Posted by: Daniel McCurdy | March 10, 2013

Our Time and Place

Today’s post is about philosophical trends, specifically how we always think the new trend is better than the older. That is, at least in our youth. Take the example of a parent and child as an example. The child wants to do what is new and take on the new philosophical view of the day (even if they wouldn’t phrase it that way) just as the parents did in their youth. At the same time the parents yearn for what they have deemed the right and good old days (the truth is they probably did the same thing their kids are doing now). The kids view the old way as outdated and stodgy. This is also true of philosophical movements. People holding a postmodern viewpoint think that a modern viewpoint is outdated. A more insidious thought is that the postmodern viewpoint is inherently more developed and enlightened than a modern viewpoint.

The idea that this embraces is that through history humanity is constantly on the path of self improvement as a whole. Slowly but surely we are growing as a race. Examples that could be given are the reduction of slavery, racism, and women’s rights. Now, it is true that as a country we have made many advances, it certainly isn’t my intention to talk down the work that has been done on racism and sexism. However, I do not think that we are so much more advanced than people of the past.

Take the example of slavery, which is illegal in our country. But I would say that we certainly still support slavery, and many people would support me in this. The reason that we are able to keep the cost down on so many items is because we ship out production to other countries. While we don’t have slaves on plantations anymore we do support a new type of slavery. (Feel free to disagree with me here and leave a comment).

Another pattern I have noticed is that because we are more technologically advanced than other societies, we are inherently more advanced in all ways. Not only does this lead to a sense of superiority towards other countries, but the past. I do not think that the thoughts of people in the past were so different from our own thoughts.

People are people no matter the time and place. The core of the challenges, and good things that people face now are the same ones that people have faced all through time. The face of the problem is different due to different cultures, but I would guess that we are not so far removed from our ancestors. The sense of superiority that people have about our current era bothers me some because it assumes we are so much better than others.

Do you think we are more developed than those who have come before? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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