Thursday, September 1, 2005

What's normal is the aberration.

Look at the world around you, and you probably think that most of what you see is "normal". I've recently been reminded on many fronts that in fact much of what we consider "normal" is in fact the aberration, when considered in historical terms. (The growing tragedy in the gulf states is only the most recent example.)

Of course, it all depends on timescale. In geologic terms, humanity itself is an aberration. But that's not what I'm talking about here. What I'm talking about are facets of everyday life that are so "normal" they are more backdrop than foreground in our perception. But they're not. Much of what we experience didn't exist a even a hundred years ago (some have their roots earlier, sure). Business models. Weekends. Corporations. Work-life "balance". Clean drinking water. Cheap food. Cheap transportation. Cheap communications. Pavement. Lawns. Copyright.

The point is to realize that these things that seem to be the concrete foundations of society as we know it are relatively recent inventions -- in some cases their inventors are still walking the earth. Things can change. They don't have to be this way. I can change them. You can change them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your point is so true, but we usually don't think of the special circumstances under which we live. We accept all the modern advances as "routine" and get highly upset by any disruption.

I sometimes think about this when I fly cross country and realize that that same journey took months just 200 years ago.