Today, something good is going down. The University
of Houston's College of Engineering presents this
series about the machines that make our
civilization run, and the people whose ingenuity
It's in the air. It's on the
drum. I can feel it. Now and then, human affairs
undergo a great, sudden change. Revolutions swept
America and Europe at the end of the 18th century.
They changed the world beyond all recognition. A
new change, every bit as big, is touching the world
today, and just in time.
We've had too much of border wars, nuclear threat,
plagues, and famines. And they all trace to one
ill: putting up with domination. We've grown sick
to death of dictators and bosses, of rich
dominating the poor, men dominating women, and
races dominating each other. We want to be done
with domination, but up to now, it's seemed that
we've had no alternative.
Now the 1990's have brought in a great wave of near
bloodless political revolutions. The storm warning
in every one has been the inequality of wealth --
domination by the rich. And, at the same time,
we've made the most astonishing discovery.
We've looked more closely at the age from 25,000 BC
to 4000 BC. And there we find nothing at all to
match our myths about dominance. We find far better
technologies than we once thought were there. We
find no organized war. We find far greater economic
balance than we enjoy. We find no dominance by male
or female. We find widespread monotheism and a
female God. But chiefly, when we look deeply into
the Neolithic Era, we find a role model for a
harmonious society. We find that that dream might
be possible after all. Maybe it's already begun.
We recently took stock of our leadership in
Houston, Texas. We discovered that we had a female
mayor, a female police chief, a female Chamber of
Commerce president, a female school board
president, and many more. Then we hired a woman as
the new president of our university. Her first
words in that role were a pledge that the
university would be a humane place. She vowed that
there would be respect among students, faculty, and
staff. She was applauded, for that's what we all
ache to have in a world that's been deformed by
I feel a new hope today. Suddenly, we're making the
strongest revolution of all. It's a revolution in
which we tell the dominators that they are an
illusion. The mere recognition that life can have
harmony and equity is enough to make it happen.
We engineers know that we can build what we can
conceive. Whether it's a machine or a way of life,
we invariably do build in the world what we've
first built in our hearts. We're starting to see
that harmony might be within our reach after all.
And that's why I've never been more optimistic.
I'm John Lienhard, at the University of Houston,
where we're interested in the way inventive minds