• TheHedoMinimalist
    314
    I have noticed that there seems to be quite a few philosophers who have a tendency of spending a lot of time criticizing modernity. These criticisms are quite unusual as it is quite contrary to the opinions of most non-philosophers who mostly think that modernity is clearly better than living in the past. After thinking about this issue for some time, I must say that I think the intuitions of the non-philosophers seems to be more plausible to me. I think we don’t give modernity nearly enough credit and that it is only appropriate to criticize modernity if it can be pretty decisively shown that living in modernity is worse than living in the past. I suppose one might respond that the critics of modernity are just trying to point out that there are problems with modernity that we are not taking seriously enough as a society and that criticizing modernity isn’t necessarily about saying that modernity is worse than the past. But, I don’t see why pointing out problems caused by something requires us to criticize that thing in any significant way. For example, one can talk about the problems that come with being married or problems that come with having children without criticizing marriage or having children. Given this, it seems to me that it’s only appropriate to speak harsh words about modernity if the grass was really greener in the past. I find it more plausible to think that modernity was far superior to living in the past despite the alleged problems that may come with it.

    I think there is an asymmetry between the upsides and the alleged downsides of modernity. One such asymmetry involves my need to put the word “alleged” only beside the downsides of modernity in the previous sentence. This is because one can reasonably be skeptical about there being those downsides that the critics of modernity like to speak of. In contrast, even those critics of modernity themselves would likely acknowledge that there are obvious upsides that come with living in modernity. After all, what madman would say that there’s absolutely nothing good about having access to modern medicine and the Internet and clean drinking water. The advantages of modernity need little explanation and everyone can understand what makes modernity appealing to many. In contrast, the claims that modernity is bad because it leads to a crisis of meaning or a crisis of loneliness or some sort of a spiritual decay seems to face some plausible challenges.

    One debunking explanation that could be presented for these claims is to argue that people in the past also faced these allegedly modern problems but they didn’t spend much time complaining about these problems because they were too busy dealing with the problems of the past. If you’re struggling to survive or to achieve a reasonable level of comfort then it could be argued that you wouldn’t even have much time to think about deep existential matters and your lack of perceived meaning in life and your spiritual decay would just become an afterthought. I think it might even makes sense to say that people in the past often just derived meaning and a sense of purpose by the constant need to have their physiological needs met and having to keep themselves safe from the constant threat of harm. It is only the privileged modern man that cannot just be satisfied with eating, drinking, and sleeping. It kinda just seems to me that the so-called crisis of meaning that the critics of modernity are concerned about is basically what one might call a “first world problem”. Of course, “first world problems” can cause some serious distress to modern people and may even cause them to commit suicide. But, this wouldn’t entail that modern people are justified to be so upset about these problems or that these problems are just as big as the problems that existed in the past. On a final note, it’s also worth noting that the problems of past seemed to be problems for everyone. There’s no one in the past that didn’t have some problems that could have been alleviated by modern technology. In contrast, it seems like there are plenty of people like me that just don’t have any problem with modernity whatsoever. Given this, I tend to think that maybe we should give modernity more credit and maybe we should be more modest in our criticism of modern life.
  • Photios
    10
    Modern medicine is obviously good. Internet? Sure...but then there is social media which, IMHO, is destroying the fabric of society.

    However, unlike in the past, today we have much significant problems - existential threas such and mass specie extinction, climate change, etc. - of an order of significance not even dreamed of by our ancestors.

    As with most things there are pros and cons. But the way I see it all the cons are destroying the biosphere, making the pros a mute point in the long run.
  • Photios
    10
    Note to self: use the 'Preview' button before posting :-) Mute? LOL
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    314

    I think existential threats actually constitute the best argument to be given against modernity as this is a pretty uncontroversial downside with modernity. I’m kinda surprised that most critics of modernity don’t seem to place that much emphasis on it. I would say that I’m ultimately not convinced that these existential threats make modernity worse because I don’t think it’s obvious that the average human life contains more benefits than harms. Given this, it’s not clear to me how much we should really fear the possibility of extinction. On the other hand, having to live without running water, Internet, or electricity would cause people to suffer more rather than simply killing them which I think makes the absence of those things seem bad to me in a more obvious way than the badness of existential threats. Though, my views on this are probably pretty unpopular and the critic of modernity could likely just get away with appealing to the intuitions of most people that extinction is like the worst thing that could ever happen.
  • RogueAI
    352
    I've had two hernia operations and my appendix removed. I'll take modernity and anesthesia. But will someone two hundred years from now look back in horror at what I tolerated? Probably. So, in the end, I think people are just as dissatisfied with their lives as they ever were.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    314
    But will someone two hundred years from now look back in horror at what I tolerated? Probably. So, in the end, I think people are just as dissatisfied with their lives as they ever were.RogueAI

