Page 11

Today’s Wall Street Journal, the first section, the 11th page. There were two articles. I read them both and in an instant I thought of 1914. Here’s why.

The current reporting pertained to the tensions between the United States and Iran. Officials from Iran and 118 other nations are meeting in Russia. That’s where Iranian representatives are making their case to the crowd that they should build an alternative financial and economic system apart from any American influence. The scent of the potential for a major war is in the air.

The other article on the 11th page was a continuation of a front-page piece. It tells of Facebook’s efforts to launch a new crypto-currency named Libra. A consortium of globally influential companies is aiding the launch. The sight of a new form of money is glowing on the screen.

So how about 1914? Well, I immediately recalled seeing widespread reports in 1914 that told of rising European tensions that threatened to produce a war. At the same time, something reported in scattershot fashion was the curious pursuit of two new endeavors–one was Henry Ford’s automobile production in Detroit and other places while the other was moving pictures being made in southern California.

There are some things we instinctively sense can change our lives. They are part of who we are and what we know. The wars of nations, like the World War as it was called in 1914, are among these. There are other things, however, that are beyond our current view. They are new and their imprint is unknown. Yet they can hold as much power as traditional events in altering our lives. Sometimes more. Did cars and movies affect us much less than the World War? Not at all.

I’ll put the 11th page into the recycle bin along with the rest of the printed newspaper. Maybe relations between Iran and the US will improve. Maybe Libra will flop. But a day will come soon when a particular page will carry the stories that change our lives. Our children may have a clearer perspective than us in knowing the day’s arrival. We’re too close to the page.