Dead ends

Bret Victor: ‘We are ants crawing on a tree branch. Most ants are happy to be on the branch, and happy to be moving forward. But there are a few special ants that, somehow, are able to see a bigger picture. And they can see that this branch is a dead end. They can see that if we really want to move forward, we’ll have to backtrack a long ways down. They usually have a hard time explaining this to the ants that can only see the branch they’re on. For them, the path ahead appears to go on forever.’

The point here is that it’s sometimes surprising that the things we do today — everything we consider progress towards a better future — might ultimately turn out to be useless. Even if it sounds absurd to say so today.