Modernity II

Modernity II

An obvious missing addition in my previous Modernity post was (as pointed out by Franklin Chen in the comments) was LaTeX, developed in the early 1980s as a set of macros for TeX (released in 1978).

By the way, if you prefer Microsoft Word, that technology is from the same era (first released in 1983), although it was a copy of early 1970s technology [1]. I remember using it on a Mac (I think it was the Macintosh SE) in the late 80s and, although it was black&white, it was already very close to today’s versions in look-n-feel.


Some of our ideas of what’s modern in other areas of life are similarly off:

As our family debates education options for our children, we are choosing between Montessori schools, with Waldorf coming in a close second. Sometimes people will say oh, exploration-centred learning, how modern you guys are!

This reminds me of the classic quip about Brazil: it’s the country of the future! It has always been the country of the future and will always be the country of the future.

The first Montessori schools were opened over 100 years ago, while Waldorf is just slightly newer as the first school opened in 1919.


Obviously, my point is that we tend to think that change is fast in our current society while we live in a Great Stagnation. A subsidiary point is that much of this feeling comes from ignorance.

[1] Yes, LaTeX is newer, more modern if you wish, than WYSIWYG editors.

3 thoughts on “Modernity II

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