I am a creature of modernity. No, seriously. You wouldn’t think it, knowing that I learned to write with a quill pen, didn’t see a dishwasher till my teens, cook from scratch and have to be dragged, kicking and screaming to use newer technology. (Except the kindle, because it’s awesome.)
But I was born severely premature, and without antibiotics I wouldn’t be here. I mean, I didn’t go into an incubator (I was born at home so the hospital said they wouldn’t let me brought in) which might have been good as I understand the excess oxygen given to premies at the time often rendered them blind and worse.
But I caught everything that passed the village or even entered my region. Thank heavens there was penicillin! And then other antibiotics.
It is far too easy to forget how much modernity makes a difference. It hit me in the nose – or the chest – this week, when I got floored by bronchitis combined with asthma. Two nights ago, I literally felt like I was dying. Then I got antibiotics. And now I’m still sick as heck, but I know I’m going in the right direction. A hundred years ago? “Dead as a doornail” comes to mind.
We read Pride and Prejudice and about Jane recovering in bed for days from a “trifling little cold” and it’s easy to think they were pampering themselves. But in an age when any infection could and often was fatal, isolation and rest were the only defenses.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot, and about the people who decry modernity, and who seem to think there’s something saintly in “living close to nature.”
Nature is red in teeth and claw. Nature kills.
I’m particularly shocked when these are the same people who are for “women’s rights.” In “nature” women, being smaller and less strong, need men to protect them. The natural end of “natural women’s rights” is not a beautiful matriarchy but something that makes the Arab world seem like the capital of enlightened feminism.
Anyway, you’ll pardon me the short post – I’m much better, really, so much better it astounds me, but if you’d dumped me from being well into the state I’m in now I’d have said “Oh, no, I’m so ill” because I am. I just don’t feel like I’m dying.
But I’ll say it really annoys me when we are suddenly in a fantasy world, tech circa early middle ages, and no child mortality (and magic not used for that.) I mean, the introduction of soap into general use caused a massive population explosion because of how many kids survived infancy. And no deaths in childbirth. And infections are no big issue. It seems to be justified on the part of the writers as being a perfect ideological system – matriarchy, paganism, whatever – which keeps everyone safe and well. It’s a twisted version of original sin, this idea that modernity is what causes our ills and the more primitive we go the better off we’ll be.
Of course some studies seem to support that, but they miss the Darwinian pressures that kill off people like me. Being me, I’d rather not be an evolutionary casualty.
And yes, that’s all I got for today. Sorry. Mind not working right yet. There’s a short story of my son’s over at According To Hoyt. And I’m about to return to bed.
If you sound off in the comments about the most annoying worldbuilding, or the most interesting, or if you want to argue with me, that’s all fine. I’ll be back to join the fun after I nap.