A lot of 9/11-related stuff came out today, much of it saying the same things that have been said a dozen times before.
Which is why the item to which I point you is this one:
The biggest thing I personally remember, in my individual reaction, was how so many things I was doing suddenly felt futile. I was trying to write a Biostatistics exam when my then-chair came around and told us they were closing down the university for the day and we all needed to go home.
(To this day, I don’t know if that was done out of respect for the loss of life, or out of concern there might be more things going to happen.)
And I found myself wondering: In the world that is coming, will we need Biostatistics? What is the point of learning about probability when something that seemed impossible just happened? Shouldn’t I rather be teaching my students what basic first aid I know, and what plants are medicinal, and how to grow and find and hunt your own food? That was actually where my mind went: “Could we be witnessing the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it?”
I honestly don’t know. But if at the time it seemed the end was near, nothing that’s happened in the thirteen years since can make me think the end is any farther away.