Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Math, Carpentry, and Culture: a Facebook Rant

It's a mathematical axiom that through a point an infinite number of lines can be drawn. It's also an axiom that two points determine a line. But statistically speaking, the closer together those two points are, the less reliable are any predictions made from them.

In the real world, it's easy to lay a 10-foot 2x4 across two sawhorses six feet apart. Now try balancing the 2x4 across one sawhorse. Then try balancing it on a 1/2" rebar stuck into the ground. The smaller the base, the harder the balancing act.

The real-life analogy to this is that (all other things equal) we old folks have a longer, and therefore better, view of life and especially American culture than you young folks do. Culture is like the air you breathe: you don't notice it unless it changes or you have something to compare it to.

I grew up in the late 40s and through the 50s, and I can say that American culture has largely degenerated since then. I can smell the stink of it, but you young folks can't, because you grew up in it and don't know any better. You think it's fine and normal, I know it's rotten and abnormal.


  1. Yep - we "oldies" know there's a problem. I often think about how much the younger folks have missed. It makes me sad...

  2. Most disturbing, to me at least, is the number of people oblivious to the cultural decline. And when you try to explain what is happening culture-wise, often you get a deer-in-the-headlights look or they nonchalantly score you off as an extremist nutter - at least in my experience.