The times sure have changed.

Unhappy Camper

Hells yeah
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The times have indeed changed and I will demonstrate by writing a short letter to my beloved.

The first letter will be set in 1863, deep in the midst of the US Civil War.

The second letter will be set in 2003, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Letter one :



Lieutenant Gary Cranium
F Troop 1st Cavalry
Camp Buford, Maryland


July 03, 1863


My dearest Christina,


The drums are silent and darkness approaches from the east so I must place quill to parchment in much more quick a pace than my heart wishes.

Our separation pulls at my soul and I long for the soothing touch that I can only find in your warm embrace. My every day is filled with the desire to be with you once more.

This war is brutal and the pace of the attacks are feverish and takes its toll on the boys and the horses, we rest when we can but all too soon the steel of saber rings out once more.

The light of day is fleeting and I must close and get this dispatched ...

I am, as always, searching for the day I return to you...

With Love .... G.







Letter Two


1SG Gary Cranium
F-Troop 1st Squadron, 10th US Cavalry
Tikrit, Iraq.



Hiya baby !!


Goddamn its hot as fuck !!

I miss you bunches and love you more than a fat kid loves cake!


Only time for a short note but that's all good cause I'm gonna get a Sat phone from one of the Commo remfs for a few minutes tonight and give ya a call.

A little about the mission, shit you know what we do, Division Cav = Find the fuckers and kill em. Its that damn simple.

Anyway, I gotta go make sure the boys have all their gear ready for the patrols later.

Love ya, always.

Gary.
 

Absinthe

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Yes... I have a box full of letters just like that (the 2003 version of course)... and audio tapes as well...

And I sure do remember the calls in the middle of the night. Yep, I was prepared!!! The phone was next to the bed every single night. Just in case...
 

Blood

Crimson Kunoichi
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This reminds me of some old love letters i found between my grandfather and my grandmother (before they got married) during the war.

It was soooo funny because he couldn't spell for shit and just about every sentence started with "Oh honey" Or "My dearest heart".
But other than that, it was pretty much like the first letter. :wink:

I LOVE sappy love letters!
They're almost enough to make me feel my own feelings....*tear*
 

Polar Bear

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Patrick - November 22 1963, dallas

Dear Violet,
Fuck I wish they'd open up another road or something! What the hell is going on up there? Traffic was crawling earlier and now it's not moving at all. Fucking asshole president. He can put people on the moon but he can't figure out how to visit a town without blocking up the roads. Doesn't he realize some of us have fucking jobs to go to? I hope he gets shot, I really do.
 

Polar Bear

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There's something interesting about noting the differences between civil war era letters and contemporary ones. even though I made a joke about it, it has gotten me to thinking.

I tend to arbitrarily accept that I'm smarter than my predecessors. I think a lot of folks do. It's an easy mistake to make when you consider how far we've advanced in everything from science to ethics. But comparing letters like this would appear as an anomoly, except that every letter I've ever read that dates from the civil war is written in a much more elegant tongue. They're almost poetic. So my question is: Have we as a society really lost that much culture? are we just that much more lazy about our correspondences?

In both letters that Cranium provided examles of, the author was under duress...it cold have been the last letter they ever wrote. could have been the last words they'd be remembered for. So why wouldn't we take as great a care in what we put out there?
 

Zeabot

Californium
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Have we as a society really lost that much culture?
Yes... and no. We have lost the culture of that era, but I would argue they did not have the culture of their predecessors. Culture and sophistication changes with times, just a slower rate than, say, fashion.

I think my point is, also, very valid to your question. The people writing letters back then were in a different class than the regular joe. I am quite certain you can find eloquently written letters by soldiers today -- they are just watered down by Joe McFuckstick's "YOLO" letter.
 

Unhappy Camper

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This is probably because the only people who could write were more intelligent.
Maybe folks had no need for writing or any of the things we associate, these days, with intelligence.

17th and 18th century common man and the world he lived in was just not technical enough, nor was the average person's life span long enough for the need to acquire such abilities. ( reading, writing, math ).

Plus the population was small enough where a few learned leaders could manage and direct a mass of folks and the need for more learned folks ( to lead and control smaller groups) was less of a need at that time. With population growth the need for more managers increased, managerial tasks required book learning .. etc.

Institutional learning was started to create a work force just smart enough to stay equal to the technological advances of our times. I doubt any one could argue, realistically, that the "public school" systems are in the business of making brilliant minds. Get a dude to graduation and send his ass to work for the rest of his life. Throw in a swelling social welfare system and then you have to increase the number of participants on the low end of the Ponzi scheme. More and more breeders making more and more cogs for the machinery and then you have to lower the "school" standards to get more and more of the worker bees to the grinder.




^ I did not look any of this up. I'm guessing based on intuitive assumptions. I made my assumptions from my experiences, from studies of History and from other sources gained over the years. I could be wrong, I don't "feel" as if I am though. ( Is that intelligence? or just a broad exposure to reading materials?)



Dude's from the 17th and 18th century did likewise, I imagine. They made assumptions about their world based on their experiences. Limited experience most likely leads to limited intuition and imagination.... less "intelligence".

