Occasionally, we find ourselves talking about the people of the past. In some cases, these people are our direct ancestors, sometimes they are just fellow human beings. While some of us admire the past, I will dare and say, in general, highly educated people do not look at the past with a great deal of nostalgia.
There can be many reasons behind their mostly negative evaluation of our collective past. The uneducated look at the past and love listening to stories about the kings. Perhaps because they imagine themselves as a king. Meanwhile, the intellectuals know the awful truth: if they lived in the past, most likely they would not be the king. Given the exclusive nature of the royalty club, frankly, nobody would be part of it, with the exception of a negligible few.
In contrast to the daydreams of the common folk, a return to the past would bring pain, disease, hunger, hardship, and a short lifespan for all of us. Similar to the institution of royalty, there are other ideas and customs that are not acceptable today. How do we go from an idea being unquestionable to the same idea being considered downright shameful and disgusting? Obviously, a great deal of sacrifice needs to be made. Many people who fight for the change must accept being labeled crazy or irrational.
Today, for instance, slavery is considered disgusting. A few hundred years ago in some so-called civilized nations it was considered acceptable. A few thousand years ago it was considered unquestionable. If I were to tell you about another acceptable custom today, you may reject the idea that it will be considered disgusting in the future. However, the rejection of the public is expected. This has been the case for centuries. On the contrary it would be surprising if nothing ever changed again. Even though it sounds somewhat crazy, there are intellectual people who occasionally claim we might have reached the end of the intellectual journey of the humankind. While so many crazy ideas are still accepted as normal, it is difficult to believe this wishful and naïve idea.
I predict that at some point in the near future people will look at the world and our place in it. Then, they will decide that recreational ownership of pets is not acceptable anymore. This will not happen because it is no longer feasible to own or keep animals. Humanity is ever growing. As its intellect advances further, its ability to empathize with other humans will grow outside of its current boundaries. It will start emphasizing with other relatively smart animals. Will it ever start empathizing with bacteria or viruses? This is a question for another time.
What we call training today may later be classified as torture in the future. What we call responsible behavior today, may later be classified as cruel animal mutilation. What is considered selecting for purebred animals today, may be considered sick biological experiments later.
What is considered acceptable today, may be considered disgusting in the future.