Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Patterns of the Past

Patterns of the Past
"The patterns of the past don’t change, but the mediums do."

History repeats itself: that much is clear, but how and why? Is the repetition of history good or bad for humanity? Is humanity climbing an ever-winding stair upward toward utopia, or spiraling endlessly downward toward destruction? In researching the patterns of the past, we learn that the patterns don't change - they just look different.

  • Michael: History repeats itself more rapidly as communication technology develops.  Is society spiraling out of control as it advances?
We study history so we can avoid mistakes that were made in the past.  In our Digital Age, learning about history has never been easier - through online databases and encyclopedias, we literally have the world at our fingertips - and yet most people know as little about it as their parents and their grandparents do.  My thesis is that in a world in which historical events repeat themselves, we must use the modern conveniences available to us learn from the past and take responsibility for our future.

We must find the middle path for society to advance.
In his 2014 book Sustainable Civilization, Klaas Van Egmond wrote: "Throughout... history, developments have continued to lose their equilibrium... One-sided values start to dominate, after which society loses continuity and heads for catastrophe. Through a primitive learning process, the one-sided values are translated into their equally one-sided opposites, after which history repeats itself just as dramatically. In a drunk-like state, people and society wander backwards and forwards through their own value pattern."  Klaas' main point is that "developments can only continue if a certain middle way is found between fundamental opposites within that social value pattern." Look at my personal blog post to learn more.

  • Nathan: We’re constantly searching for meaning in social media, but do we even know what we are looking for?
We spend hours scrolling, liking, and envying other people on social media. We claim to get on instagram, snapchat, or facebook with a purpose, but do we end up accomplishing our purpose? Did we even have one in the first place? These social media platforms are enticing, but they are really causing us to lose purpose in life. Back at the start of World War I, a similar phenomenon occurred. The war led the Lost Generation to lose their purpose in this life. They obviously were not physically lost, but their minds were. They were wandering aimlessly through the world with no purpose. Eventually this led to a period of war and technological advancement led to the great depression.
We say we are advancing in technology and it is making us smarter. There is more information available to us than ever before. This is what they thought when the printing press and radio broadcasts came out. I submit that we are ever learning and never really learning knowledge or truth. We are just continually losing ourselves as patterned in history. Today the medium is social media, back then it was World War I. What can we do as a society to help us keep our identity? Find out on my personal blog post

  • Jonah: Do advancements in technology always mean advancements in society?
Man's greatest capability is to make improvements on himself through technology. With highly developed brains and opposable thumbs, we can create almost anything we imagine. We may not win in a fair fight with a lion, but a lion can't make itself a bow and arrow. We may not be able to fly
Depiction of slaves working Eli Whitney's cotton gin in 1830
like a bird, but we can create planes and helicopters. We can't breathe while under water but we can make tanks of air to bring down with us. That is why humans have dominion over the Earth. We build tools to help us do things with ease. However, not all advancements in technology are advancements in society. To learn about how Columbus' discovery of North America, the invention of the atomic bomb, and the cotton gin caused negative changes in society, visit my personal blog post.

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