Ya don't gotta know how to read and write to plant a field of corn. But you damn sure better learn soon because the banker is coming and HE knows that you don't know how to read and sooner or later he will be screwing you out of your farm or under paying for your harvest.



Another thing. I'm 45 this year. I've been told all through school, as a child, that I will use these skills all my life, those thousand hours of sentence structure, those bullshit algebra and trigonometry classes, those asinine readings about some saucer lipped asshole in a mud hut.

Bullshit. I've not used those skills my "entire life" What a crock.
 

Zeabot

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Plus the population was small enough where a few learned leaders could manage and direct a mass of folks
But you damn sure better learn soon because the banker is coming and HE knows that you don't know how to read and sooner or later he will be screwing you out of your farm or under paying for your harvest.
I'm not sure which you agree, then? You understand the plight of having only the leaders able to read/write... but the conundrum expands to simple arithmetic, too.

Say I am Mr. Learned Banker, who comes to you for a deal on your next harvest. You tell me you usually sell a bushel for $1... you know that you usually have 1,000 bushels by, say, September, and your next harvest is usually shaky. As the banker, I tell you I will buy all of this harvest, plus next harvest for $1,400. What do you do if you don't understand basic arithmetic?





that I will use these skills all my life,
I tried looking for the article I was going to link, but I could not find it in the short amount of time I have. Essentially, you DO use the skills taught in those classes every day. Don't believe me?
Math: No, rarely ever do you "solve for x" or, even more uncommon, "find angle theta." But Math, as a science, is the science of logic and step by step operations. Learning how to do math is not learning specific problems (which is why most people blow as math, because they fail to make the connection to real world applications of algorithms).
English: I read a fake love letter you wrote in this thread and it seemed pretty verbose. Did you get that from planting corn in your field? Or from working on your motorcycle? I doubt it. At the very least, classes like this tweak your interest in reading books that you enjoy, even if you did not enjoy reading The Grapes of Wrath.
.....
The rest of the subjects follow similar patterns. The main idea I am getting at is, at face value, you do not encounter the application of "school setting" problems, but you are more prepared to face the real life situations later in life because of your time spent at school.
 

Unhappy Camper

Hells yeah
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As the banker, I tell you I will buy all of this harvest, plus next harvest for $1,400. What do you do if you don't understand basic arithmetic?

Exactly.

When crops were locally consumed the "price" was fixed and stable based on local needs. I'll give you this and you give me that, etc. Insert cross state commerce, grain storage silos and sneaky investment bankers and now every dude making a product HAS to start also learning the fundamentals of business commerce.

Average folks progressed with what was needed at the time. With more "average joes" increasing their knowledge it stands to reason that a greater percentage of those would also realize they have a knack for learning and go on to be ground breaking egg heads and such.


I'm just not sure if we can equate that to being less intelligent to folks of our time.



And I get your points about real life versus school and that we do use those skills, even if indirectly. Ask a dude to figure his own sales tax on a purchase before he can buy a thing and I bet more often than not that the average person can NOT do it. The thing is he doesn't have to, ever, and as such those skills learned in 8th grade are dead and buried three months after he leaves school.
 

Polar Bear

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Ask a dude to figure his own sales tax on a purchase before he can buy a thing and I bet more often than not that the average person can NOT do it. The thing is he doesn't have to, ever, and as such those skills learned in 8th grade are dead and buried three months after he leaves school.
This is the heart of the problem. Where once kids were told how to do CPR and save a loved one, now they're told how to find the nearest cell phone so they can call 911 and get help that way.

The problem is that we're relying so much on the technology and other systems that are in place so much that we're losing our feel for how to live without it. Kids are being shown how to use all the buttons on a calculator that our generation has been ignoring, in place of teaching them the skills for doing math on their own.
 

stoopid1

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handwriting isn't taught in schools . ( most schools) You learn how to print and get a lesson in cursive , but you'll get forced to learn hawaiian as a language? ( In Leihuela (sp) high school in Wahiawa, Hi) When do you suppose a mainlander will need to know hawaiian? Cursive would be a better and more useful choice, dontchathink?
 

Zeabot

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The problem is that we're relying so much on the technology and other systems
This is a difficult topic that is the debate of many educational committees. The idea that we rely too much on technology is heavily dependent on the "too much" part.

I will use myself for an example. I am studying statistics, so there is obviously a ton of math involved. Fundamentally, I have difficulties with "simple" algebra (IE solving "x" from the ninth layer of hell). However, as a statistician, I don't really need to know how to do all that garbage, as long as the principles are understood. In fact, a lot of the statistical tools are programmed into statistical software (namely R and SAS), and all we have to do is call up the commands we desire. But the key component is understanding how they work and why, so we can implement the correct tool when necessary.

To scale it down, when the dude wants to figure out the sales tax paid, he can go into his app, type in the % and total bill (pretax) and it can spit out the sales tax owed. Is there a problem with that? Does Joe need to understand exactly what calculation is being done? Or does Joe just need to know it is a function of sales tax -- the higher the rate, the more sales tax owed.*****

**** Note: this is a pretty lame example, because multiplying is pretty fundamental, but the idea can be expanded.