Times Change

I must admit I don’t remember anything in a car owners manual about adjusting valves. Changing oil, perhaps.

I will also admit I didn’t check my car’s manual – but I find it hard to believe there is a warning against drinking the battery contents. Then again, I can easily see myself being wrong on that – we live in a litigious society.

(After I wrote this post I went and checked. There is a warning about battery acid being dangerous to touch, but no mention of drinking it. There is a warning against drunk driving though. That certainly wasn’t in car manuals 50 years ago.)

Truth is, cars have gotten much more complex than they were 50 years ago, and 100 years ago. I ;leave it to you to decide if that is a good thing. I know I’m not going to try any repairs on my own, nor any maintenance beyond putting air in the tires.

Which means I don’t think this particular image I noticed online has anything to do with being “smart.” If anything, it speaks to a longing for a less complex time.

Once upon a time it seemed the world was petty much black and white. People knew right from wrong, and that was reflected in society.

Now it seems everything we face is a shade of grey. Absolutes seem to have vanished, ethics have become situational, and we as individuals and a society frequently find ourselves adrift, not quite sure where we are going.

Those who cling to old values are frequently mocked for being out of touch. Yet I could argue that many of the issues we struggle with today have arisen precisely because we abandoned those shared values. (I won’t do that today though – that would be a book-length dissertation.)

So where do we go from here? Where do we want to go? Can we achieve consensus? Do we even want to try? Or is it too late?

To borrow words from Larry Norman, “I’m not pessimist, I’ve just been thinking. “


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