Life is tough on the correct behavior circuit today. Student activists are bumping into “chronocentrism”. How can protesters today maintain the persona of benighted behavior custodians and still ignore history? 

CHRONOCENTRISM: The assumption that certain time periods (typically the present) are better, more important frame of reference than other time periods.

That’s a deflating observation/accusation when you’re on the picket line. Author and NY Times writer Mr. Lyer is accusing students of racism before they can fling the dreaded epitaph back at him. He writes:

“Those who dismiss the past just because it’s past run the risk of not appreciating the fact that the past, like most of us in earlier times, was imperfectly doing its best. As more and more of us imprison ourselves in the moment — thank you, addictive screens! — we devolve into a “presentism” that shares some of the cruelty of racism.” 

                                                                                     Pico Lyer, N.Y. Times 12/23/19 

If you are past your college sophomore year, you cannot feel the pain of being labeled “Adolescent”. How can one protest injustice, incorrect, conservative speakers on campus and the power structure when the press brands you childish?

A recent newspaper defined “adolescent” as: 

“… a person who thinks that what is new is better, precisely because he has so little sense of what is old. One definition of a grown-up is someone who appreciates how little he can be sure of or dismiss. The surest way to be in the wrong is to assume with blind conviction you’re in the right.”

I can hear the memorable words of Greta Thunberg saying “How dare you?”

Seventeen-year-old Greta tells students they are the Morality Saints and “… will hold you (blackguards) responsible. We will never forgive you!” 

Judgments locked in “presentism”, not only lack humility they show little knowledge of the past. We’d prefer that our father’s generation had done things differently, as surely our children and grandchildren will wish the same of us. But Dad and his parents survived, pulled the family and kids through the depression, wars and kept food on the table. Was Dad’s generation more racist, homophobic, and committed to a host of other unforgivable sins? Yes. Did they seek forgiveness? No, because they were too busy stopping totalitarian regimes, eradicating polio, banning the bomb, and venturing into space.

The current generations are committing sins, wasting resources resisting vaccinations, contaminate the planet? Doubtless, today’s unforgivable transgressions will require forgiveness from future chronocentrist scolds. Students who judge dad’s and grandpa’s behavior unacceptable, how will they endure the future? When the scolds come to pass judgement on the currently benighted, their hypocrisy and ignorance of history will hurt. 

Categories: Humor

3 replies

  1. Being the age i am has definite advantages. The past is also the present. Every experience I have is a new one since I can’t remember much of what happened yesterday nor the days before that. I have no enemies, mainly because I can’t remember if anyone pissed me off unless it was in the last five minutes. Everyone I meet is new to me and a new interesting person since I have no idea if I had ever met them before. Life at age 80+ is a treat, every day…well some body parts hurt, but I will have forgotten that tomorrow and get to start all over.

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