Deja-Vu

There should be a word for having the feeling that some things will never change. Perhaps there is one and I just don’t know it, or can’t find it. Perhaps that word is just pessimism. Either way this is not the first time I have been reading a book and it’s contents have struck me as still particularly relevant.

The first instance of this was when I was ploughing through American Psycho. This latest occurrence comes from a book that was published even before that.

“Modern English polite society, my native sphere, seems to me as corrupt as consciousness of culture and absence of honesty can make it. A canting, lie-loving, fact-hating, scribbling, chattering, wealth-hunting, pleasure-hunting, celebrity-hunting mob, that, having lost the fear of hell, and not replaced it by the love of justice, cares for nothing but the lion’s share of the wealth wrung by threat of starvation from the hands of the classes that create it.

These words were found in The Unsocial Socialist, a book written by George Bernard Shaw and published in 1883. That is 131 years ago. Incredible to think that things have progressed so far, and yet nothing has really changed. Incredible and disturbing.

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr once said, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”, which is commonly translated as “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. I think he may have been on to something.

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