There is something of a belief that progress is always a good thing. There are many areas of life in which this is undeniably the case. Social issues, voting rights and other civic issues should be progressive and encouraged as we evolve.
For other areas, however, there’s always the possibility that what we do now isn’t better – it’s just different. In some cases, what we do in the modern world may actually have replaced something preferable from yesteryear.
On the flip side, there are definitely some things we should leave in history. Problems that will make the modern world seem blissful by comparison – the silver lining to the clouds of lost knowledge. Want to find out a bit more about the things we left behind, and the things we should have brought with us? Then read on…
Leave It In The Past: Dying of the Plague
It’s fair to say this wasn’t a difficult one to include in the “leave it in the past” category.
Plague was a constant problem in the Middle Ages, but the most notorious outbreak – the Black Death – is thought to have wiped out a third of Europe’s population.
Nowadays, the plague that so decimated a society is easily cured thanks to antibiotics. Maybe a good thing to keep in mind the next time you visit the doctor!
Bring It Into The Modern World: Proper Farming Habits
The boom of the industrial age meant farming underwent a change that it has never recovered from. Where once fields were allowed to “heal” in fallow for a few years to recover their nutrients, we now farm 24/7.
The results aren’t good. While we are producing more food than ever before (which is good!), they have fewer and fewer nutrients. It is estimated the nutrient value in a carrot has as much as halved in the last half-century, all because of over-farming.
It has an impact throughout every aspect of our lives – and even organic food is not the answer needing. We have depleted the soil to such an extent that there is very little help for it without a rest period that would end up global starvation.
The only way to combat the issue is to supplement the things you have lost, which seems like such an avoidable expense. For the humans in your family, trace minerals help to put back some of what has been lost. For the animal family members, try and keep their diets free of cereals and focus more on meat proteins. Cats, in particular, have no way of digesting grains, so they are dead calories that can lead to obesity. For the larger family animal, you have options such as E3 Live for Horses blue green algae or home-grown vegetables for pigs.
The necessity of all of the above was so preventable, which makes it all the more galling.
Leave It In The Past: Lead Paint
There is no doubt that lead paint has got many an upside. It gives colors a vibrancy and longevity that non-lead options just can’t manage. It was all the rage for many years, even going as so far as being used on children’s toys.
Which is a shame… because it’s incredibly poisonous. Oops! Lead paint is now outlawed almost everywhere, but it’s not the only nasty previously found in decorating supplies. In England, during the Victorian era, a particular shade of green was the on-trend color for nearly a decade. The only downside is that said shade of green was achieved using… Arsenic.
That ended about as well as you would expect.
Bring It Into The Modern World: Sleeping
The idea that you go to bed at one time, sleep for six or so hours and then get up is a very modern invention.
For hundreds of years, sleeping was mainly done in two blocks. In between, about an hour of what’s been described as “restful wakefulness” was priority. This was relaxing, reading a book or chatting with your partner.
Modern studies have shown this is by far the best way for human beings to sleep. In a stressed world, however, most of us are just trying to grab as much as we can so we sleep right through. It’s worth considering an experiment with restful wakefulness if you can. Not only will you feel better the next day, but you’ll also improve your cognitive function and stress levels.
Leave It In The Past: The Four Humors
Past medical catastrophes are plentiful, from sparrow innards to cure migraines to a stone on the stomach for cramp. By far the most ludicrous however is the four humors theory – and what it lead to.
The greatest minds of the Ancient world believed the body was made from four “humors”.
- Yellow bile
- Black bile
This theory goes back all the way to Hippocrates – he of the oath doctors still undertake today. Illness was supposedly caused by one of the humors being out of balance. The best way to rebalance them? Bloodletting.
The amount of people that died from this practice can never truly be known, but it is no doubt a staggering number. Especially for those with anemia!
Bring It Into The Modern World: Not eating sugar
During the Saxon age, you’d be right in thinking medical care was… not great. The humors theory was at the forefront of medicine for the gentry, while the peasant folk just did what they could with herbs.
So you’d expect tooth care was not so great, right?
In fact, Saxon skulls have excellent teeth – because of the lack of sugar in their diets. Tooth decay was hardly an issue. It’s only our modern diets that have given dentists much to do with their time. By limiting your sugar intake, you’re going to make a world of difference to your teeth health and longevity. And just think, you can do it in a world of antibiotics and nice safe paint – you’ve got the best of both worlds!