    Well, I would say that plenty of modern humans living today might look back at horror at what you have tolerated as well. But, I’m not sure if dissatisfaction is really the best judge of one’s welfare. It may be argued that suffering that one feels is acceptable and justified is still something really bad and that we have plenty of reason to avoid it. In contrast, there may be some forms of suffering that make someone contemplate suicide that are not actually all that bad. For example, if someone thinks his life is not worth living because they have to put up with doing laundry, then does it make sense to think that this person’s suffering is more significant than that of a person who cheerfully undergoes a very painful surgery?
  • Bitter Crank
    9.2k
    most non-philosophers who mostly think that modernity is clearly better than living in the past.TheHedoMinimalist

    How long do you think that the present period is?

    I'd be willing to say that the last 100 years, give or take 15 minutes, is the modern age.

    WWI (started in 1914) was a watershed event which destroyed a lot of 19th century society and culture. It was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that a lot of the scientific and technological discoveries were made that characterize our time.
  • magritte
    208

    I think of modernity not as an age or a period in history but as exponential progress in some ways and exponential decay in others as humanity moves forward. Which leads to rapid growth in the gap between what is good and bad with the world. A prime positive example is technological progress, but so is the alarming ballooning overpopulation and ensuing loss of planetary resources. Perhaps Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four didn't actually happen in 1984 but it's coming.
  • Valentinus
    945

    Maybe one way to think about it is the way the dynamics of families are brought into question or practically challenged by other dynamics. Stated that way, the scope includes the anthropological view of social structures but also permits claims like those made by Ortega y Gasset that the appearance of the "State" is the result of restless young men.

    I could go into many other examples but my observation is that the "modern" is an inevitable result of experiences more than an invention or diversion that distracted us from some stable form of life that we gave up for something else.
  • Outlander
    1k
    So, in the end, I think people are just as dissatisfied with their lives as they ever were.RogueAI

    Someone on here introduced me to the concept of the hedonic treadmill, something I believe may be of relevance to your claim.

    Take my favorite PC game. I really like it. When I first played it I couldn't stop. Then after I beat it, started a new game, several times over.. I kinda just needed a break lol. It didn't "give" what it did when I first got it and everything was new.

    The idea(s) of something being new, unfamiliar, and exciting I believe are all related. Remember your first car? I remember mine. It was like a chariot from the gods. Now it's just what I use to go to work or pick up beer. Same idea. :grin:
  • RogueAI
    352
    I hear you, Outlander. Much of my life is spent pursuing idols and distractions and growing bored with them and moving on. You (in the general sense) wouldn't be on this planet if you weren't like that, but I digress.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    314
    I could go into many other examples but my observation is that the "modern" is an inevitable result of experiences more than an invention or diversion that distracted us from some stable form of life that we gave up for something else.Valentinus

    So, would this mean that it’s possible for there to be a society that has technologies like our modern society without it actually being like our modern society?
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    314
    A prime positive example is technological progress, but so is the alarming ballooning overpopulation and ensuing loss of planetary resources.magritte

    In regards to overpopulation, it’s worth noting that birth rates are actually decreasing quite a bit in the world due to a greater widespread use of contraceptives and the greater education of women in the modern world. Of course, contraception is also getting more reliable which likely is going to lead to a population decline at some point in the near future. As far as the loss of planetary resources, it’s worth noting that modern technology will likely allow us to extract resources from places where we couldn’t extract them before like Antarctica and even asteroids in space. In addition, we have come a long way in developing technologies that can utilize renewable resources and so I would wager that the future will probably be even cozier and more comfortable than the times that we are currently living in.
  • Valentinus
    945

    I think so. There is a materialism amongst communitarians such as Ivan Illiich who considered our tools as limiting what could be made of them. That point of view is helpful in comparing universal agendas against more local ones. But the local thing has often showed itself to be a praxis of tyranny.

    I would like to dispense with nostalgia from all sides.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    314
    Someone on here introduced me to the concept of the hedonic treadmill, something I believe may be of relevance to your claim.

    Take my favorite PC game. I really like it. When I first played it I couldn't stop. Then after I beat it, started a new game, several times over.. I kinda just needed a break lol. It didn't "give" what it did when I first got it and everything was new.
    Outlander

    I think one can acknowledge the reality of the hedonic treadmill and still argue that modern technology and material goods increase the welfare of humans. At the very least, the continuous improvement of technology will lead to more pre-adaptational periods of great happiness. For example, you might remember the first time you played a PC game. It was probably the late 90s or maybe the early 2000s. You were probably pretty excited even though the graphics and features of the game were pretty inferior compared to modern games. This created a period of great joy and happiness which improved your own welfare. Then, you got tired of the game and your level happiness returns back to normal until a new and better game comes out which might raise your level of happiness again. Even though this raise in your level of happiness isn’t permanent, it doesn’t follow that temporary raise in happiness that those games provided had no significant impact on your level of welfare. I think that the way that you can hack the hedonic treadmill is by making slight improvements in your material wealth that will give you a continuous boost in happiness and maybe it’s also helpful to practice modest abstinence from activities that give you pleasure so that they can give you more pleasure as you start to miss those activities more.
  • Outlander
    1k
    I think one can acknowledge the reality of the hedonic treadmill and still argue that modern technology and material goods increase the welfare of humans. At the very least, the continuous improvement of technology will lead to more pre-adaptational periods of great happiness.TheHedoMinimalist

    Just so you know, I'm on the PC, listening to a few songs on YouTube, and just got back from playing a console system. So. But. For the pure point of debate, it [modern technology] is often likened to the modern day Pandora's Box. And for reasons that can be argued quite well. As you acknowledged, the modern day reality of total nuclear winter is nothing other than nightmarish, if given sufficient focus. And why shouldn't it be. That said, few know of the hardships and realities of life before technology. If a man broke his legs or arms in an accident, he was often considered "good as dead" .. literally. Things were done back then that now thankfully don't have to be due to modern science, medicine, and surgery. So it's a valid debate with both sides having very powerful arguments toward one another.

    I think that the way that you can hack the hedonic treadmill is by making slight improvements in your material wealth that will give you a continuous boost in happiness and maybe it’s also helpful to practice modest abstinence from activities that give you pleasure so that they can give you more pleasure as you start to miss those activities more.TheHedoMinimalist

    I was thinking the same thing, the idea of "circumventing" the idea. That's why you don't ever need to get too comfortable, and when you do, consider taking say a weekend outing in the woods with the pledge that any modern technologies you bring with are to be used solely in case of an emergency only. It can do wonders, essentially what your saying. A "reset" of one's complacency and inevitable lack of appreciation due to abundance of ease and convenience.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    314
    As you acknowledged, the modern day reality of total nuclear winter is nothing other than nightmarish, if given sufficient focus. And why shouldn't it be.Outlander

    Well, I thought about a potential consideration that could be given regarding the existential threat that modernity poses. Some people might think that the risk of extinction cause by technology is smaller than the risk of natural extinction without having technology to prevent that extinction. It requires a rather optimistic view of how humans will use future technology or it requires a rather pessimistic view about the possibility of extinction through natural causes that are unrelated to human stupidity. One can think about how an asteroid or a super volcano would eventually kill off the human race if advanced technology never comes about to prevent that. It can then be argued that if technology keeps progressing that it would actually provide a way for humans to prevent asteroids or super volcanoes from being an existential threat with the use of futuristic technology. This question really comes down to how much one believes that technological causes of extinction are more probable than natural causes of extinction. Nonetheless, I personally don’t find it very plausible that natural disasters are more likely to make us extinct than human made disasters as I think it’s pretty easy for someone to cause some sort of accident with technology that will just kill a bunch of people. Yet, it’s still worth admiring the potential that technology has to keep everyone safe from something like an asteroid.

    That's why you don't ever need to get too comfortable, and when you do, consider taking say a weekend outing in the woods with the pledge that any modern technologies you bring with are to be used solely in case of an emergency only.Outlander

    Well, that’s one way to do it. Some things that I do to reset myself is eating mostly a bland and healthy diet. This has made appreciate food that actually tastes good a lot more and I can now experience a lot of pleasure from just eating some yogurt or a turkey sandwich with nothing but turkey and wheat bread. In the past, I almost never experienced any pleasure from eating food because I just ate what I wanted to and eating just got boring. Another thing that I found helpful is working long hours. It really made me good at being able to entertain myself with just my thoughts and I now appreciate my leisure time so much more.
  • Isaac
    3.9k
    I have noticed that there seems to be quite a few philosophers who have a tendency of spending a lot of time criticizing modernity. These criticisms are quite unusual as it is quite contrary to the opinions of most non-philosophers who mostly think that modernity is clearly better than living in the past.TheHedoMinimalist

    Why is the only alternative to modernity "living in the past". What about an alternative modernity?

