Tag: suckers

Suckers and Monsters

Credit: David Malki ! at Wondermark (http://wondermark.com/445/)

We human beings don’t handle technological progress very gracefully. Those of us who have spent years doing things “the hard way” can feel cheated when suddenly someone invents an easy way. Take, for example, the ballpoint pen. This little invention (and its immediate predecessors) essentially obsoleted centuries of tradition in penmanship, calligraphy, and pen care. And it’s not just pens. The same thing happened with the advent of painkillers. Or television. Or typewriters. This sort of change leads to all kinds of post hoc justifications for why the old way is better. We don’t like to feel like suckers. We don’t like to feel that our sufferings have been needless, and we especially don’t like to feel that skills we’ve obtained “the hard way” are suddenly invalid and irrelevant. So we create narratives whereby “the hard way” is recast as “the right way”. Problems come when we introduce this moral element of “rightness” to technological advances. These narratives discourage us…