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|The Pace of Modern Life|
Title text: 'Unfortunately, the notion of marriage which prevails ... at the present time ... regards the institution as simply a convenient arrangement or formal contract ... This disregard of the sanctity of marriage and contempt for its restrictions is one of the most alarming tendencies of the present age.' --John Harvey Kellogg, Ladies' guide in health and disease (1883)
The debate as to whether or not the pace of modern life is detrimental to society, culture, and the human experience in general has been going on for longer than we may realize. Presently, the debate has focused on technology such as smartphones, tablets, and other portable electronics; however, many of the same arguments were made against newspapers, magazines, telegraphs, telephones, and even written correspondence 100 years ago.
People always tend to think of older times as better. The people complaining compare their present time to the time they lived in before, that is, a couple of decades ago, and this has been happening for over a century (at least). This comic makes a point that the older times people refer to, were also critiziced in the exact same fashion. Since the same criticism is applied to each generation by the generation before that one, every generation thinks that the one they were born in, is the good one. This is presentism as explained by Randall in comic #24.
The comic begins and ends with very similar arguments, perhaps emphasizing how these debates cycle and repeat over time.
The title text shows that the meaning of the institute of marriage debate has likewise been going on for quite some time.
- The art of letter-writing is fast dying out. When a letter cost nine pence, it seemed but fair to try to make it worth nine pence ... Now, however, we think we are too busy for such old-fashioned correspondence. We fire off a multitude of rapid and short notes, instead of sitting down to have a good talk over a real sheet of paper.
- - The Sunday Magazine 1871
- It is, unfortunately, one of the chief characteristics of modern business to be always in a hurry. In olden times it was different.
- - The Medical Record 1884
- With the advent of cheap newspapers and superior means of locomotion ... The dreamy quiet old days are over ... For men now live think and work at express speed. They have their Mercury or Post laid on their breakfast table in the early morning, and if they are too hurried to snatch from it the news during that meal, they carry it off, to be sulkily read as they travel ... Leaving them no time to talk with the friend who may share the compartment with them ... The hurry and bustle of modern life ... Lacks the quiet and repose of the period when our forefathers, the days work done, took their ease ...
- - William Smith, Morley Ancient and Modern 1886
- Conversation is said to be a lost art ... Good talk presupposes leisure, both for preparation and enjoyment. The age of leisure is dead, and the art of conversation is dying.
- - Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly, Volume 29 1890
- Intellectual laziness and the hurry of the age have produced a craving for literary nips. The torpid brain ... has grown too weak for sustained thought.
There never was an age in which so many people were able to write badly.
- - Israel Zangwill, The Bachelors' Club 1891
- The art of pure line engraving is dying out. We live at too fast a rate to allow for the preparation of such plates as our fathers appreciated. If a picture catches the public fancy, the public must have an etched or a photogravured copy of it within a month or two of its appearance, the days when engravers were wont to spend two or three years over a single plate are for ever gone.
- - Journal of the Institute of Jamaica, Volume I 1892
- So much is exhibited to the eye that nothing is left to the imagination. It sometimes seems almost possible that the modern world might be choked by its own riches, and human faculty dwindle away amid the million inventions that have been introduced to render its exercise unnecessary.
- The articles in the Quarterlies extend to thirty or more pages, but thirty pages is now too much. So we witness a further condensing process and, we have the Fortnightly and the Contemporary which reduce thirty pages to fifteen pages so that you may read a larger number of articles in a shorter time and in a shorter form. As if this last condensing process were not enough the condensed articles of these periodicals are further condensed by the daily papers, which will give you a summary of the summary of all that has been written about everything.
- Those who are dipping into so many subjects and gathering information in a summary and superficial form lose the habit of settling down to great works.
- Ephemeral literature is driving out the great classics of the present and the past … Hurried reading can never be good reading.
- - G. J. Goschen, First Annual Address to the Students, Toynbee Hall, London
- The existence of mental and nervous degeneration among a growing class of people, especially in large cities, is an obvious phenomenon. The mania for stimulants … Diseases of the mind are almost as numerous as the diseases of the body … This intellectual condition is characterized by a brain incapable of normal working … in a large measure due to the hurry and excitement of modern life, with its facilities for rapid locomotion and almost instantaneous communication between remote points of the globe …
- - The Churchman, Volume 71
- If we teach the children how to play and encourage them in their sports … instead of shutting them in badly ventilated schoolrooms, the next generation will be more joyous and will be healthier than the present one.
- - Public Opinion: A Comprehensive Summary of the Press Throughout the World, Volume 18
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