June 11, 2009 10:44AM

Walking Is Controlled Falling Forward

People walk by propelling themselves forward in a way that would cause them to fall, then swinging a leg ahead to prevent the collapse.

So it is with innovation and economic progress. Change comes in a way that threatens to land us on our faces, but we swing a leg forward and find ourselves further advanced than before.

I was reminded of this today when I saw the Washington Post headline about the digital television transition: “Digital TV Ready to Rule the Tube, Leaving Some Viewers in the Dark.”

If it’s true that 3,000,000 homes in the U.S. will find their TV screens blank on Saturday — and if the people in those homes care — they’ll swing a leg forward by getting a digital TV converter, and the march to progress will continue.

If you think about falling forward in isolation, it looks like a bad idea, and earlier this year Congress delayed the DTV transition. Thank goodness we’ll get to take that step now.