Then and Now

In the past men were handsome and great (now they are children and dwarfs), but this is merely one of the many facts that demonstrate the disaster of an aging world. The young no longer want to study anything, learning is in decline, the whole world walks on its lead, blind men lead others equally blind and cause them to plunge in the abyss, birds leave the nest before they can fly, the jackass plays the lyre, oxen dance. Mary no longer loves the contemplative life and Martha no longer lover the active life, Leah is sterile, Rachel has a carnal eye, Cato visits brothels, Lucretius becomes a woman. Everything is on the wrong path.

– Umberto Eco. The Name Of The Rose.


5 thoughts on “Then and Now

  1. Bit depressing, aren’t you?

    I’ve come to recognise most of this ‘the world is getting worse every day’ as a symptom of the general disorder called “Romanticising The Past”. On closer examination, the world isn’t actually getting worse, in fact, it’s pretty much the same as it always was. We’ve just exchanged some troubles for others.

    And Umberto Eco has a nerve to quote biblical examples, things were even more of a mess in those days than they could ever be today.

  2. Thanks for dropping by.

    ‘yaad aata hai wo guzra hua zamana”

    I think the mess that we have created in this particular time, it’s much bigger than the past messes. Or perhaps because we are living them, that we consider them to be the worst. But I think we cannot deny the fact that things have deteriorated more in the past decade. No wonder we see all the signs of The Hour approaching. I wouldn’t agree that we have exchanged some troubles for the others, i guess we have added to all those troubles.

    No one writes in a vacuum! And if one thinks that they cannot pour in their thoughts, beliefs and feelings into writing, I wouldn’t agree to it. So whatever Eco writes, it gives an insight into his mind, his intellect and his beliefs. No wonder we have thousands of ways to interpret one piece of writing.

  3. Deteriorated? But how so? We save many more lives that were needlessly lost previously due to inadequate medical knowledge. We have done away with slavery and freed many people from an oppression that hurt both the slave owner and the slave. We have made the world smaller so that injustices and catastrophes in any area become a global concern and cause for action. We have equalised the rights of women to men, and thus half of the population that never contributed anything to world progress now have a voice and a power of their own in human development. By our sciences the world is supporting many thousand times the life it was originally thought capable of, and we are looking to conquer other planets. And by our arts life has become beautiful and significant instead of narrow and meaningless.

    Sure, technology and the advent of a new world may have created problems, but it has the ability to create solutions too. I do not know about a final hour (even if it exists, you won’t catch me prophesying it) but I have faith that if we don’t blow ourselves up, humankind and the world are heading towards an intellectual utopia, a world that is, if not free, then at least largely capable of solving its problems 🙂

    but thats just my opinion 🙂

  4. We save soo many lives but we kill more by drones and other technologies in seconds. I believe the number of people that die of white phosphorus is more than what we are able to save. And even all those life saving hospital facilities are not available to everyone, only to the people who can afford it.

    And what progress and development are you talking about? We have lost the value of human life, we have lost the value of human relations, we think we are fulfilling the rights of fellow human kin by adding them on facebook and never really talking to them or meeting them or spending time with them. We have lost the purpose of our lives, now we only live to earn money. How are calamities are dealt with globally? Do we feel for our fellow human beings who are in Africa facing drought? Do we feel anything for the people of khyber pakhtunkhwa, who are forced to leave their homes because of some drama that the authorities want to play. Do we feel anything for people of Palestine who are held captives in their own land? And what kind of development and progress is this that treats human as they treated people in Abughraib prison or bagram prison? What kind of freedom is it that you are abducted from your own country and sold to another and the family does not yet know where they are?

    And what “intellectual utopia”? when these intellectuals can not even provide equal rights to fellow human beings, just because they are muslims, I’m sorry but I’d rather you call it a “pseudo- intellectual utopia”.

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