I’m not naive enough to think that my generation is the first to experience depression. T.S. Eliot wrote his poem “The Hollow Men” a hundred years ago. A hundred years before that, a surge in mental illness was blamed on newly-invented trains. “Scientists” theorized that the vibrations literally shattered one’s nerves.
When Alexander Fleming first published his discovery of penicillin, no one really noticed. When Xerox executives first got a look at the Alto — the machine that would become the model for the Macintosh seven years later — they didn’t see what the big deal was. When Jim Allison first showed pharmaceutical executives his idea for cancer immunotherapy, not one would invest in it.
The problem is that most people start with the pedestal, because it’s what they know. And by building it, they can show early progress against a timeline. Unfortunately, building a pedestal gets you nowhere. Unless you can actually train the monkey, working on the pedestal is wasted effort.