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An informal, stream-of-consciousness reflection on business ideas, events and issues in modern business, modern life and with some specifics to the web-software industry by Paul Tomori, Internet Entrepreneur

We Live In Advanced Times - We Live In Primitive Times
What Do We Do Today That Will Be Thought Of As Primitive In 150 Years?

By Paul Tomori
Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 23:48:32 (EDT)

It was only 150 years ago that the prevailing belief was that most disease was caused by evil spirits. If you got ill, it was some kind of divine retribution for having sinned. If you were a baby or young child, too young to have sinned, then any disease you got was payback for the sins of your parents.

Louis Pasteur fought this commonly-held belief and spoke instead of "micro-organisms" as the causal agent of sickness. It was quite brave of him to do so. But, sometimes when everyone has simply settled on something as factual... or as a given, complacency can set in and people stop questioning the basis for their belief. Yet, that is precisely when further investigation is needed. Because of Pasteur, we now have "pasteurized" milk that is safe to drink. We also have vaccinations for cholera, chickenpox, rabies and other serious threats.

It seems absurd to think that just 150 years ago, people didn't know about disease-causing bacteria and that they made such strange attribution errors, blaming spirits. How utterly primitive of them!

Which begs the question.

What are we doing, thinking, or believing TODAY that will be considered primitive 150 years from NOW?

It would be nice to imagine what those things might be so we could hurry our progress along a little faster.

Some possibilities:

1. Back in 2009, people actually still drove around in gas-powered vehicles that spewed dangerous exhaust into the very air that everyone had to breathe!! This "pollution" as they called it also contributed to a greenhouse effect that if left unchecked would have caused mass destruction to the sacred balance that keeps all life going. How primitive!

2. Back in 2009, people still ate unmeasured quantities of foods littered with untold contaminants and carcinogens. They were becoming obese in droves and dying from cancers that had no "apparent" cause. How primitive!

3. Back in 2009, doctors still prescribed medicine that would be taken orally and delivered to the entire body even when the known location of the health problem was an ear infection. How primitive!

4. Back in 2009, people still poured cancer-causing chemicals right on the grass that surrounded their homes, where their children and pets would play just so they could have green grass. How primitive!

5. Back in 2009, people would go to a doctor just once a year for a "check-up" and some people would skip the yearly checkup and go just once every 3 or 5 years. The doctor would ask some basic questions, poke and prod a little bit, maybe order some blood tests whose results would come back weeks later and that was it! People actually looked after their vehicles and their lawns with more care than their own bodies. How primitive!

6. Back in 2009, people actually still smoked cigarettes even though there had been a direct tie proven between smoking and heart disease, stroke, cancer and more. But to make matters worse, the governments of the day not only condoned smoking, they also profited from it. How primitive!

7. Back in 2009, there were "best before" dates on food and drug products. These were intended to guide people as to whether they could still consume those items safely. For example, milk would have such a "best before" date could have been inferred to mean "not so good after". This conclusion was arrived at with no consideration as to what the actual status of the milk was, what temperature it had been stored at... what quantity was stored, etc.. A "best before" date was a kind of approximation as to the freshness of the milk. Sometimes, the "best before" date could not be discerned, because the printing of the date was smudged. How imprecise! How primitive!

The list of obviously-primitive things we do today is long... the list of not-so-obviously primitive behaviors is much longer and scarier in its presently cloaked state. Perhaps some of the very things we do or believe on a daily basis, that we believe to be completely safe... are the very things that will be looked upon with bewilderment 150 years from now!

In business, one must always check one's premises. Why are we doing what we are going? Do we really need this or that? For example, is it really necessary to have a centralized office where staff congregate on a daily basis or could we run more efficiently and less expensively through tele-commuting over the internet? If any industry can do that, it would be ours. And, do we really need to print everything to paper? What is so much more compelling about a paper copy?

In our personal lives, we also must check our premises. We must remain open to challenges to the norm and we must encourage responsible dissent from people who may just end up compelling us to rid ourselves of our own primitiveness.

Lastly, will someone please invent a portable, simple-to-use, food rancidity tester already?? I am tired of wondering about the ACTUAL freshness of the food I eat.

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