We measure time and assign things to an age, although at times it is hard to determine what age we are actually in. We started with the prehistoric age where record keeping was confined to cave walls and historians didn’t exist, and have progressed through various civilizations until we arrive at today. Along the way, we passed through the middle ages, also known as the dark ages, (~500-1500 AD) when the Roman Empire had collapsed and Europe fell into disorganization. Then, of course, we had the age of Enlightenment where learning returned and men studied the classic works of the ancient Greeks and early Roman intellectuals. This led us to the Industrial age where mechanical devices began to replace the physical labors of the common man or woman and the idea of mass production became a reality.
Eventually the Industrial age begat the Industrial Tycoon. He was a man feared by many for the power he wielded and the wealth he accumulated on the backs of the poor workers and the average citizen. These men, their wives, and their progeny lived in opulence and traveled the world in an effort to see and buy everything they could. For example, John D. Rockefeller Jr. traveled through post war Europe (1920s), buying up old churches and middle age tapestries, art, and armor from the religious orders and nobles who could no longer afford them. He brought them home to the US, of course, and found a cozy spot on Manhattan to rebuild them.
Certainly, these ages are not strictly defined with absolute start and stop dates, rather they are represented by approximations of when significant indications are present. There are also “unofficial” ages we like to consider, for example the “Age of Chivalry,” where knights roamed the land protecting the poor and downtrodden from the evil that existed. I assume good knights could be identified by their shinny armor and white ostrich plumes, gleaming broadswords, and pure white chargers; while the bad knights by their rusty dark black armor, ink black plumes, fear invoking broadswords, and black horses. Their squires, most certainly, also represented the distinction with one group being kind and loyal while the other sneaky, dark, and perhaps even hunched back.
Which brings me to the question of today, what age are we in now?
If we are to believe the ubiquitous news reporting we must be in the “Age of Incivility.” For night after night, day after day, that is all we hear about. The media tells us how this group or that group is destroying society. We see on social media the outpouring of rage, vile rhetoric, and hate over simple things we should find agreement on, but cannot. In the cities, we see increases in violence and crime where the average person and even the police are warned not to go into certain neighborhoods for fear of their safety and life.
A year ago, there were massive floods in western Louisiana, citizens came together to help each other, people with boats set out to help rescue those stranded by high water and the various communities helped each other.
Today there are even more massive floods in southeastern Texas, including the city of Houston. Tens of thousands of people are stranded and needing rescue and again citizens, including those from Louisiana, have come to assist the overwhelmed official first responders and the National Guard as they are mobilized. It is interesting to see the difference in how the survivors respond. In the small towns and rural areas, these private citizen saviors are welcomed and their aid appreciated. In the inner city of Houston, they are fired upon and their boats stolen by those who would profit through violence and theft.
Unfortunately, this says so very much about the state of the age we are in.