Wednesday, May 21, 2008

don't write angry

the previous post dredged up some pretty harsh feelings in me, especially the part about alternative medicine and the attitudes my peers have about my attitude. "Ancient Wisdom" oh how people just love that phrase. How it's imbued with secret knowledge and how utterly cold I am, how close-minded I am when I admittedly raise a skeptical eyebrow immediately at some recovered or revealed bit of what not that proves how much the "Ancients" knew.
"See," I paraphrase from one argument or another, "they were right all along!" Now, I am the first to champion our ancestors because I do study history. They were a lot smarter than most of us today give them credit for. Human is as human does and we've always been a clever species (if a bit short-sighted.) But we haven't always been educated or possessed the vast body of knowledge we do now. What bugs me is that while folks smugly revere the one "hit" the wise ancients got, they completely ignore the 100 "misses" surrounding it. One "right" somehow justifies a whole system of wrong. Or even better, retroactive revisionism, wherein a delightfully vague bit of wisdom is reread with a modern, educated eye to have meant what it would mean if was written today, much like a horoscope read to be accurate prediction, no matter what it actually meant to the ancients. Amazing how much they knew! We're only "rediscovering" it. Really? So much "wisdom" yet incredibly short life spans, dismal infant mortality, horrific susceptibility to disease, malnutrition and generally terrible conditions for thousands of years. One hundred misses. I'm not singling out any religion or culture, but I'm quite confident in my skepticism and call the progress we've made exactly that: progress.

No comments: