Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
User avatar
CarbonElitist
Posts: 437
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by CarbonElitist » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:57 pm

Peter Lovett wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:29 am
Go on...............find north using your fancy digital watch. Not the applications that you can get with things like an Apple watch, just the numbers, go on, let's see you do it. :chaud:
I would just get a digital watch with a compass built in. It would be far more accurate and it wouldn't be dependent on whether or not you're in the Northern hemisphere.
:lol:
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

Dirck Nagy
Posts: 957
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by Dirck Nagy » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:02 pm

riffmeister wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:40 pm
Moral of the story, live your own life and stay out of the cesspool.
+1

Dirck Nagy
Posts: 957
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by Dirck Nagy » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:02 pm

Christopher Langley wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:10 pm
I'm all for change,

but at the same time.. if it works, it works

and if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
+1

Dirck Nagy
Posts: 957
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by Dirck Nagy » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:03 pm

jscott wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:03 pm
...
I think the op may be overlooking the possibility that he's standing up for what's familiar to HIM, and dissing the unfamiliar analog time pieces because they make him feel slightly angry and unsettled, as unfamiliar things often will. In short they challenge him with their newness (to him); their strangeness. His tradition is digital and he's defending his tradition against the analog Other ("Analog watches are stupid and holding us back; they should be deported").
Very astute! +1. OK, a +2.

Dirck Nagy
Posts: 957
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by Dirck Nagy » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:21 pm

CarbonElitist wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:57 pm
Peter Lovett wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:29 am
Go on...............find north using your fancy digital watch. Not the applications that you can get with things like an Apple watch, just the numbers, go on, let's see you do it. :chaud:
I would just get a digital watch with a compass built in. It would be far more accurate and it wouldn't be dependent on whether or not you're in the Northern hemisphere.
:lol:
You might have a nice digital-GPS-cloud-voice activated-5G whatsit that can do everything including posting crazy cat videos, but is it really worth the resources that went into it?

Can something else be done with those resources?

@"Peter Lovett" I suppose he could draw the circles and angles in the sand :D

Dirck Nagy
Posts: 957
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by Dirck Nagy » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:23 pm

CarbonElitist wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:11 pm
Technologies, ideologies, and methods age and become obsolete when something better takes their place. By better, I mean something that is more practical, more efficient, and gets the job done.
...
Hi CarbonElitist!

Usually I avoid topics like this, but I'd like to clarify a few things for the "Anti-Luddites" out there: I think you are getting stuck on your definitions of "practical" and "more efficient". There is a big difference between "Different" and "Better"!

(an aside: Douglas Adams once described Earthlings as "So primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.")

Regarding Clocks: Digital and analog clock faces convey DIFFERENT types of information. The one isn't necessarily "obsolete" or "better" (your words) than the other.
  • "Traditional" clocks allow viewers to estimate time visually (by picturing a quarter-hour, et al as a "slice of pie"). This way, one doesn't have to make arithmetic calculations. Think about it: the clock as a "Pie Chart"...it can be very helpful for planning, especially if one has several tasks to accomplish. Some folks will say "But subtraction is easy!" Yes, but it is still an extra step, and it DOES take more time than reading an analog clock.
  • Digital precision is unnecessary for practically every daily task that nearly every human will do. You can DO it on a wristwatch, but you don't NEED it. You have to get to work by 7:30? You'll still get there. (Oh, you work in a lab? I'm sure you have a specialized chronograph!)
  • Obsolescence these days comes from marketing efforts as often as not.
CarbonElitist wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:11 pm
... or who want us to bring back stick-shifts because automatic transmission makes us lazy. ...
Automatic Transmission: It makes driving easier, for sure, especially when there is a lot of stopping and starting, but these transmissions have a lot of drawbacks: fuel economy, slippage under load, fine control (you can't "rock" if you are stuck in the snow), cost, reliability (a good standard transmission can last the entire life of the vehicle; you can't trust an automatic to last more than 100,000 miles or so) and safety (try driving in the mountains on an icy road sometime. What happens when your transmission decides to shift itself?)
Well, Automatic transmission DOES allow the driver to have a free hand for texting. Is this such a great thing?
CarbonElitist wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:11 pm
... soon-to-be-outdated practice of teaching cursive in school. ...
What is wrong with cursive? What would you replace it with? Typing? Can you think of any practical reasons to write cursive? I can.
CarbonElitist wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:11 pm
Finally, I saw somebody voice my thoughts perfectly when he said "I wonder if people thought the same thing about making the switch from sundials."
Any sailor worth their salt can still tell time to within a quarter-hour simply by looking at the stars.
CarbonElitist wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:11 pm
Our television is getting better and better, as are our computers, our radios, our tools (for the most part), our cameras, etc.
Digital Photography certainly makes it easier for average folks to snapchat and post silly cat videos, but there is that whole matter of art. Fresco didnt become an obsolete art form when the offset press was invented.
CarbonElitist wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:11 pm
Our television is getting better and better, as are our computers....
Tell me, do you think there is a point of diminishing returns? See a related thread on upgrading to Word 2007.

