Saturday, May 23, 2009

Future Beliefs

A blog post about a thread on Reddit whose topic is "So many of our grandparents were racist, and some of our parents our homophobes. Which of our own closely held beliefs will our own children and grandchildren be appalled by?"

I agree with a lot of these except for direct democracy. What do you guys think?

7 comments:

james said...

I'm thinking toilet paper will be looked back on as a truly primitive tool.

Big Myk said...

I think the future generations will be appalled by the belief that one's devoting some 13 hours to World of Warcraft is a day well-spent.

James R Harvey said...

Consumerism. ("We have to spend our way out of this recession" reminds me of Nixon's "We had to destroy the village in order to save it.")

Peter H of Lebo said...

No computer games and buying useless but awesome things...wait are you guys talking about a post-apocalyptic world future? Because that is the worst possible future scenario except for maybe the future where the mcdonald's double cheeseburger is no longer a dollar.

Big Myk said...

I think that Pete need not worry about this worst possible scenario. I don't see consumerism doing anything in the foreseeable future but increasing its grip on society.

I'm pretty sure that Max Weber got it completely right in his book "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism." In pre-capitalist societies, when people had enough to live on, they simply stopped working. Weber noted that in order to get the harvest out quickly, landowners will try to encourage workers to spend more working by offering a higher wage. Yet, in pre-capitalist societies this would bring about the opposite result. The laborers judge that they can earn the same while working less and having more time for leisure. Therefore, they would spend less time working a harvest time rather than more.

Today, we are driven by the desire for endless aquisition. Who ever says, I have enough stuff to live on? Weber says that "goods should only lie on the shoulders of the 'saint like a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any moment.' But fate decreed that the cloak should become an iron cage."

Back in 1905, Weber predicted a bleak future: "Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved."

Peter H of Lebo said...

So is Weber's prediction a good thing or a bad thing?, "In pre-capitalist societies, when people had enough to live on, they simply stopped working." So Serfs of a pre-capitalist society would only work 16-18 hours a day and then they can just stop and enjoy the rest of the day.
I on the other hand have to work a grueling 8 hour work day so I can pursue my endless drive for acquisition of needless goods. Weber is right, my ipod and watch feels more and more like a iron cage as I run down the sunny streets of mt lebo. My life sucks, I hate wanting things that make life evermore enjoyable and/or easier.

Big Myk said...

Like the inhabitants of the Matrix, people can't see the overpowering influence capitalism has over their lives, and see no alternative. Weber: "The capitalistic economy of the present day is an immense cosmos into which the individual is born, and which presents itself to him, at least as an individual, as an unalterable order of things in which he must live. It forces the individual, in so far as he is involved in the system of market relationships, to conform to capitalistic rules of action." I'd be curious as to the thoughts of those who have lived outside these rules in traditional societies -- namely Jim and Pete the Elder -- to comment on the relative advantages and disadvantages of traditional as opposed to capitalist society.