Time is the best teacher

02Jun10

Imagine if all we’ve ever known was taken away in an instant. Every institution, every custom, every way of life. Every single thing you can manage to conjure. Our society would be starting from scratch. The only thing we would have to draw upon is our past.

Novelty-based ideas can be fun and exciting for a time. However, mistakes will be made with the ideas and the society affected by it will soon catch on. The society will eventually start back from where it was before the idea took hold.

An example of this in the wild would be the ever prevalent one-hit wonders in pop music. The public enjoys whatever it is for a short period of time and promptly loses interest. It’s as if nothing had ever happened. The inverse of this is the band that has enjoyed a smaller, but consistent level of success throughout their career. This band will have a dedicated following and has probably influenced many lesser, yet more popular artists.

We can view our institutions and customs in the same way. They are still here today because they are properly analyzed and tested by the process of time. Our ancestors suffered hardships during the learning process of what works for a society and what doesn’t. They suffered through botched forms of government, bad science experiments and goofy belief systems. Thanks to their struggles, we learn from their mistakes and make effort not to repeat them. However, we can also draw upon the things that did work for them and apply it to ourselves should present conditions make it possible.

Life is a constant learning process. A process that can be incredibly difficult. Though, if we all use prior knowledge vetted by the sands of time, that difficultly can be softened.

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