    I don’t see why pointing out problems caused by something requires us to criticize that thing in any significant way.TheHedoMinimalist

    It's literally the definition of criticising.

    Of course, “first world problems” can cause some serious distress to modern people and may even cause them to commit suicide. But, this wouldn’t entail that modern people are justified to be so upset about these problems or that these problems are just as big as the problems that existed in the past.TheHedoMinimalist

    Really. What is more severe than suicide then?

    In contrast, it seems like there are plenty of people like me that just don’t have any problem with modernity whatsoever. Given this, I tend to think that maybe we should give modernity more credit and maybe we should be more modest in our criticism of modern life.TheHedoMinimalist

    You're happy with it so the rest of us should be? What a bizarre argument.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    314
    Why is the only alternative to modernity "living in the past". What about an alternative modernity?Isaac

    What is alternative modernity exactly?

    It's literally the definition of criticising.Isaac

    In the sentence that you have responded to, I said “I don’t see why pointing out problems caused by something requires us to criticize that thing in any significant way. The key phrase here is “any significant way”. I was referring to the kind of severe criticisms of modernity that I often hear from philosophers who seem to think that things were better in the past.

    Really. What is more severe than suicide then?Isaac

    I would say that having someone scream in agony for many years and not be able to commit suicide is more severe than suicide. I think having time, energy, and resources to commit suicide is actually a privilege in many ways. People in past often didn’t have adequate means to commit suicide and they often were too busy trying to survive and find comfort to even seriously contemplate suicide.

    You're happy with it so the rest of us should be? What a bizarre argument.Isaac

    My argument is that there’s no one who would be completely happy to live in the past but there are some people like me who are perfectly happy with modernity. This is an asymmetry that I think gives us some good reasons to think that maybe modernity is better than living in the past.
  • Isaac
    3.9k
    I would say that having someone scream in agony for many years and not be able to commit suicide is more severe than suicide. I think having time, energy, and resources to commit suicide is actually a privilege in many ways. People in past often didn’t have adequate means to commit suicide and they often were too busy trying to survive and find comfort to even seriously contemplate suicide.TheHedoMinimalist

    Wtf?
  • magritte
    208
    having someone scream in agony for many years and not be able to commit suicide is more severe than suicide. I think having time, energy, and resources to commit suicide is actually a privilege in many ways. People in past often didn’t have adequate means to commit suicideTheHedoMinimalist

    Could be. In societies where culture, state, religion, or obligation were placed higher than personal needs, execution of the physically or socially unfit and suicide were acceptable and regularly practiced, I suppose on the grounds of achieving higher good or to end the pain..
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/robinandrews/2017/06/26/executions-and-suicides-the-terrifying-tale-of-two-deadly-japanese-volcanoes/?sh=7e2fa3cd1a46

    Though I would think that for a philosophical hedonist considering all options, it might follow more to avoid the greater evils and pains first before seeking comparatively more transient pleasures.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    314
    Though I would think that for a philosophical hedonist considering all options, it might follow more to avoid the greater evils and pains first before seeking comparatively more transient pleasures.magritte

    Yes, I would say that many hedonists like myself tend to think that minimizing suffering is more important than maximizing pleasure. This sort of view does tend to encourage a less negative or more positive view on suicide since suicide might be viewed as a strategy for minimizing your own suffering. Though, it’s probably more popular among hedonists who are also egoists like myself rather than say utilitarian hedonists. This is because a utilitarian hedonist might argue that suicide causes too much suffering to others even if it alleviates your suffering. I think the combination of egoism and hedonism is more likely to produce a more positive attitude towards suicide than the belief that suffering is more significant than pleasure as even a pleasure seeking egoistic hedonist would probably have a hard time justifying continuing a life of sickness and disability which probably wouldn’t produce much pleasure either.
  • magritte
    208

