1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

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1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:43 am UTC

Image

Title Text: 'Unfortunately, the notion of marriage which prevails ... at the present time ... regards the institution as simply a convenient arrangement or formal contract ... This disregard of the sanctity of marriage marriage and contempt for its restrictions is one of the most alarming tendencies of the present age.' --John Harvey Kellogg, Ladies' guide in health and disease (1883)

TL;DR ;D

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1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby hailthefish » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:44 am UTC

Image

Title text: 'Unfortunately, the notion of marriage which prevails ... at the present time ... regards the institution as simply a convenient arrangement or formal contract ... This disregard of the sanctity of marriage marriage and contempt for its restrictions is one of the most alarming tendencies of the present age.' --John Harvey Kellogg, Ladies' guide in health and disease (1883)


Either this refutes the idea that technology will cause the downfall of civilized society, or it proves it. I'm not quite sure which.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Quicksilver » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:47 am UTC

Generational cynicism?

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby arthurd006_5 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:57 am UTC

Variation precedes shift, which precedes complaining.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby obarey » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:11 am UTC

Ah, the good old "everything had more meaning in the past, modern youth has no morals" fallacy. I am pretty sure it has a name but noone has time to research it.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Eternal Density » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:18 am UTC

I read it all just in case the alt-text had some kind of "you didn't read all that, did you?" stinger.
Anyhow, it just goes to show that our current social problems have been a long time in the making, and since no one did much about them back then, it's doubtful there'll be any improvement now either, especially since even less people are paying attention.
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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Azkyroth » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:26 am UTC

TL;DR: Whiny fucking old people never change. ^.^

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby kureta » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:33 am UTC

I agree that "everything had more meaning in the past, modern youth has no morals" is in fact a fallacy. However, these articles mostly talk about the increased speed of life and business, and they are all written after the industrial revolution. The fact that life kept on getting faster and faster after the industrial revolution does not make these statements less true. I guess the life really gets faster but the next generation, which is born into that fast life, perceives it as the norm. After a couple of decades, since the life keeps on getting even faster, the new speed of life becomes too fast for them and it is the norm of yet another generation. I do not think that "people become less moral or less polite" but I do think that life hes been getting faster and faster especially after the industrial revolution.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby MrT2 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:45 am UTC

The more things change, the more things stay the same.
I could probably look on wikiquote for the original attribution, but in a hurry, so will dash off this short message instead :P

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby SQB » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:46 am UTC

So it's been going downhill since the 19th century, is what you mean to say?

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Jibberandtwitch » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:51 am UTC

I find people posting 'TL;DR' a bit ironic here; saying that the issues and rhetoric never change is one way of looking at it, but we're now at the point where people don't read interesting content because they can't be bothered and indeed aren't even willing to write the entirety of the four words necessary to express this fact. Maybe the rhetoric hasn't changed because the trend itself hasn't.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby The Synologist » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:57 am UTC

Some other good ones copied from yahoo answers:

"The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of
today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for
parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as
if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is
foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest
and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress."
-Peter the Hermit, 13th Century AD

"The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer
rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their
legs, and are tyrants over their teachers."
-Socrates, 5th century BC

"What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders,
they disobey their parents. They ignore the law.
They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions.
Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?"
-Plato,5th century BC

"I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on
frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond
words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and
respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise
[disrespectful] and impatient of restraint"
-Hesiod, 8th century BC

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby herbicide » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:01 am UTC

SQB wrote:So it's been going downhill since the 19th century, is what you mean to say?

Or earlier - Socrates disliked this newfangled 'writing' thing, after all...

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby YellowYeti » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:32 am UTC

I'm with Ovid:

Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby hetas » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:09 am UTC

And snooker-matches last for measly hours instead of days.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby mojacardave » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:10 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:Anyhow, it just goes to show that our current social problems have been a long time in the making, and since no one did much about them back then, it's doubtful there'll be any improvement now either, especially since even less people are paying attention.