cheers!
dirck

User avatar
CarbonElitist
Posts: 437
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by CarbonElitist » Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:00 pm

Dirck Nagy wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:23 pm
Usually I avoid topics like this, but I'd like to clarify a few things for the "Anti-Luddites" out there: I think you are getting stuck on your definitions of "practical" and "more efficient". There is a big difference between "Different" and "Better"!
I'll admit, "practical" may have been an odd choice of word. They are both practical devices.

Regarding Clocks: Digital and analog clock faces convey DIFFERENT types of information. The one isn't necessarily "obsolete" or "better" (your words) than the other.
  • "Traditional" clocks allow viewers to estimate time visually (by picturing a quarter-hour, et al as a "slice of pie"). This way, one doesn't have to make arithmetic calculations. Think about it: the clock as a "Pie Chart"...it can be very helpful for planning, especially if one has several tasks to accomplish. Some folks will say "But subtraction is easy!" Yes, but it is still an extra step, and it DOES take more time than reading an analog clock.
  • Digital precision is unnecessary for practically every daily task that nearly every human will do. You can DO it on a wristwatch, but you don't NEED it. You have to get to work by 7:30? You'll still get there. (Oh, you work in a lab? I'm sure you have a specialized chronograph!)
  • Obsolescence these days comes from marketing efforts as often as not.
These are all fair points. I know several people (myself included) who work better with visual representations instead of doing the math in their heads. So I can see the benefits of analog clocks (or digital displays made to look like analog clocks) having benefits in this area.
Automatic Transmission: It makes driving easier, for sure, especially when there is a lot of stopping and starting, but these transmissions have a lot of drawbacks: fuel economy, slippage under load, fine control (you can't "rock" if you are stuck in the snow), cost, reliability (a good standard transmission can last the entire life of the vehicle; you can't trust an automatic to last more than 100,000 miles or so) and safety (try driving in the mountains on an icy road sometime. What happens when your transmission decides to shift itself?)
Our cars are getting better at these things every year. And as somebody who grew up in a climate with icy winters, I can tell you I have no trouble "rocking" an automatic transmission. You just need to have a basic understanding of kinetic vs static friction, and don't floor it.
Well, Automatic transmission DOES allow the driver to have a free hand for texting. Is this such a great thing?
I've known a few stick shift drivers to text and drive once they get up to speed. Btw, my main car is a stick shift, which is my preference. So it's not like I have some begrudging hatred for stick shift drivers, I simply recognize that our refinement of automatic transmission will eventually overcome its shortcomings.
What is wrong with cursive? What would you replace it with? Typing?
Yes. That and just print.
Can you think of any practical reasons to write cursive? I can.
They make stylish autographs and logos. That's about it.
Digital Photography certainly makes it easier for average folks to snapchat and post silly cat videos, but there is that whole matter of art. Fresco didnt become an obsolete art form when the offset press was invented.
Well yeah, until the last several decades, video camera, video editing software, etc was largely for a niche market at best and inaccessible at its worst due to the price of the equipment. But now that everybody has a camera and uses it simply because they can, the internet is automatically flooded with half-baked videos of kittens playing and people doing stupid crap. However, it can also be said that it enables aspiring filmmakers to hone their craft without much cost. Film, or rather, memory, is no longer a finite resource that you can't go back and change if you make a mistake. There are competent film artists on the internet, you just have to dig a bit.
You might have a nice digital-GPS-cloud-voice activated-5G whatsit that can do everything including posting crazy cat videos, but is it really worth the resources that went into it?