    So then I suppose that you would likely favor presentism and materialism that simplifies judgment closer to immediate wants and sensibilities. That would be an ego centered psychological approach but also subjectivist in terms of reality, in other words that there is only one reality and it is mine, and when I die the world comes to an end unconditionally. Or am I pushing the position too far into some channel?
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    314

    I wouldn’t say that I favor the satisfaction of immediate wants as I actually favor a pretty prudent lifestyle focused on avoid tragic events from happening as much as possible and having the best long term strategy for alleviating the suffering caused by those tragic events as much as possible. Also, egoism doesn’t really have anything to do with egocentrism. Egoism is simply the view that one ought only to improve one’s own life as much as possible. I don’t think that the world comes to an end when I die. I just don’t think that I have reason to care about the world beyond the consideration of how caring about the world might benefit me.
  • Photios
    10


    I am as concerned about the extinction of the majority of flora and fauna species going extinct as I am humans going that route. But ultimately the problem is not with particular technologies but rather how they are used. The real problem - on almost every level - is, in my opinion, Capitalism.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    314
    I am as concerned about the extinction of the majority of flora and fauna species going extinct as I am humans going that route.Photios

    That’s interesting, what makes you value plant life? Do you believe that it is sentient or something like that?
  • Todd Martin
    203
    @TheHedoMinimalist. I didn’t recognize that there were so many, like myself, critics of modernity in this forum. Most of the thinkers and philosophies espoused here seem to me to be very modern, ppl and ideas I am unfamiliar with...and, frankly, have little interest in.

    Whatever the case may be, it seems to me that those who approve of modern life, as you do, do so on the same ground: the benefits of science and technology to the improvement of man’s physical well-being; as though merely living longer and in better health were the keys to human bliss.

    According to this optic, one might say,”Oh Mozart! If only he had lived in this day, when modern medicine prolongs lives, so that he could produce so many more masterpieces!”...but modernity has not only extinguished the aristocratic taste that he exemplified in his music: it has also turned our taste away from any real appreciation of it. Not only this, but Mozart, who died at the age of 35, accomplished far more than any present musician will ever accomplish, should he live to the age of 100.

    Genius aside, let’s consider the everyday lives of everyday ppl like you and me: what modernity promotes is individualism, the notion that each human being is a separate entity with peculiar rights, not necessarily attached to anything other than his or her own selfish self; and this leads to divorce, and alienation from family and friends, and the unsatisfactory compromises that result, and the addiction to alcohol and drugs that is required to cope with it, etc, etc...

    Neither living long nor being healthy is a guarantee of true life, that is, the life of the soul.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    314
    Whatever the case may be, it seems to me that those who approve of modern life, as you do, do so on the same ground: the benefits of science and technology to the improvement of man’s physical well-being; as though merely living longer and in better health were the keys to human bliss.Todd Martin

    Well, I don’t actually care about living longer. I actually think one legitimate criticism that people can have of modernity is that we spend too much money and resources trying to keep people alive as long as possible. I personally hope that I’ll die around the age of 55 in a fairly painless manner. In addition, it could be argued that modernity has enabled the obesity epidemic which is actually making people die sooner. My reason for thinking that modernity is great has more to do with how it enables us to live comfortable, cozy, and pleasant lives. After all, it’s really great that I live in a house that is just the right temperature and that I’m not freezing in the winter. It’s also great how I’m able to eat the kind of delicious food that would make the aristocracy of the past envy. I’m also able to be sexually intimate with women who have great hygiene and who take care of their appearance and I’m able to look at extremely beautiful women on the Internet. In contrast, even an emperor from the past was sexually entertaining himself with women who haven’t showered in months and had lots of leg and armpit hair. Honestly, would you want to live in that kind of world?

    According to this optic, one might say,”Oh Mozart! If only he had lived in this day, when modern medicine prolongs lives, so that he could produce so many more masterpieces!”...but modernity has not only extinguished the aristocratic taste that he exemplified in his music: it has also turned our taste away from any real appreciation of it. Not only this, but Mozart, who died at the age of 35, accomplished far more than any present musician will ever accomplish, should he live to the age of 100.Todd Martin

    I agree that Mozart wouldn’t be any more accomplished but I have a hard time understanding why it matters if people appreciate Mozart’s music. Wouldn’t Mozart’s music be just as valuable in a world where no one cares about his music? Besides, there are actually more people today listening to Mozart than any other time in history. This is because everyone can just listen to his compositions on YouTube today. In contrast, Mozart was only heard by the aristocracy of the past and the peasant were too busy performing back breaking labor all day.

