in Musings

On Norms

One thing that’s been on my mind lately is how much we don’t know. There are things we know we don’t know, and things we don’t know we don’t know. The latter is inevitably much greater than the former. 

When future generations look back at our time, what will they point to and say, “That’s absurd!”

For instance, when we look back at the 1500s, we can point to the absurdity of witch burning, lament how backwards society was back then, and wonder how humans could have been so naive to even consider such a ritual.

But for those that lived in that period, witch hunting and burning was completely natural. They were following what they knew, and society deemed such acts as normal. It was only with the advancement of education and a century-long struggle did people begin to poke their heads up and realize their beliefs may have been wrong.

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So what acts or thoughts of normalcy do we hold now that might be refuted and laughed at for their absurdity in the future? It is difficult to conjure up or fathom what these things may be, but the process of doing so is humbling so that we may perhaps avoid them or learn from our mistakes. A mark of the intelligent is the ability and proclivity to question the norm. Indeed, as F. Scott Fitzgerald has said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

I don’t have the answers to these questions either. What I do know is that it’ll be interesting to read how the history books write about our time.

I’ll end this post here for now, but I will probably add to it in the future when I’m not burdened by five exams.