Monday, November 10, 2008

Making Culture: Quote from Chapter 3

from page 58

" earthquakes, revolutions are much better at destroying than building.  There is an important asymmetry here, whose roots go all the way down to the laws of physics: It is possible to change things quickly for the worse.  It only took two hours after the collision between a 767 and the South Tower of the World Trade Center to destroy it.  But no one can build the World trade Center in two hours.  the only thing you can do with Rome in a day is burn it.

The revolutionaries - and terrorists - of the world put their hope in cataclysmic evens.  But they are likely to be disappointed by the long-term effects of their actions.  After the 2005 bombings in the London Underground, the Economist observed, No city ... can stop terrorists altogether.  What can be said, though, is that terrorists are unable to stop cities, either."  the attacks of September 11, 2001, undoubtedly set in motion huge, and very likely tragic, changes.  But they did not change as much as all of us who witnessed them thought they would.  At the largest scale of culture, even horrific revolutionary events cannot easily destroy.  All the more so, the most beneficial events possibly have little positive effect in the short run." (emphasis mine)

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