Can something else be done with those resources?

I have no idea. I don't know how many resources go into making an average smart device. But it sounds like you have something to say about this and I'd be more than willing to hear it. I do think our culture is a very wasteful, materialistic "throwaway" culture. But I also think it is very nice to have a phone with a GPS, compass, and camera. If I am in an urgent emergency and I do not know where I am, I can call 911, look at my GPS, and give them the exact coordinates, and even take a few shots of the accident for the record. Think about all the police brutality that has gone viral because somebody had a phone with a camera to capture the incident. For ages that was commonplace and for the most part, flew under the radar because there was no proof of corruption. Or think about how many criminals have been prosecuted because somebody with a phone recorded them in the act.

Now my point of this thread is not that "different is better" or "new is better" or even so much that digital clocks are better than analog (though I still maintain that in many cases, they are.). I am lambasting the mentality that clings to tradition for no other reason than "it has always been done that way". If we as humans let that sort of regressive thinking rule us, then we would have never gone beyond the invention of the wheel. (And yes, I'm aware I'm being hyperbolic.)
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

Dirck Nagy
Posts: 957
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by Dirck Nagy » Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:37 pm

CarbonElitist wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:00 pm
...But I also think it is very nice to have a phone with a GPS, compass, and camera. If I am in an urgent emergency and I do not know where I am, I can call 911, look at my GPS, and give them the exact coordinates, and even take a few shots of the accident for the record. Think about all the police brutality that has gone viral because somebody had a phone with a camera to capture the incident. For ages that was commonplace and for the most part, flew under the radar because there was no proof of corruption. Or think about how many criminals have been prosecuted because somebody with a phone recorded them in the act.
Sure, all that is wonderful, but think of the corollaries of increased surveillance: the potential for abuses, the pressures and obligations to conform to publicly sanctioned norms of behavior.

There is no panacea; every new technology comes with a set of consequences and responsibilities.

CarbonElitist wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:00 pm
... I am lambasting the mentality that clings to tradition for no other reason than "it has always been done that way". If we as humans let that sort of regressive thinking rule us, then we would have never gone beyond the invention of the wheel. (And yes, I'm aware I'm being hyperbolic.)
I don't think you are being hyperbolic. But I do believe that this "regressive thinking" is how people learn. We set precedents; we learn the familiar and judge new things accordingly. This is the practical function of tradition. The world is far too big and life is too short for poor humanity to do otherwise.

For example, in order to learn who your family is, you first learn to recognize your mother. You become accustomed to the way your mother looks feels and smells; in that way, you begin to figure out the differences between "mother" and "not mother". You grow up judging according to how things conform to what is familiar.

Likewise, to learn a language, you begin making sounds to express ideas which are held in common---a shared epistemology. One language is not necessarily superior to another; we all know that there are concepts which do not translate well between cultures. But this is how we learn: we compare.

It is not regressive to say "that is how it is usually done"; that is simply observation. What IS regressive is to ignore the consequences of change!

cheers!
dirck

jscott

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by jscott » Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:48 am

where I live, people are likely to favor the latest innovation simply because it's new.

I suppose I could start a thread titled something like "innovation for innovation's sake is illogical and stupid" and make some reasoned points there.

Modern society hardly suffers from an overabundance of tradition. How many of us are getting up with the chickens simply because that's the way it's always been done? Rather, it's the loss of tradition that's created a kind of disorientation that's of more concern and is more omnipresent than its opposite. Consumer society loves to sell us the latest iteration of its products and will do what it can to convince us that the old version is traditional and obsolete.

Tech gadgets are probably the most serious offenders in this. Except most people seem to love spending money on an upgrade, no questions asked! Hey, buy that ugly digital monstrosity and strap it on your wrist a la Dick Tracy!

