In this month when we have had riots on the streets of England one has heard the question “What is the world coming to?” asked a fair bit. It is worth taking a moment to put this question in context.
A tablet from ancient Assyria, about 2800 B.C. – I stress, that’s nearly five thousand years ago - stated: 'Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.'
Around two and a half millennia later, Socrates complained, 'Children are now tyrants... They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize over their teachers.'
And a few years later Plato wrote of his students: 'What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them.'
What is the world coming to? It's carrying on, pretty much the same as it always has done. And that, in its own way is an even sadder reflection than if it were changing.
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