chapter  11
Four Unnatural Institutions and the Road Ahead
Pages 12

Since the time of Bodin, and certainly since Condorcet’s “Esquisse d’un tableau historique des progres de l’esprit humain,” men have gen­ erally assumed that there is a pattern to human history such that the future will differ from the past. That is a novel thought. Through most of the millennia of human history fundamental change was so slow that men’s natural assumption was that their world would not differ greatly from that of their great-grandfathers or that of their great-grandsons’. There were of, course, changes like famines, wars, floods, and epidem­ ics, but they followed no epochal laws or patterns. History could be conceived as “one damn thing after another.” Chronicles of these events there might be, but an epic of man with a plot of intrinsic evolution (and not just some magical creation) could only be conceived when individuals could perceive systematic change taking place within the time frame of their own comprehended experience.