I'll pass.

User avatar
John Oster
Posts: 678
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:59 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by John Oster » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:42 pm

I like this quote: "We need smarter people and dumber phones." You can add TVs, houses, watches, refrigerators, and a host of other "improved" products.
Joshia de Jonge 2016 spruce/African bw
Kolya Panhuyzen 2012 cedar/Br

User avatar
CarbonElitist
Posts: 437
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by CarbonElitist » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:43 am

Dirck Nagy wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:37 pm
Sure, all that is wonderful, but think of the corollaries of increased surveillance: the potential for abuses, the pressures and obligations to conform to publicly sanctioned norms of behavior.

There is no panacea; every new technology comes with a set of consequences and responsibilities.


I have a feeling you would love the show Black Mirror on Netflix. It's sort of a spiritual successor to twilight zone. It warns about this exact kind of thing. We are selling our privacy and putting our lives before the world to see and judge. And that is one thing that terrifies me.


I don't think you are being hyperbolic. But I do believe that this "regressive thinking" is how people learn. We set precedents; we learn the familiar and judge new things accordingly. This is the practical function of tradition. The world is far too big and life is too short for poor humanity to do otherwise.

For example, in order to learn who your family is, you first learn to recognize your mother. You become accustomed to the way your mother looks feels and smells; in that way, you begin to figure out the differences between "mother" and "not mother". You grow up judging according to how things conform to what is familiar.

Likewise, to learn a language, you begin making sounds to express ideas which are held in common---a shared epistemology. One language is not necessarily superior to another; we all know that there are concepts which do not translate well between cultures. But this is how we learn: we compare.

It is not regressive to say "that is how it is usually done"; that is simply observation. What IS regressive is to ignore the consequences of change!

cheers!
dirck
Cheers! I do appreciate the thoughtful insight you have provided, especially in those last few paragraphs. My OP gave the impression that I am all "in with the new and out with the old.", which is unfortunate because that is not what I believe. I think we have a lot to learn about tradition but at the same time the reality is that some practices must take a backseat. But your point about "learning from comparing" is one I'll definitely keep in mind.
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

PeteJ
Posts: 1354
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:52 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by PeteJ » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:33 pm

jscott wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:48 am
where I live, people are likely to favor the latest innovation simply because it's new.

I suppose I could start a thread titled something like "innovation for innovation's sake is illogical and stupid" and make some reasoned points there.
Quite.

User avatar
Pat Foster
Luthier
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 4:12 pm
Location: Spokane, WA

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by Pat Foster » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:25 pm

The problem I have with a lot of technology is that it comes at the cost of engagement. Using a rotary dial phone—looking up your friend's number in your handwritten address book and dialing the number—requires more effort to be sure, but I think it's more engaging than saying into your smartphone, "Call John." So too with tools. If you like woodworking, using CNC is not going to engage you with your materials nearly as much as using a chisel or saw. Ordering items from the big river site doesn't engage me nearly as much as talking to a small business owner by phone to place an order. I sensed this at the university where I used to work. When I first started working there in the 90s, I was on the phone with colleagues and coworkers a lot, but over the next 15 years, as more and more operations were done on computers, I talked to fewer and fewer people. Sure, it was more efficient, but it seemed there was a loss of connection with other parts of the university and with other people. Others I knew there felt the same way. So, for me, I hang onto some traditions because they enable connection. No auto-checkout at Home Depot for me.

gitgeezer
Posts: 2531
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:09 pm
Location: Southeastern U.S.

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by gitgeezer » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:21 am

For all you people (and me) bemoaning runaway technology, all I gotta say is, you ain't seen nothin yet.

jscott

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by jscott » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:40 am

Here's an imaginary dialogue from an alternative reality: A.: "can you believe these new phones?" B.: "yeah, aren't they great? You can actually hear the other person's voice live!" A.: "It's so much better than texting. You can really sense what the other person means and is feeling". B.: "technology just keeps getting better!" A.; "But my grandma insists on texting anyway--she can't figure out how to talk on the phone."

Return to “The Café”