Tuesday, September 7, 2021

No Better Time

Stadium seating in movie theaters, wheeled luggage with extendable handles, and UV-protection swim shirts -- where was this genius when I was growing up?

Seriously. Sometimes I ponder some of the modern conveniences we have, like a smartphone, and I think it's a pretty marvelous invention and certainly one that required a lot of technological development, much of which had to grow from previous achievements. Sort of the "standing on the shoulders of giants" idea. However, something as simple and obvious as stadium seating in a theater seems like such a no-brainer. And, having memories from being a child in the 1970s and literally having to view a movie through the gap between the shoulders of two adults sitting in front of me, I just wonder why it took so long to figure that out. Same thing goes for wheeled suitcases. Do you have memories of lugging awkward heavy luggage prior to the wheeled cart? Who was the genius who finally said, "Enough! I'm putting wheels and and a handle on this." Regardless, simple conveniences like that certainly make life just a bit more pleasant than even just a decade ago.

Stephen Pinker might agree with me.

The esteemed psychology professor has long noted what a wonderful time it is to be alive, despite all our grumbling and complaining. While we can certainly look nostalgically back to a time before Covid and before the War on Terror and before a 24-7 hyper-connected world and before franchising and before advanced weaponry and before ... oh, so many things, the hard data about life in the twenty-first century is that it's a mighty good time to be alive.

For a bit more insight and information on this, and for certainly a much more erudite, informed, insightful, and inspiring read, check out Pinker's book Enlightenment Now. the Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, & Progress.

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