The Modernist wrote:This is going to sound a bit ignorant of me so I'll try to be careful how I phrase it. But you seem to put a great deal of intellectual worth in historical thinkers or philosophers, but I wonder how much relevance they can have in the 21st century. I have had this 'problem', if I can put it like that, with some of your arguments recently. Can ideas from the 18th century really be so easily transferred to our current situation in the here and now? History is important in telling us how we got to a certain point, but I don't think it can always point the way forward as well.
You can go back 2500 years really. Our lives are built on tradition and the thoughts and actions of those who went before us. There is no doubt that in the 21st century, particularly with the advent of ultra-fast communication and worldviews that are increasingly becoming bigger and bigger, things are changing perhaps at a pace which is damaging. But we can only surely work with what we have, rather than trying to make something completely new.
One of the fundamental aspects of studying Antiquity is the realisation, for me at least, that people are, on the whole, the same as they were back then. There is a sharp distinction in worldview between a pre-industrial society and a modern one, but people's everyday actions, desires and mores are pretty much the same. There is an argument amongst some scholars that "globalisation" has conveniently replaced slavery from the perspective of how we view the movement and production of goods and services compared to the height of the Roman empire.