Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
User avatar
CarbonElitist
Posts: 437
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:51 pm

Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by CarbonElitist » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:11 pm

I was browsing the toxic cesspool known as Facebook earlier. Normally, I only login long enough to answer queries on the business page and answer messages, then I usually logout before I lose brain cells from all the clickbait political posts. But today a post caught my eye: it was a meme shared by a family member, a picture showing a side by side comparison of an analog clock and a digital clock. Below it, a caption lamented the tragedy of the growing number of children who are growing up not knowing how to read the hands on a clock face. "Do people really care about this crap?" I thought as I browsed the comments.

"Parents are horrible these days!" one lady said,

"We just keep getting lazier and lazier." a guy her age agreed.

"Our kids would rather let their kids play video games and ipads than use their brains." another added.

Finally, I saw somebody voice my thoughts perfectly when he said "I wonder if people thought the same thing about making the switch from sundials."

As a millennial, I am stuck in that weird place where I shake my head at some of the grumblings of the older generations while also lamenting the idiocies of the generations below me. However I have always been against the notion of holding onto tradition solely for sentimental reasons. Technologies, ideologies, and methods age and become obsolete when something better takes their place. By better, I mean something that is more practical, more efficient, and gets the job done. In this case, analog clocks are becoming obsolete. They cannot convey anywhere near as much information as a digital clock, they are less accurate in most cases, and it takes longer to read them. But to argue about the merits of digital vs analog is beside the point of this post. Tradition should only be held onto if there is no better technology or method available. This applies to all walks of life, not just the devices that tell us time. Our television is getting better and better, as are our computers, our radios, our tools (for the most part), our cameras, etc.

Yet sometimes I feel people who, like my family member who raised awareness of the "digital vs analog" crisis, would rather us become stagnant. They are the kind of people who support the soon-to-be-outdated practice of teaching cursive in school. They are the kind of people who want us to return to rotary phones because they are more "interactive", or who want us to bring back stick-shifts because automatic transmission makes us lazy. They are the kind of people who, if they had their way, would have us revert to watching movies on VHS because DVDs make life too easy. They would have us swallow silver to treat colds because that's how their parents did it.

I know why this is done, change is difficult and stressful. Nostalgia lets us remember the times that shaped us into the people we are today. When something new comes along, we automatically feel that our way of life, our identity, is being threatened. As we get older, we don't know if we can keep up with this world. Hell, I'm still young and I already feel that way. So we make up these lies as to why the way we did things, was better. We lash out in self-defense and condescend upon the younger generations. I'm sure that sometime in the future, when I am an old man, I will lament how people have lost the ability to type and text because they'd prefer to use their telepathic brain implants for communication.
Last edited by CarbonElitist on Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

Jason
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 7:29 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is both stupid and banal.

Post by Jason » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:19 pm

It sounds as though you were really bothered by that post. Just think about that for a second......
2018 Yamaha gc42s
72 Yamaha gc6d
76 Yamaha g220
71 Yamaha g100a
(At the moment)

User avatar
CarbonElitist
Posts: 437
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is both stupid and banal.

Post by CarbonElitist » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:21 pm

Jason wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:19 pm
It sounds as though you were really bothered by that post. Just think about that for a second......
Fair enough, haha.

But this subject has actually been stirring in my mind for the past couple of years now. That post is basically what inspired me to finally write about it. Perhaps it's just me, but I've seen way too many people cling to tradition for no other reason than sentimentality, often times to the point where it actually stifles progress.
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

Jason
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 7:29 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is both stupid and banal.

Post by Jason » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:28 pm

It is possible to have both traditions, and progress. The new ways of doing things aren't always better. Just look at our craft for example :)
2018 Yamaha gc42s
72 Yamaha gc6d
76 Yamaha g220
71 Yamaha g100a
(At the moment)

User avatar
CarbonElitist
Posts: 437
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is both stupid and banal.

Post by CarbonElitist » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:39 pm

Jason wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:28 pm
It is possible to have both traditions, and progress. The new ways of doing things aren't always better. Just look at our craft for example :)
I completely agree. Perhaps I failed to communicate this in the OP, but I am talking about meaningless or obsolete traditions. If an old way of doing something is still the best way to do it, then I'm all behind it. But if something new comes along and if it is better in all respects, then using the old way is regressive and irrational. That's what I'm trying to get to here.

Let's propose a hypothetical example that is applicable to this forum: Carbon Fiber guitars. Right now, most CF guitars sound inferior to wooden guitars. However if somebody finds a way to construct a CF guitar in a way that its sound very closely resembles the sound of wood to the point that nobody would know the difference at a live performance if they were blindfolded, then wooden guitars would then be on the way to becoming obsolete. After all, CF guitars are lighter, far more durable. They are resistant to changes in both humidity and temperature. And since you no longer have to worry about those things, you won't have to spend money on humidifiers, air conditioning, extremely weather tight cases, etc. If somebody made a CF guitar that sounded like a Fleta or a Torres, I would buy it in a heartbeat (assuming it were within my budget).

Of course, as you said, it could be the other way around. Sometimes people endorse a technology that is just downright stupid and impractical. (The Solar Roadways kickstarter that went viral a few years back comes to mind. Look it up and be glad asphalt is cheaper and far more practical.)
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

Wuuthrad
Posts: 1174
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:16 pm
Location: USA

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by Wuuthrad » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:17 am

IMG_8011.JPG
I think this picture speaks for itself no?
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

Jason
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 7:29 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is both stupid and banal.

Post by Jason » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:42 am

CarbonElitist wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:39 pm
Jason wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:28 pm
It is possible to have both traditions, and progress. The new ways of doing things aren't always better. Just look at our craft for example :)
I completely agree. Perhaps I failed to communicate this in the OP, but I am talking about meaningless or obsolete traditions. If an old way of doing something is still the best way to do it, then I'm all behind it. But if something new comes along and if it is better in all respects, then using the old way is regressive and irrational. That's what I'm trying to get to here.

