Michel Pireu Columnist

Mark Lilla, a professor of humanities at Columbia University, began an article in The New York Times in May with a quote from Thomas Hobbes: “The best prophet is the best guesser.”

“That would seem to be the last word on our capacity to predict the future,” says Lilla. “We can’t. But it is a truth we have never been able to accept. People facing immediate danger want to hear an authoritative voice they can draw assurance from; they want to be told what will occur, how they should prepare, and that all will be well. We are not well designed, it seems, to live in uncertainty.”

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