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February 14, 2020 / Congau

Present Perspective

We now know better. We look at the past and laugh. Even our own past, just a few years back, we smile at indulgently in light of the improved knowledge that time has given us. No one thinks like that anymore. If we don’t remember what we used to say and think, and that is more likely, we are just comfortably in tune with the time half believing that everyone else just happens to imitate us.

Couple this with the widespread relativism of today, and we get an impossible mixture of self-satisfied insistence and indifference: I am right, the times are right, and nothing is right.

There is just no self-evident reason to believe in the progress of ideas, but many people seem to take it for granted. Science develops and new technology appears, but the search for truth does not run parallel to such superficial occurrences. Maybe most of it is a distraction; maybe the medieval period was closer to realizing the truth, or maybe the Greeks got it right or the ancient Chinese.

Is it likely that we are living in the best time of history? Simple probability speaks against it, unless we just assume that everything always gets better. But to believe that we are obliged to deny even our recent past. We must forget our thoughts from yesterday when things looked so different.

Looking back at news reports from just a few years back, not to mention decades ago, reveals a world that had different concerns and a different perception of what was relevant. It is as outdated as the fashionable clothes we used to wear that we now find quite unattractive.

We find ourselves in a present unconnected to the past and we approve of it without making comparisons. What is, just is, and so it must be right.


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