The Problem with “This Is the Way Things Are Done”

James Walpole/ July 16, 2020

About half of everything we do and take for granted in modern society is probably less than 100 years old (e.g. watching television). Another half of that is probably less than 50 (e.g. using computers). Some things we now take for granted are less than 20 years old (e.g. using smartphones, etc).

So it’s hard for anyone with a sense of history to take seriously the claim that much of what we do is “the way things are done.”

The healthcare industry, cars, public schooling, processed food, movies, 24-hour news, commuting – all these things are extremely new in the hundred-thousands years history of humanity. The idea that everyone should just get on board the train and ride with no questions or complaints is rather silly.

I am more willing to take seriously the arguments of traditionalists with regard to the value of things like agrarianism, even though this too is a relatively recent invention (11,000 years or so).

Newness does not make a thing bad by nature, but it does leave it open to question. Relative newness does too.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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