If that's what you got from this 'comic' then you read it very differently to me! It seems to be saying that a lot of the things that we perceive as 'social problems' aren't really social problems at all. People have been complaining about moral decay and poor life balance since before we were all born. Every technological advance shifts the way we interact, and people are very sentimental about the past. I'm not saying I'm entirely in love with the way the media works, and maybe we'd benefit from relaxing more often, but the world isn't 'going to hell' in the way that moral commentators have been saying forever.

Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.


Agreed.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Red Hal » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:25 am UTC

/takes out pipe and contemplatively starts packing it while composing an answer...
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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Klear » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:35 am UTC

lol wut?

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby da Doctah » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:36 am UTC

Okay, okay...we'll get off your damn lawn.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Sir Hotzenplotz » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:43 am UTC

Contrary to some statements above, this 'comic' holds remarkably few quotes complaining about the behavior of children or youth. Rather they speak of the change in pace of life, brought about by technological progress and business interests, and the effects it brought about. From this one could conclude our pace of life, or the corresponding behavior, has always been that way, and is not, unlike the technology around us, changing much. Alternatively it might mean our pace of life has already been increasing for hundreds of years now.
I found the comic pleasantly refreshing.

TL;DR: It's not about spoiled kids; it's about pace of life. You'd have known that had you read it.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Davidy » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:46 am UTC

It hardly seems like 40 word tweets or IM's packed with abbreviations, misspellings and coded letter sequences are an improvement. LOL, IMHO. JK!
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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Red Hal » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:02 am UTC

The pace of modern life has always been increasing. We need neither spend a day or more hunting for or gathering food nor a season waiting for our crops or livestock to grow. Such processes as the latter still occur, but they have been mechanised and globalised to an extent which allows the common man to procure strawberries in december, asaparagus in august and chestnuts in february. More recently, however, the rate at which our pace of life is increasing has itself been increasing.

The advent of such modern electronic devices as the mobile telephone, the internet and - latterly - the fusion of the two, has created a generation of individuals who expect to be able to instantaneously connect with their family, friends, acquaintances or the entire connected world at the drop of a hat, twenty-four hours a day. Of course this is such a recent phenomenon that its true impact will not be felt for a decade or more, when those for whom such connectivity has always existed finally reach maturity and take their place as working members of society; though one has only to look at the effect of the former of those two inventions - the mobile or cellular telephone - which in the last thirty years has had such a dramatic effect on our population and society that that icon of British design - the red telephone box - has been largely relegated to the role of a place for nighttime urination or copulation.

All of the above brings me nicely, and concisely, back to my original point which is that the rate of change appears to be geometric in its increase.
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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Sappharos » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:05 am UTC

To be fair, none of us were there so we cannot provide fully informed comments. However I will state what I think is likely.

In the time period covered in the panels, there was a general attitude toward work that people were to be treated as machines. Time spent doing an activity was supposed to make a person better at it. Thus, for maximum efficiency, they should be doing it all the time. This gave no consideration to their mental state - this itself was a problem for the individual to resolve. The panels themselves refer to families who would collectively scour their magazines, too absorbed to talk over a dinner table. For these reasons I would argue that originally these problems were much worse than we imagine.

Of course society changes and restructures in ways we don't like. Whatever happens in human society, it is mainly down to one force: Our genes struggling to persist, and to make more of themselves. Our conscious selves are usually only witnesses to that.

In short, whatever happens, it will be to further the short sighted aims of our biology.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Diadem » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:12 am UTC

If you're climbing a mountain, everything behind you is always further down. Quotes about people complaining about the fast pace of 'modern' life do not contradict the notion that life could be even faster now. Life is getting faster-paced by technology. I'm not surprised people have been noticing that for over a hundred years, since it's been going on for over a hundred years.

I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. In fact I think it's mostly a good thing. But definitely some good things are lost. A good example is chess. Chess games between top players a few decades ago had no fixed time limits, and when the game went on for too long, it was simple paused and they continued the next day. That's impossible now, because today the winner of such a game would not be the best player, but whoever had the fastest computer to analyze the game during the night. So chess games can't be broken off for a night anymore, and as a result they are shorter with stricter time constraints. There's also less mystery to a chess game. You player an awesome game against someone, where you win via a beautiful attack, and then when you come home the computer instantly spits out 2 dozen places where your opponent could have defended, and instantly proclaims that all the moves you were so satisfied about were in fact suboptimal.

