“Good Old Day” Syndrome

Ted Kaczynski may have been smart in some ways, but he wasn’t a genius likes Einstein. Even though Ted was teaching a university in the Bay Area by the time he was in his early 20’s that is sorta overshadowed by what happened next. See, he got it in his mind that technology, like cars and running water and electricity were really bad for humanity and that people led lives that were worse for them than in the past. I call this “Good Old Day,” syndrome because there are lots of people who think things were better way back when, even though they just have a romanticized idea of what it was really like. When I was in college–a very liberal and alternative college (still in state and state college) there were a lot of people I knew who believed that there had been many matriarchies throughout time, and I’ve known college professors  who thought so as well, but when I asked them what their sources were for these claims they said they’d get back to me and never did. You might call me sexist for not believing that some societies were ruled by women way back when, but it seems unlikely and without specific evidence I can’t believe it. But, to tell you the truth, I think matriarchy  would be a really nice one, one where violence is less prevalent maybe, and I think people would be more encouraged to find diplomatic solutions to their problems. But, like I said, I’ve never found any evidence to support that this has ever been.

The problem I have with “Good Old Day,” syndrome is that it doesn’t give enough credit to the world we live in now. I know some people think we’d all be happier if we went back to plowing fields and growing our own food and keeping cows in our back yards, but the truth is, once humans are spending all their time on survival all the beautiful things people create, like literature, paintings, movies, sculptures–they all stop being made. If I have to spend all my hours working a field, I’m not going to have much time to work on my novel, now, am I?

What I’m trying to say is this: The Good Old Days don’t exist. There have always been problems. The ones we have now are not worse than those humanity had 1000 years ago. If you want to see what it looks like when people are forced to work the land and abandon technology research the Khmer Rouge.

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Gameboys and the Unabomber

One of the things I remember the most about my childhood is Pokemon. This year Pokemon celebrated its 20th birthday, which might not seem like a big deal to you, and you might be asking yourself, “Why does he keep bring Pokemon up, that’s so weird,” but it’s because I was only 8 years old when the first Pokemon Gameboy game came out in the United States.

Now the game was a stepping stone in my reading career. See, up until Pokemon Red and Blue, most the video games I’d played were visual based. There wasn’t much reading in them. They were sports games like Madden football for the Super Nintendo and stuff like that. No text, just pick a team and a play, run the play, repeat. Pokemon was different for me because it had a story. Of course, I couldn’t read enough to know what that story was, but I knew that all the little blobs on my Gameboy screen were saying things and every once in a while I had the option to pick yes or no, which I did.

So, of course, having fallen in love with Pokemon, I was then excited to learn the story of the game. But that wasn’t really my first true reading experience. My first true reading experience was Pokemon cards.

But wait, I need to back up, because this is years and years later.

After the lady from the public school came and tested me with Rorschach and stuff I didn’t hear much about what was going on with me. I think it’s interesting how adults will keep things secret from their children in order to protect them, but sometimes the best thing to do is tell them the truth. The truth was my parents had no idea what to do with me. My dad had a book called “The Gift of Dyslexia” and I think this helped him understand me a lot. I think it helped both my parents realize that even though I couldn’t read or do math and stuff I could imagine things in a very vivid manner that other people couldn’t. My mom wanted me to take an IQ test and so I did and I scored super low–like really really low–and that trend would continue once I hit the standardized testing of public schools. She always felt that the IQ tests were sorta rigged, but I don’t know how that might be–though there’s no doubt some very crazy people have scored well on IQ tests, like Ted Kaczynski, who, by the age of 5 reportedly had an IQ a couple points higher than Einstein–then Ted decided to send bombs in the mail. You probably know him as the Unabomber.