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Are we guilty of chrono-bigotry or chrono-centricism?

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Showing 1-13 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 13, 2012 10:38:21 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 13, 2012 10:39:11 AM PST
Ataraxia says:
I heard this term a few weeks ago, and was fascinated by the concept. Chrono-bigotry/centricism apparently means that thinking our time and era is somehow more special that other times and eras.

Many of us do tend to look at prior times in history with some contempt, disdain, or a patronizing attitude. They were barbarians, or backward, or just not as scientifically advanced as we are. We are more special, more knowledgeable, more reasonable, more enlightened, etc...

Many, of course, do the reverse- look on our time with contempt, and like to glorify other periods of history- like the time of the founding fathers of the US, or Biblical times, the European enlightenment, WWII, etc...

So where do you stand on the issue? Are we somehow more special or "advanced" than other periods of history? Has there been any progress through human history? Or is human history, as Henry Ford put it, "just one dang thing after another?"

Posted on Dec 13, 2012 10:53:07 AM PST
IGS says:

There is a great deal of judgmentalism (if that is a word) on this very forum. Somehow our time is the best. But it is not true. All times have their own center. Some times better sometimes worse but we, in the now, are very willing to apply our instant judgment as the most correct. It is very human.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2012 11:01:50 AM PST
Lientje says:
Ataraxia: I've never heard of those terms before. But I am going to remember them. I have found that so many people
believe that we are living in the worst of times. Nothing could be farther from the truth, actually.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2012 11:01:52 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 13, 2012 11:12:05 AM PST
Ataraxia says:
But don't you think that at least scientifically, we are better off now than in the past? If you got sick and had the choice, would you not want to go to a modern hospital than to a medieval physician? Don't yo think modern agricultural science provides us with a more stable food supply than in the past, when we were completely and helplessly at the mercy of droughts, floods, pestilence, etc...?

And in the realm of politics, have we not learned how to manage and govern large, plural groups of people better than in the past? Aren't modern systems of democracy, evolving slowly through alot of painstaking learning and experience, much more stable and "better" than other systems of governance that we have devised in the past?

On the other hand, it's hard to argue that the music or art being produced in our era is somehow better than or an improvement on the music or art of, say, Beethoven, Bach, or Michelangelo's time.

Posted on Dec 13, 2012 12:06:09 PM PST
B. A. Dilger says:
It's all vulnerable to disappearance, a moment in time between large meteor impacts or by the weapons at man's hand. Enjoy the roses or a sonnet of Shakespeare: "Eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we die." And so many people try to make life miserable for us.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2012 3:48:20 PM PST
we will find out when yobamamamas spending drives us back to the stone age living standard

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2012 6:07:05 PM PST
Lientje says:
and the horse: I'm betting that it will be next Wednesday. What day do you pick?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 8:54:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2012 12:52:34 PM PST
L. King says:
I like the term - it has a nice modernesque ring to it. I was introduced to a different term by the poster Rachel - "presentism" which may be more in common use - it's in the dictionary.

"an attitude toward the past dominated by present-day attitudes and experiences " Meriam Webster

"uncritical adherence to present-day attitudes, especially the tendency to interpret past events in terms of modern values and concepts." Oxford

Technically we are more advanced, literate, information rich and hyper communicative than most other societies not only because there are more of us in cities but also because of the explosion of media, esp the internet. Digesting and assessing this will take the perspective of time. It has led to better health standards but also environmental degradation and possibly an unsustainable civilization - but also a degree of self awareness about it.

Presentism suggests an attitude that other societies consisted of people just like us, with the same value sets, and if they are not they ought to have known better. Yet if you were to ask a Mongol of the 12th century what they would think of our values, no doubt he would think us weak and foolish.

When looking at history I feel it's important to be open to looking at events through what we know of the values at the time. Instead of applying a single judgement on the past what is needed are multiple perspectives - our present POV being only one, alternate perspectives taken from different actors. (And if one really wants to get into what if scenarios - ask how era A regards era B.)

Wrt to music, given post mixing we certainly have a degree of sophistication beyond other eras. Composition on the level of Bach and Beethoven I would consider to be outliers. Most of modern pop would be on the level of ditties and short ballads - most people don't have the patience for longer pieces. On the other hand we do have longer items at times - like Les Mis, which I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing when the movie comes out shortly.

Good OP! I hope it takes. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2012 3:05:28 AM PST

The quotation you cite is not from Shakespeare. It is actually a conflation of two separate lines from the Hebrew Bible. The quotation come closest to a line from Isaiah, though its' the Book of Ecclesiastes that suggests that we eat and and be merry. But in Ecclesiastes, it's not because we die tomorrow, but rather that "all is vanity and a chase after wind".

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2012 6:17:45 AM PST
wtf does that have to do with what i actually said as linked back in the reply to your post that shows the message that i actually posted

Posted on Dec 18, 2012 4:55:08 PM PST
Sorry, Horse, that was from a post by B.A. Dilger. I had your soundbite screed against our president in view as I opened the Add-a-message panel and therefore erroneously attributed the quote to you.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2012 7:45:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 18, 2012 7:48:03 PM PST
B. A. Dilger says:
The rose, Shakespeare, and biblical reference were all mine, and sorry if they ran together. "Tomorrow we die" may be the Klingon variation of the verse, or Robert E. Howard. The 'chrono' terms in the OP give it a shiny new sound, kinda like getting a new car. All too often on these threads I have seen judgements made on controversial history, where somehow 21st century man knew what it is like to be cro-magnum man. Squatting in the mud, sniffing the ground for spoor and meat, cro-magnum man certainly wouldn't understand us or our world. There is too large a separation in man's development, a gap in eras, where the facts of today were superstition by our predecessors, or cause to be burned at the stake. Man is driven by drivel often; shock of the new prevents him from attaining a higher status on the high steps of evolution often. It was popular to be 'here and now' before multitasking. Before we found out that the greatest generation is now replaced by a subservient class, a class of sniveling politicians and ambitious technocrats. And the bean-counters. So chrono-dating events in history becomes a post-modern urge to put the last century in perspective, to grind it in a fine powder and say that we know exactly how they did it, and they were not us, not in the here and now and not in the past. But man as a homogenous whole is our biological equivalent and therefore must think as we do, act as we do, and therefore culpable of his behaviors. And burned on the cross of modern dogoodery.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2012 8:48:34 PM PST
roger that
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Discussion in:  History forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  13
Initial post:  Dec 13, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 18, 2012

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