding to your knowledge and skills, looking for what you find rewarding and valuable, and making progress at it.
Graduates, don't be afraid - all this change will come at you just one decision at a time. You have the education, the information skills, the self-government, reason, and conscience to handle it. You have the ability to make good decisions.
In this era of innovations and breakthroughs, you'll be able to explore more options than the most privileged members of past generations. And so we send you forth with our sincerest blessings, into a lifelong adventure. You have all the tools you need to make it rich, rewarding, fun, and satisfying.
Graduates, go make the world your own.