Lately there’s been all sorts of claims made about people, events, discoveries, artworks, speeches, movies and even lyrics that apparently ‘Changed The World.’
But did ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ change anything other than Mick Jagger’s bank balance?
It’s got me thinking: what actually does Change The World?
Inventions do. Fire, metal, agriculture, writing, contraception, antibiotics, the microchip… these ideas transformed our planet in ways we are still only realising; even the greatest artwork of all time has not shaped history to the extent that plumbing has. So technology makes my list.
Religion is on there, too, if only for the thousands of wars that have been (and continue to be) fought in its name. The impact of our assorted faiths and superstitions has been so great I cannot imagine what our world would have been without them… although I often try.
If technology and religion make the list then whoever created them do as well, the inventors and innovators, prophets and saints. And then there are those who unwittingly shaped whole centuries in the heat of a single moment; the man who assassinated Archduke Ferdinand pulled the trigger on WWI, destroyed four European empires and completely redefined the 20th century. But when asked why, he said:
“I do not remember what I thought at that moment.”
So what DOES Change The World?
Sometimes it’s thought, imagination and genius
Sometimes it’s thoughtlessness, superstition and stupidity.
Both work. But only one can Change The World for the better.