2012 Summer Olympics: Opening ceremony. The Industrial Revolution destroyed society.

· Philosophy, Popular culture

Many people are excited by the beginning of the 2012 Summer Olympics. I don’t normally watch the opening ceremony, but I did last night. Since this year it was held in Britain, the ceremony had a very British theme to it. What I found most interesting was the mention of history and how it related to Britain. The Industrial Revolution was begun in Britain. They did a great job showing the difference between the pastoral elements to the culture, when agriculture was the main source of people’s income, and then the transition into the more modern economy due to the Industrial Revolution.


Although I was not really able to follow everything that was going on (I think there was too much!), I did find the assumption that the Industrial Revolution was something that the British wanted to take credit for. In my mind, the Industrial Revolution is one of the worst things to happen in the history of humankind. Imagine how much simpler, and less dangerous, life was when the economy was agricultural, and not industrial.


Industrialization may have made some countries rich, but at what cost? When people had to work on a farm to make their living, their work ethic was so much stronger. They were more closely knit together as families. Older children were taught early on to help look after the younger children. Women always stayed at home. The family spent more time with each other. People were too busy to get into nearly as much trouble as they do these days. Human nature has always been the same, and I am not pretending that life pre-Industrial Revolution was some kind of magical, heavenly paradise. But I am making the point that with the Industrial Revolution came a lot of bad things, along with some good.


Wouldn’t it be nice to go back to a time when life was simpler, when there was less pollution, when the work ethic was stronger, when young people obeyed their parents, when women stayed home and looked after their children, when exhaustion precluded misbehaviour on too grand a scale….I wish we could go back to those times. And perhaps we can by travelling to countries that are considered developing. Who knows? Maybe people in developing countries have life figured out better than we do in Canada, a supposedly developed country. Give me more chickens and cows, if that means better-behaved children, human beings doing jobs instead of machines, and large, connected families helping each other out. 

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  1. No.

    You read too far into things, and you display a very common thinking that ‘the past is better’. You probably didn’t see the hundreds of volunteers smeared in oil and pulling at cranks there and levers to be quickly forgotten, or the demonstrations of those rich elite who benefited the most from the industrial revolution and admired their ‘work’ while others slaved away. You were too busy going “gawsh, I wish I could go back to the days where people died of easily preventable illnesses and women had about as much rights as a rock.” Everything you take advantage of here came from the fruits industrial revolution, even your concept of a family. The computer, the rights you have, the fact no one is slapping you over your religion or lack thereof, medicine, food, clothing.

    The family was a labor force, you didn’t have more kids because you loved them, you had them so you had more hands on the farm and a better chance at your legacy being passed on because more than half of all children died before they turned ten. Children were mini-adults back then. Yes I’m sure you’ll love to sit home and pop out babies while mourning over the death of another child while your husband works for peanuts. War was not invented in the modern era, skinnings and burning people alive existed even before Ur. Before you wish for the ‘simple old days’, make sure you know what you’re talking about instead of your idealized vision of Arcadia.

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