A Point of View © 1996
The Borders between today and tomorrow.
By Paul V. Montesino, PhD., MBA, ICCP.
There are moments in the long record of human history that act like borders between what was and what is or will be. There are no armed guards at those borders, only observers who warn us against crossing them for one reason or another.
In fact, people do not always recognize or acknowledge them, and it takes time to realize that the old territory is no more, and we are in fresh territory. What is more important, there is no way to return to the old. The adage that you can never go back home applies here. Butterflies never shed their wings to become caterpillars again. It is not that they are ashamed of their ancestors, it is that flying away is the new now.
It happened in the fifteen hundreds with the development of the printing press when Rumbo’s ancestor was born. To communicate our ideas, it was necessary to use our best oratory skills in front of our audiences or express them visually. When churches commissioned the best painters, sculptors, or artisans available to create colorful glass windows, paintings or sculptures displaying biblical figures and their stories they were recognizing the limitation of those who could not read. Not reading the words of God in the Bible was not a blasphemous or sacrilegious religious heretical offense, it was simply illiteracy.
The moment the printing press made it easier to spread the word around in writing, it became critical not only to learn how to write, but to learn how to read as well, and ideas started to compete intellectually and morally with each other. Should we be surprised when we see the enemies of that competition trying to destroy those writings by burning books?
But the migration over borders did not stop with printing technology, there was more, and we can see it around us in most fields of human endeavor. Aviation is one example.
On December 17 of 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Wilbur, and Oliver Wright, both brothers, proved that humans didn’t have to crawl, walk, or even jump only, we were destined to fly as well. That, of course, required a substantial change not only in capability, we didn’t have wings, but in attitude about what was possible if not probable. We had to create those wings.
But create those wings they did. In the plane they designed, the passengers and the pilots were the same persons. There were no First and Economy sections, flight attendants were on the ground, not aboard. There were no reservations, no in-cabin movies, no drinks, or peanuts available, and no frequent flyer programs.
Flights would take off, but no one could guarantee to land in undamaged shape. No insurance company worthy of its reputation and financial success could dare insure the occupants.
Today, when we walk through the vast terminals that serve our flying public, no one thinks, never mind remembers or mentions the Wright Brothers. In fact, for a long-time, aviation engineers have tried to recreate the same conditions, weather-wise and technically, of that December accomplishment and have been unsuccessful. It seems to me that borders are not available full-time. We have only rare opportunities to cross them and then they are gone.
It should remind us to look closely at so many borders available in our lives that make it possible to cross from where we are and where we can be and make us better human beings. The horizon is infinite. Choose yours and go beyond without looking back.
And that is my point of view today. So long.