    Genius aside, let’s consider the everyday lives of everyday ppl like you and me: what modernity promotes is individualism, the notion that each human being is a separate entity with peculiar rights, not necessarily attached to anything other than his or her own selfish selfTodd Martin

    Well, I think we shouldn’t ignore the harmfulness of the collectivist narratives that were promoted in the past as well. For example, was it better that people were pressured into continuing a bad marriage in the past for the supposed benefit of the family unit? Isn’t it a travesty that we sent lots of young men in the past to die on the battlefield for some stupid king who promoted a collectivist narrative of national unity? I’m pretty anti-collectivist mainly because I fear that collectivist narratives are often used to take away our freedom and it’s not clear to me that this freedom reduction is useful to anyone but the power hungry tyrants who often use these collectivist narratives. Those power hungry tyrants might include a husband who wants to control his nuclear family and accuses his wife or children of being selfish individualists if they go against his will. Other examples of tyrants using collectivist narratives might be religious institutions and rulers of nations who might justify taking away freedoms in the name of some supposed collectivist greater good.
  • Todd Martin
    203
    @TheHedoMinimalist. O Hedomenos, that was a personal affront to me, that you set the preferred end of your life at an age, 55, younger than my present years! You are obviously yet a rather young man, and I doubt the sincerity of your sentiment: I would like to know how you feel when you turn 54.

    Your other sentiment, that you like modernity because it allows us to live “comfortable, cozy and pleasant lives” actually seems more that of an older than younger man. When men are young, their bodies and souls are full of vigor, and they are more willing to undergo physical hardship for some higher purpose. You, however, seem to be content to live the life of a tomcat, sunning yourself and taking naps on the porch all day, getting fed Friskies for breakfast, lunch and supper, taken to the vet for ringworm, etc...but at least when the tomcat prowls at night, he is willing to fight off his rivals, risking wounds and scars, to get the feline in heat he desires so greatly...though she sport hairs under her arms!

    As far as Mozart is concerned, there are three sorts of ppl that are attracted to him out of the general population: the most obvious are the white-hairs who commonly go to classical concerts because that is the music that they were steeped in as youngsters (that group may have already died out); another is the younger sort, wealthy and upwardly mobile, who take an interest out of vanity and ostentation; the last is the mothers who think their infants will become smarter if they hear his music regularly...

    ...but there are very very few who listen to his music now simply because it stirs their soul, regardless of how many listen to his music on YouTube, and there are no new Mozarts, or Schuberts, or Beethovens, or Brahmses being produced in our day. They have all been replaced by jazz and rock and hip-hip and rap in the popular consciousness...which is an opprobrium less of classical music than it is of the modern soul.

    As far as what you call “collectivist” positions of power are concerned, the head of a family or state, sure: they often used, and still use, their power to mistreat those they oversee, and limit the freedom of those in their charge unjustly. But is the bald fact that a power can be abused reason to eliminate it entirely? Don’t such powers often also conduce to greater good? Do not the traditional marriage vows, “for better or worse”, take account not just of misfortune, but also of the frailty of the paterfamilias, his proneness to error, of the fact that he is a mere mortal?

    When divorce becomes easy, when a man and woman who have formally pledged to devote their lives to each other decide that they might be happier going separate ways, and split up, what do their children learn from this to guide them in their adult lives? They learn that there is no unbreakable bond between human beings, and that, with whomsoever they should form a bond with in their own lives, be it a wife or husband, mother or father, brother or sister, priest or friend, that bond has no fetters, is a will-o-the wisp.

    We may decide to discard every position of power that can be abused—let’s just make sure we’re not throwing the baby out with the bath water.
  • Photios
    10


    Hello. I think every part of Creation, every species, is universally unique and I value that intrinsically.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    314
    O Hedomenos, that was a personal affront to me, that you set the preferred end of your life at an age, 55, younger than my present years! You are obviously yet a rather young man, and I doubt the sincerity of your sentiment: I would like to know how you feel when you turn 54.Todd Martin

    Well, I think my comment about preferring to die by the age of 55 was a little bit misleading. I don’t value dying at a particular age for its own sake. Rather, I’m extremely against the idea of continuing life under the threat of severe physical pain like the physical pain that might come with old age or maybe the physical pain of cancer. Unfortunately, I will probably have to either euthanize myself or I would have to be able to afford enough palliative care to numb most of my pain until I die a natural death. The latter only seems like an option if I get diagnosed with cancer that will be lethal without medical treatment or something like that. Theoretically, I would want to live past 55 but I doubt I can maintain a life free from physical pain past that age. Given this, I think that I will need to find a way to die before life hurts me too much and I probably won’t be able to wait beyond the age of 55.

