As the human race
watch it drag
along with it
Some time back, I bought a Dictionary of Thought at a local library's yearly sale. Published in 1954, it was a fine volume—old and well-read from what I could tell (it smelled much thumbed and revered) and steeped as it were in traditional and ethical values, to me this book was a goof reflection of the elevated, untumbled, thinking man.
Perusing this wonderful book, I looked up Abstinence and found that all entries, all quotes, under this heading held abstinence up to be a virtuous thing, a purifier of thought and soul, a measure of character, a good thing.
Out of curiosity, shortly thereafter, when I browsed one of my favorite bookstores, I looked up Abstinence in a modern dictionary of quotations and read, with only one exception, quotes that held the exact opposite viewpoint of the older (more mature) dictionary—just about every quote in the modern edition held Abstinence up to ridicule and as something to be scorned and smirked at.
It is a sad commentary on the defeatist view of man, and of the modern indulgent nature of the beast, that he must degrade everything he touches, including dictionaries—but then, George Orwell would not have been in the least surprised.
I left the store a little shocked.