Friday, April 30, 2010

losing the past...

Today we had an antiques appraiser helping us to divide my mother's household furnishings, and it seems that this is a sorry time for things from the past. People no longer have a sense of the value of finely crafted things. I asked the appraiser why. She said it had to do with sizzle and steak. People are drawn to sizzle but have no real understanding of steak. The difference between hand-cut and machine-cut dovetails? What's a dovetail? Most people these days haven't a clue.

If kids are not personally and presently engaged in crafting beautiful and useful things, they will likely have no real connection with real things from the past. And so, you can go into antique stores or attend sales, and you can find a few things with real historical significance for too little money. But then, what is the value of history? As they say in the law of geological uniformitarianism, "the present is the key to the past." And so, if children no longer have any connection with their own creativity in the present time, they will have no connection with man's creativity, and no sense of the process through which human culture grew and evolved.

Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism are two distinct, but not mutually exclusive views of how things have evolved. In fact, one could view the sudden loss of history through the sudden rise of virtual reality and concurrent collapse of hands-on creativity as being near catastrophic.

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