    As far as Mozart is concerned, there are three sorts of ppl that are attracted to him out of the general population: the most obvious are the white-hairs who commonly go to classical concerts because that is the music that they were steeped in as youngsters (that group may have already died out); another is the younger sort, wealthy and upwardly mobile, who take an interest out of vanity and ostentation; the last is the mothers who think their infants will become smarter if they hear his music regularly...Todd Martin

    Well, it’s worth noting that most people who liked Mozart in the past were also just elitist aristocrats who treated his music as a frivolous luxury and a status symbol. Classical composers were like caviar and golden crowns for the royals and aristocrats who employed them. They were used as means to show off wealth and prestige. In fact, Mozart and other composers like Bach and Beethoven were often quite angry about how their royal employers didn’t give him enough creative freedom and that they wanted to dictate what compositions they should compose and what compositions they ought to perform. Classical music was never actually popular or appreciated contrary to popular historical misunderstandings(well, maybe during the romantic period it was but that’s past Mozart’s time.). Folk music and religious choral music was really the pop music in the past. They were like the McDonald’s of the music of the past. In contrast, composers like Mozart were considered to be like a fancy restaurant where everyone pretended to enjoy the food to look prestigious.

    ...but there are very very few who listen to his music now simply because it stirs their soul, regardless of how many listen to his music on YouTube, and there are no new Mozarts, or Schuberts, or Beethovens, or Brahmses being produced in our day. They have all been replaced by jazz and rock and hip-hip and rap in the popular consciousness...which is an opprobrium less of classical music than it is of the modern soul.Todd Martin

    Well, I would say that there are plenty of jazz and multi-genre musicians that are more talented than any classical composer was. For example, listen to a guy named Jacob Collier and tell me that he isn’t more talented than Mozart. The dude can write beautiful compositions using notes and scales that have never been used in music before. In contrast, Mozart used the same musical vocabulary that have been used by his predecessors and by the majority of modern musicians. Whether or not Mozart’s music is more beautiful just strikes me as highly subjective. For one, Mozart’s music can only be appealing to a Western audience that are accustomed to certain rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic patterns. I think a guy like Jacob Collier can actually write compositions that people of all cultures would find appealing which is an especially rare talent.

    But is the bald fact that a power can be abused reason to eliminate it entirely?Todd Martin

    No, but it’s a pretty big downside of collectivism. One could reasonably argue that the cons of collectivism outweigh the pros. My whole point is that individualism is probably better because it isn’t as appealing to tyrants.

    Don’t such powers often also conduce to greater good?Todd Martin

    Maybe, but I honestly can’t think of very many upsides of collectivism. I’m not saying that collectivism is always bad but I think we have more than enough collectivism in our modern world today.

    Do not the traditional marriage vows, “for better or worse”, take account not just of misfortune, but also of the frailty of the paterfamilias, his proneness to error, of the fact that he is a mere mortal?Todd Martin

    Well, as a guy who never understood marriage or romantic relationships, it’s hard for me to make sense of that question to be honest.

    When divorce becomes easy, when a man and woman who have formally pledged to devote their lives to each other decide that they might be happier going separate ways, and split up, what do their children learn from this to guide them in their adult lives? They learn that there is no unbreakable bond between human beings, and that, with whomsoever they should form a bond with in their own lives, be it a wife or husband, mother or father, brother or sister, priest or friend, that bond has no fetters, is a will-o-the wisp.Todd Martin

    I agree but I don’t understand why you think this is a bad thing. I’ve never been a fan of being intimate with only one person for the rest of my life and I kinda wish that I lived in a world where it was normal for friends and acquaintances to have sex with one another just for fun except considering the risk of pregnancy, STDs, and romantic drama that it may cause in the real world. It’s kinda a growing trend today and I’m kinda happy about that as it does create a lot of unexpected excitement. For example, the idea of having one of my female coworkers old enough to be my mom inviting me to her place for some friendly cuddling and sex just excites me to no end. It’s most exciting for me when it’s so shocking and unexpected. It just makes the experience very magical and unbelievable for me.
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