Sometimes dismissing the old while embracing the new does not make for real progress. It is change without improvement.
There are so many examples in everyday experience that you would think that everyone was aware that pursuing the new was not necessarily a route to a better life.
Take the use of plastics. As a London commuter in the 1990s the majority around me were drinking bottled water out of single-use bottles. The branches of W H Smith in the main stations must have sold millions of bottles over the decade. Then the attitude was only the old or deluded were not smart enough not adopt this essential lifestyle improvement. Water shipped in – ideally from some exotic location – was de rigueur.
Similarly no one brought their own bags with them when shopping. Carrying your own bags was even considered as labelling you as a potential shoplifter. Everyone was given nice clean, shiny, disposable plastic ones when checking out. It avoided the hassle of carrying a reuseable one. It was the modern convenient way to go. Again it was only the old fashioned that declined to follow such new ideas.
How different in Grandad’s childhood – milk and pop in re-useable, returnable bottles; groceries in sturdy bags and household junk collected by rag-and-bone men for recycling. A process that has been replaced today by a never-ending stream of single-use plastic bags being pushed through letter boxes all around the country every day of the week. Not very eco-friendly!
Certainly plastic has become an essential material in the 21st century – but we now need to be a bit more old fashioned and wise in what we use it for …