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Dr Pangloss

The immunising memory

By Brian Eno   April 2009

If the gift of youth is originality and boldness, the gift of experience is what JK Galbraith called “the immunising memory”—the caution that follows from living through painful events. In a reasonable world, the boldness of youth would be balanced by the wisdom of experience, so that society neither explodes in a flurry of incompatible revolutionary ideas nor ossifies in a frozen consensus. It’s when the balance fails that things go wrong. It failed on a truly grand scale over the last couple of decades. First there was the dotcom bubble, a modern tulipmania, followed by two young leaders, aglow…

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