Pretty much any interesting/useful/beautiful human achievement you can think of was at first impossible. Mass-printing books? You’re crazy. Sailing ships across the oceans? No way. Putting a man on the surface of the freaking moon? That one still gets me.
This quote is so clear and to-the-point: it is perfect from a writing perspective.
But can you picture JFK getting up on stage at Rice University in 1962, saying, “Every noble work is at first impossible… let’s go to the moon.” and then just leaving? 😆 I guess politics requires a little more bombast.
Nobody tells a great story like Throughline. This podcast gives new twists on old stories, from ancient collapses of civilization to modern controversies. Every story is a slice of history told with a tight narrative and professional production, including deft use of sound effects. This is not some dude blabbing about history.
In their episode about Tenochtitlan, they dive deep into the brutal Spanish conquest of Mexico. They start out describing ancient Aztect capital of Tenochtitlan (aka Mexico City) as an immense ancient metropolis, one of the largest cities in the world at the time (and now). It is full of towering temples, canals, schools, and a Venice-like network of waterways for transport and irrigation and composting. This is a city that smells sweet.
The Aztecs are advanced and powerful, but they can be pretty brutal conquerers themselves and have made plenty of their own local enemies.
Then the Spanish show up. ⚔️ It’s a fascinating and pretty terrifying story.
Here’s a pretty fascinating story about the collapse of the complex, globalized society of the late Bronze Age around 1200 BC. As we’re facing climate change, political polarization, and a raging virus, it’s an interesting listen. 😬
About 3000 years ago, it got bad. There was famine, drought, and earthquakes. And worst of all, the mysterious Sea People were attacking out of nowhere without warning or mercy. ⚔️
But this chaos eventually became a rebirth that led to the alphabet, iron working, monotheism, the Greek and Roman empires, etc. Basically, Western civilization.
The historian notes that, more often than not, civilization pulls back from the brink before it gets toooo bad, so he’s optimistic.