“Even the very wise cannot see all ends,” Gandalf told Frodo in “The Fellowship of the Ring.”
At this moment, the tendency to predict the future can be overwhelming. News is dominated by questions of when the pandemic will end, what course it will take, and what it will change. We hear the world will never be the same again – from energy use to office spaces to education.
Undoubtedly there will be change, but in his article, “I Predict Your Predictions Are Wrong,” the Atlantic’s Yascha Mounk notes how resilient humanity is. Change is a powerful force, but so is continuity. And when it comes to predicting the path of the coronavirus, The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof notes that “nonexperts are supremely confident in their predictions, while epidemiologists keep telling me that they don’t really know much at all.”
The point is not to alarm. But as Mr. Kristof says, it is to start with humility. Each moment presents an opportunity to put aside fears and be guided by reason, wisdom, and humanity. That brings its own kind of certainty. “Humanity will survive this pandemic,” writes Mr. Mounk. “In its aftermath, as after so many other disasters, we will learn to thrive anew.”
Get unlimited Monitor journalism.Learn more