Discover more from Pessimists Archive Newsletter
📰 🔍 Pessimists Archive Newsletter
👨🏻⚕️ Hypochondria of Modernity
In 1906 the St-Louis Post Dispatch ran a full page editorial titled ‘Cauffeur’s Wrist, Typewriter Back and Telephone Ear.’ The piece began by listing “ailments caused by new inventions” to illustrate “How Progress Is Adding to Our Physical Burdens.” This hypochondria born of technology change and modernity feels very familiar.
We did a breakdown of the article here:
🧠 The Psychology of Technophobia
A very interesting study on how people are more likely to be cyclical about technology if it was invented after they were born confirms what we have long believed and what many examples we share demonstrates.
It is the scientific version of Douglas Adams famous quip:
“I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”
🎙 Luddite Populism
🔎 📰 New Archival Finds
Some fun new finds from the archives made since our last newsletter went out.
💄 Beauty filters are treated as a strange new phenomena born of modern beauty standards, but in 1903 analog beauty filters were a thing.
💡👁 In the early days of electric lighting, some worried what it was doing to our eyes. One doctor in 1889 lent his credibility to the theory.
☎️ The telephone was once a hot new gadget, rather than a commodified white good. A British report from 1953 notes a waiting list of 350,000 people wanting a telephone installed, and one lucky women who didn’t even want one.