If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to My breast.

-George Herbert

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Very Short List

When one is desperately in love with the beauty of the past, one is inclined to complain too much. Therefore, I thought I would, as a remedy, make a list of those social and technological developments (since A.D. 1400 or so) of which I approve, for which I am grateful, the loss of which, I feel, would impoverish my existence dramatically.

1. The increasing openness to the treasures of beauty and truth in the various spiritual traditions of the world.

2. The increasing acceptance of the humanity of those who differ from the dominant group by virtue of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc., with a concomitant growth of commitment to extend to all the protections and privileges of equal rights under law.

3. Oil paints. (Were oil paints widely used before 1400? I'm not really sure, but I'm still grateful for what's been done with them since.)

4. The printing press.

5. The technologies involved in the recording and playback of sound and moving pictures. (I must have movies and music!)

6. Refrigeration.

That pretty much covers it. The rest is largely rubbish, or already existed in some form or another prior to 1400. I suppose that in the interests of complete consistency, I ought, in support of numbers five and six, to be grateful for the means of generating and distributing electricity. But then, I am not completely consistent.

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