Uh, yeah there is much to be learned from the distant past…
If anything you can take comfort in being part of this giant wellspring of humanity that has drifted through the ages.
I mean, people have been losing loved ones, fighting wars, watching economies collapse, and seeking truth and meaning since the beginning of time.
Studying their experience, I think, can give both perspective and comfort. Millions have shared your same worries and desires and joys.
I like the line here of calling seemingly
certain things a “temporary fashion.”
Understand: All news is old things happening to new people.
Turn the news off. Go read an old book.
In his storytelling and his polemical writings alike, Lewis understood himself to be bringing something distinctive to bear on the challenges of his world: an intimate knowledge of, and love for, the distant past. His academic training as a medievalist is not, in his mind, an irrelevance, still less an impediment, but a qualification for social commentary. As he says in “Learning in War-Time,” “[ W] e need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion.” Moreover, since the twentieth century’s powerful communications technologies have a tendency to reinforce those temporary fashions more powerfully than any culture could have imagined in the past, those who know other ways become especially vital: “the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.”
-Alan Jacobs, The Year Of Our Lord 1943 (Amazon)