Since it is Friday, the beginning of a new year (and I need the quotation to answer a charge of being a technological optimist (guilty!)): Here are the concluding paragraphs of David S. Landes incomparable The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (Abacus, 1998):
In this world the optimists have it, not because they are always right, but because they are positive. Even when wrong, they are positive, and that is the way of achievement, correction, improvement, and success. Educated, eyes-open optimism pays; pessimism can only offer the empty consolation of being right.
The one lesson that emerges is the need to keep trying. No miracles. No perfection. No millennium. No apocalypse. We must cultivate a skeptical faith, avoid dogma, listen and watch well, try to clarify and define ends, the better to choose means.