Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Think the world is going to hell in a handbasket? You're not alone:

“I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words...When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint.” [1]

“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders...They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up delicacies at the table, cross their legs, and are tyrants over their teachers.” [2]

“What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?” [3]

“The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone knew everything and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for girls, they are forward, immodest and unwomanly in speech, behavior and dress.” [4]

These four quotations prove one thing and one thing only. Okay, maybe two [things].

First, people like to complain.

Second, the wild youth of today always become the stodgy old geezers of tomorrow.

As proof, here are the sources of the quotations:

[1] Hesiod, Greek poet (8th century BC)

[2] Attributed to Socrates (5th century BC) by Plato (4th century BC)

[3] Plato (4th century BC)

[4] Attributed to Peter the Hermit, Catholic priest (11th century AD)

...which leads us to the title of this post. It is an old French proverb that means, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” (Literal translation: ”The more it changes, the more it is the same thing.”)


  1. They were absolutely right though. Young people should learn from the way we behaved at their age. And do the exact opposite.

  2. what is scientific notation
    Scientific Notation include in the mathematics course. In the world of science some time we deal with numbers which are very small and those which are very large. In some branches of science large numbers while in others very small numbers are used.

  3. Rather than bemoan the young I am sure I am not alone in wishing that we - the older generation - were passing them a better world than the one that's currently on offer. The path ahead seems less rosy, less ripe with opportunity than it appeared when I was young.

    (By the way I agree with everything Noiln said! A very wise response to your post if a little "off the wall"!)