Imagine that you are lost in the woods with friends. Not a little city or county park, but a wilderness of thousands of acres. It’s a dark, stormy day, so you can get no fix on direction from the position of the sun, and one of your party has a life-threatening illness, making your situation all that much more frightening.
Stumbling around, you come to a river, and by some apparent miracle, there is a boat tied up onshore, large enough to hold all of you. One of your party assures the rest that heading downstream is your best possible chance for survival. Eventually the river will come to some kind of civilization, where help will be available. Food, warmth. Rescue. Survival!
It makes sense, you all agree. You get in the boat, push off from shore, and begin to drift with the current.
The storm continues. As rain lashes your crowded little storm-tossed craft, the sense of urgency increases, and drifting with the current seems too slow a pace. Everyone now puts hands in the water and paddles furiously to speed the boat to safety downstream.
Meanwhile, the roaring wind in the trees along the river seems to increase along with your speed. The noise becomes deafening – just as your boat tumbles over a waterfall, crashing on rocks below. Some of the party are dashed on the rocks, others drowned. Perhaps one or two survive to tell the tale.
You did not intend death and destruction. You intended survival for all. If you’d had a map of the river, you could have foreseen the waterfall.
Unfortunately, there is no map to the future. The best we can do is to learn from the past. Or repeat its most hellish episodes.