Crimson opinion writer
Roman C. Ugarte
When you think of society as some type of swarm consciousness — a group of billions of individual actors motivated by their own incentives — it’s easy to take a fatalistic view. Whether it’s in scope, size, or speed of impact, we tend to underestimate the role an individual (again, read: “you”) can play. We shouldn’t.
It’s hard to know where this is all headed. One thing is clear, though: This should change both what and how we choose to learn. If, at Harvard or elsewhere, you have the opportunity to expand your global knowledge, pick up useful — but perhaps not practical — skills, and invest in your taste, you should take it.
The more troubling story of the pandemic — and one that we must acknowledge — is the way that society steamrolled over this uncertainty and enforced adherence to a single, majority view. Particularly for us, as students of a university that has truth in its motto, this turn to dogmatism above critical thinking should be unacceptable.
There are two tailwinds that continue to support China’s climb. While the first tailwind — China's rapidly growing economy — is well-understood, the second tailwind is not. Technology is an equally powerful force reinforcing China’s growth, but not in the way you might expect.
We see a pattern emerge: Discomfort accompanies progress. In many ways, it is a great proxy for innovation. It is important to relearn this fact after having airbrushed the hardship and discomfort out of the history of progress. If we don’t, we risk seeing our current challenges as unique and unsurmountable.