Charles Darwin evidently didn’t like the evolution of the book industry. It is said that when he acquired a book that he would rip the covers off and put the loose pages in a box, because the pages were easier to turn and access that way. Hmmm… he must have longed for the good ol’ days when writing was committed to scrolls.
Anyway, this provoked me to think about what modern conveniences I would like to junk and go back to the way it was done in by-gone eras. Here is my list of three areas in which I think a return to the good ol’ days would be a positive thing:
1. Pedagogy: I believe that modern education, at all levels, should reconsider some of the pedagogical patterns which we have adopted and return to some approaches from the past. There has been a rebirth of classical learning in private schools such as the use of the trivium and quadrivium. However, simple steps such as moving to intensive rather than extensive reading plans, and other small adjustments could make significant differences. I think E.D. Hirsch was right when he said, “We have too readily blamed shortcomings in American education on social changes (the disorientation of the American family or the impact of television ( or incompetent teachers or structural flaws in our school systems. But the chief blame should fall on faulty theories promulgated in our schools of education and accepted by educational policymakers. (in Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs To Know; Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1987)
2. I wish that window water-coolers would come back into fashion. There is nothing like coming inside on a hot day and sitting in front of a water-cooler blowing cold wet air across your body with the sound of the whirling drum in the background. Yes, I like having air-conditioning throughout the house but it is a convenience and comfort, whereas a water-cooler was an experience.
3. I long for the good old days when we could buy milk which hadn’t been put through the pasteurization process. REAL milk straight from the cow tastes sooooooo goooooood. There has never been, and never will be a drink that is more perfect than milk when it comes direct from the cow. How is it that they can take something as glorious as raw milk and remove all the flavor during the course of processing it. During pasteurization milk is heated to about 1500 degrees to kill all the bacteria, however, it also kills all that makes it taste UNBELIEVABLE. Maybe you are still living in the good ol’ days, for it is still legal to sell raw milk in 28 States. However, in Texas only one dairy is licensed to sell it. At Sand Creek Farm located in Kurten (about 12 miles outside of Bryan and not far from Houston) you can buy raw milk for just $8 a gallon. I am so jealous/envious of the people who live close-by. If you hear that I am in jail (I’ll be calling you to bail me out), there is a pretty good chance that I finally faltered in my sanctification and ended up buying raw milk from a guy in a trenchcoat selling it out of the trunk of his car. “Psssttt, hey buddy, wanna buy some milk?”
Okay, so I’m not as anti-evolutionary as Charles Darwin. None of my flirtations with the past are as wild and weird as him ripping the covers off his books and reading the loose pages. So, in honor of Charles I’m going to rip the covers off of my copy of The Origin of Species and put the loose pages in a box.