Of course the level of chess today is much higher than it has ever been before. Computers make learning chess a lot easier, the internet allows you to communicate and play with people from all over the world. There's a lot of new stuff that's just awesome. But that doesn't mean there isn't some stuff that you can look at and say "Well, it's a shame we don't have that anymore".
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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby YellowYeti » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:13 am UTC

Red Hal wrote:The advent of such modern electronic devices as the mobile telephone, the internet and - latterly - the fusion of the two, has created a generation of individuals who expect to be able to instantaneously connect with their family, friends, acquaintances or the entire connected world at the drop of a hat, twenty-four hours a day.



I'm not too sure about this: 200 years ago the missus would have been spending hours at a time chatting to her mother/sister who lived locally while I was in the pub. Today, she spends hours at a time chatting to her mother/sister who live 1000 miles away while I am in the pub.

Maybe in this respect the technology is allowing us to get back to doing those things we did before communities were ripped apart by the agricultural revolution?

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:22 am UTC

Red Hal wrote:All of the above brings me nicely, and concisely, back to my original point which is that the rate of change appears to be geometric in its increase.

Just what I was going to say. Things appear to change roughly exponentially, so a sixty-year-old in any era will always notice the same proportional change over their lifetime. Unlike the trope about how badly behaved young people are, those people were generally right.

My favourite (so far; I haven't read it all yet) is the one about pure line engraving, whatever that is. "The public must have an etched or a photogravured copy of [a new image] within a month or two of its appearance" (my italics). A month or two! Now you can take a photo on your phone and share it on FB within seconds. The thing about news of Hillary and Tenzing's ascent of Everest being delayed "a couple of days" until the Queen's coronation always gets me, too. These days he'd be tweeting "O.M.G.! Am @ the top! (With Tenzing "Sherper" Norgay @ Everest Summit)"

[ETADP]:
YellowYeti wrote:Maybe in this respect the technology is allowing us to get back to doing those things we did before communities were ripped apart by the agricultural revolution?

This, this, and thrice this! Even within the same large city I don't see my best friends as much as I'd like, and my wider group even less, if at all. Facebook makes me feel like I bump into them every day, just like I would have done in a village.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life", bits of evidence

Postby hquene » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:36 am UTC

L.S., The faster pace of modern life also affects our speech tempo: evidence suggests that we are now talking faster than before [doi:10.1121/1.4802892, URL unavailable]. And FWIW, amazon finds 3857 books with "faster" in the title, and only a measly 286 books with "slower" in the title. Best, HQ

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:03 pm UTC

Davidy wrote:It hardly seems like 40 word tweets or IM's packed with abbreviations, misspellings and coded letter sequences are an improvement. LOL, IMHO. JK!
Sure, pretending that Twitter constitutes the primary mode of modern communication and then comparing Tweets to letters written longhand paints modern communication disfavorably. Comparing Tweets to telegrams, on the other hand, makes it seem as though very little has changed.

While it is certainly true that certain aspects of the pace of life have been accelerating for centuries, such as the amount of time something could go uncommunicated or unreported before being seen as an intolerable delay, other aspects, as well as the feared social consequences (such as the collapse of the sacred institution of marriage "now" that divorced people are no longer social pariahs) haven't actually been getting worse as the commentators feared.
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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby MangoUser » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:09 pm UTC

1870s-1914 was an unprecedented period of intense globalization ending with WWI and the Great Depression. That same level of intensity wasn't seen again until very recently, starting in the mid-1960s with a successful European reconstruction leading to external expansion and the beginning of the collapse of the Bretton Woods system. So the parallels between now and then are not too surprising. It could demonstrate some correlation between rapid economic growth and the ills of 'modern life' that old curmudgeons always complain about. How did people in the 1920s-1950s compare their society to life before the early 1900s? Did they think life was more meaningful because the pace was 'slower'.

With some friends I have infrequent but long email exchanges, and with others I have short but frequent text messages. In both cases I feel equally connected with the individual, and perhaps more so in the latter because the instantaneous nature of the messages can make it more honest and intimate if we trust one another. Regardless, Skype does wonders for my long distance relationship :)

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby wumpus » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:27 pm UTC

For shame, xkcd. There are two possible reasons for the same whine about change to be roughly constant across history. Don't ignore the other.

