Every generation laments that things have never been worse. Is it true, or is our perception of the past skewed by nostalgia and selective memory?
We can’t be sure. But things certainly do seem awful.
It might give us some consolation to know that the peculiar circumstances of our times were anticipated hundreds, even thousands, of years ago. Consider these lines from the medieval philosopher Omar Khayyam, according to the classical translation.
Justice is the soul of the universe,
The universe is the body.
The angels are the wit of the body,
The heavens the elements,
The creatures in it are the members;
Behold here the eternal unity.
The rest is only trumpery.
Now there’s a word you don’t hear anymore: trumpery. According to Dictionary.com, its meanings include: