There are two things you can say about The Age of Reason. Namely, it’s either ahead of us, or behind us. The Behind Us camp has the largest number of followers, I’d say. In the distant past, when the term was coined, the philosophers proclaimed it was a bright new day when prejudice and superstition no longer ruled. Is that so? I can think of a couple of examples of things that have happened since the 1700’s that might be called “unreasonable”.
The Behind Us camp does not, however, have to reach quite that far back to illustrate that a better time existed. Their assertions often start with “Back in my day…”. On that bright and shining day, young people were respectful to their elders, did not listen to That kind of music, and most certainly did Not Dress Like That. And also too (to coin a phrase), there was no income tax. And we grew our own zucchini and voluntarily shared it with our neighbors who didn’t have any. Not that there has ever been a zucchini you wanted to hoard.
Then there is the Ahead of Us camp. One day we will all be ruled by reason, and life will be like a continuous birthday party. Everyone will love everyone else. Everyone will always get the biggest piece of the birthday cake, and the best present. The worst disappointment we’ll suffer is that a cake crumb falls on our feathery angel wings.
And then there is Now. If you’re in the Behind Us camp, then there isn’t much point, is there? You can throw your hands up in the air and give up, or you could, just as a suggestion, join the Ahead of Us camp and hope they develop a Time Machine so you can return to that blissful and perfect scene from the past.
Or…you could really be a member of the Now camp, with the following motto: “What difference does it make?” Carpe Diem.
Or…you could be like Fakename, with one foot in one philosophy and one in the other. Fakename chooses mostly Now, and dips one foot into the waters of Ahead of Us. (Having only two feet, she had to give up the temptation to dip one of them in the Behind Us river.)
That said, Fakename would like to opine that those who live only in Now are cynics. Those who live in the Behind Us camp are sad and irrelevant. Those who live only in the Ahead of Us camp are missing some serious current stuff. Fakename thinks she has it about right.
And if you get right down to it, Fakename is mostly a cynic. She is amused by the constant imprecations to act NOW, otherwise, a) all the whales in the world will become extinct, b) Scott Brown will be elected to Congress which will be the end of Life As We Know It. And it will be Fakename’s fault.
Fakename believes that Hope…that amorphous and indefinable thing, is necessary for survival. At least for hers.