1. Human fallacy.
2. Exponential change (since e**x has a constant derivative, then each generation has the same amount of change to whine about).

While case 1 seems likely, it is easy to show that case 2 happens often enough to cause similar effects (graph communication speed, watts used by individuals, MFLOPS available per individual, books/media content available).

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Radical Pi » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:51 pm UTC

wumpus wrote:(since e**x has a constant derivative, then each generation has the same amount of change to whine about)

You sure about that?

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Angelastic » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:59 pm UTC

kureta wrote:I guess the life really gets faster but the next generation, which is born into that fast life, perceives it as the norm. After a couple of decades, since the life keeps on getting even faster, the new speed of life becomes too fast for them and it is the norm of yet another generation.

Or, in the words of Douglas Adams:
Douglas Adams wrote:Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Whizbang » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:00 pm UTC

You know what the time was called when nothing advanced and man was forced to play the same role his father played? The Dark Ages.

Life strives for advancement and improvement. Resist this at your peril.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby woktiny » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:30 pm UTC

How quickly and without thought we reject the sentiments of those before us.

These quotes demonstrate that the concerns of old match the concerns of today. They do not demonstrate either are fallacy.

Perhaps change is constant, history seems to demonstrate that. Perhaps change is unavoidable, history seems to imply that.

But is change inherently good? None here are qualified to answer that. We all suffer our own generational confirmation bias. Just as every generation prefers the music of its youth, so do we all prefer precisely the level of technology and social dissociation into which we were born and reared. We sit arrogantly and stroke our egos while we criticize those pining for familiar and simpler times. We assume we won't feel the same in fifty years.

History seems to imply we are wrong.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby pkcommando » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:39 pm UTC

da Doctah wrote:Okay, okay...we'll get off your damn lawn.

And stop playing your music so damned loud. You can't understand a word of that jibber-jabber, consarnit!
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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby ctdonath » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:53 pm UTC

YellowYeti wrote:200 years ago the missus would have been spending hours at a time chatting to her mother/sister who lived locally while I was in the pub. Today, she spends hours at a time chatting to her mother/sister who live 1000 miles away while I am in the pub.

orthogon wrote:This, this, and thrice this! Even within the same large city I don't see my best friends as much as I'd like, and my wider group even less, if at all. Facebook makes me feel like I bump into them every day, just like I would have done in a village.

Wasn't all that long ago that a newlywed couple would pack their few belongings onto a horse-drawn wagon, head west to find a suitable spot for a homestead, and never see or communicate with their family/friends again.
Today, I know what darn near every high school acquaintance is doing darn near including what's for breakfast.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby deskjethp » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:09 pm UTC

tl;dr ;)
arbivark wrote:when i was first a tenant at 19, i was probably a nuisance .. a bother, to the landlord because i'd do stuff like, hey there's a fireplace here, get me a hammer, hey if i make a hole in my ceiling there's an attic that runs the length of the rowhouses.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby sdmeaney » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:14 pm UTC

I think some here are missing the point. The comic is not about "back in my day" at all. It is intentionally lengthy, with sections "summarized" like you see so many times these days in actual publications. The entire comic is supposed to be a mirror of self reflection to the reader, did you find yourself wanting to just read the summarized bold text? did you just TLDR; and scroll to the bottom? Did you find a creeping need in your head to say "get to the point randall".

This is the feeling he was trying to instill and then make you aware of. Ray bradbury in 451 had many things to say about the cliff-note-ification of everything and I think here it rings especially true. Where have we gotten as a society that we can't even sit down and read around a page of text without skimming, even if it is from a subject/author we enjoy and voluntarily browsed to.

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby suso » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:14 pm UTC

TLDR
Imagine theres no signatures....

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Re: 1227: "The Pace of Modern Life"

Postby Klear » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:22 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:You know what the time was called when nothing advanced and man was forced to play the same role his father played? The Dark Ages.

Life strives for advancement and improvement. Resist this at your peril.


Maybe before we rush to advance we should stop to consider the consequences of blithely giving it such a central position in our lives.


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