Let's propose a hypothetical example that is applicable to this forum: Carbon Fiber guitars. Right now, most CF guitars sound inferior to wooden guitars. However if somebody finds a way to construct a CF guitar in a way that its sound very closely resembles the sound of wood to the point that nobody would know the difference at a live performance if they were blindfolded, then wooden guitars would then be on the way to becoming obsolete. After all, CF guitars are lighter, far more durable. They are resistant to changes in both humidity and temperature. And since you no longer have to worry about those things, you won't have to spend money on humidifiers, air conditioning, extremely weather tight cases, etc. If somebody made a CF guitar that sounded like a Fleta or a Torres, I would buy it in a heartbeat (assuming it were within my budget).

Of course, as you said, it could be the other way around. Sometimes people endorse a technology that is just downright stupid and impractical. (The Solar Roadways kickstarter that went viral a few years back comes to mind. Look it up and be glad asphalt is cheaper and far more practical.)
Everything is relative my friend. I personally wouldn't give it so much serious thought, folks will do what they will do, and we all have our own preferences, we are all different, traditional or modern :)
2018 Yamaha gc42s
72 Yamaha gc6d
76 Yamaha g220
71 Yamaha g100a
(At the moment)

gitgeezer
Posts: 2528
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:09 pm
Location: Southeastern U.S.

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by gitgeezer » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:56 pm

As for analog vs digital clocks, I like both. Analog is more representative of the movement of time and for that reason alone should be taught to children. We also instantly see the relationship between the hour and the minute. Digital gives us the amount of time after the hour, but we're often more interested in the time before the hour. If I have to meet someone at two o'clock, analog instantly shows me see how much time I have to get to the meeting. Digital can also do that but requires an extra mental step.

On the other hand, the clock beside my bed is digital. If I wake up during the night and just want to know the time, I press the illuminator bar and get an instant reading. Digital is also better for car clocks. Some of the analog clocks in older cars are as large as speedometers. That has been replaced by much smaller digital clocks.

Tradition shouldn't be entirely discounted. Imagine the public outrage that would be generated if Big Ben were converted to digital. I also notice that large clocks in public places are invariably analog (okay, airport terminals are an exception). Tradition plays a part in this, but I think it's also because the round face, numbers, and hands of an analog clock are more instantly recognizable as a clock. We should teach children how to read these clocks. "Yes, mom, I know I was supposed to meet you in the food court at twelve, but I couldn't read the mall clock."

And there's also the comfort and reassurance that analog time gives those of us from an earlier era.

User avatar
Stephen Kenyon
Teacher
Posts: 2883
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:26 am
Location: Dorchester, Dorset, England

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:15 pm

I agree with the proposition of the thread title; so how about 'change for changes' sake'?
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)
Simon Ambridge 'Hauser' (2018)

User avatar
Rick Beauregard
Student tutor
Posts: 1594
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:23 am
Location: Blaine, WA

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:53 pm

Wuuthrad wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:17 am
IMG_8011.JPG

I think this picture speaks for itself no?
Sorry I’m not getting your point. But maybe it’s this. Like guitars, people buy watches for reasons beyond about how they perform their main function, in this case display the time. They buy for their own reasons. In the case of guitars it might be, yes tradition (that old Torres), or aesthetic, or to show off your wealth, or you admire everything Segovia (gotta have that same Ramirez or Hauser), all things beyond the sound. Seldom do people buy for merely utilitarian reasons. They buy for their reasons not ours. I could wear that $10 Casio digital but I prefer my vintage $300 Seiko dive watch that works at 300’ under water because it reminds me of my youth.

Here’s a tradition related trivia question: what does the number four on every Roman Numeral faced clock or watch look like (don’t look)? If you said IV you are wrong. Every watch or clock with Roman Numerals uses IIII for the number 4. Its tradition I guess.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

jscott

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by jscott » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:03 pm

Digital wrist watches are ugly. I know because I'm looking at mine now.

I think the op may be overlooking the possibility that he's standing up for what's familiar to HIM, and dissing the unfamiliar analog time pieces because they make him feel slightly angry and unsettled, as unfamiliar things often will. In short they challenge him with their newness (to him); their strangeness. His tradition is digital and he's defending his tradition against the analog Other ("Analog watches are stupid and holding us back; they should be deported").

User avatar
CarbonElitist
Posts: 437
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by CarbonElitist » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:27 pm

jscott wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:03 pm
Digital wrist watches are ugly. I know because I'm looking at mine now.

I think the op may be overlooking the possibility that he's standing up for what's familiar to HIM, and dissing the unfamiliar analog time pieces because they make him feel slightly angry and unsettled, as unfamiliar things often will. In short they challenge him with their newness (to him); their strangeness. His tradition is digital and he's defending his tradition against the analog Other ("Analog watches are stupid and holding us back; they should be deported").
I grew up with analog clocks. I prefer digital because they perform all the same functions better and more. But that's not the main point of my post. As I mentioned in response to a comment above, the subject of "tradition for the sake of tradition" has been on my mind for a while. The post in question on FB is simply what made me want to talk about it.

As for watch preferences, I agree, analog watches look far classier than digital but I prefer function over form. But that's just me.
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

jscott

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by jscott » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:41 pm

carbonelist, I was just kidding.

I don't like smartphones. I don't like the effect that they've had on peoples lives. I don't think that resisting the new in every instance makes me a fuddy duddy (You didn't say this.) And I have to admit that every time I looked at my old analog wrist watch I was made a little happy because it just looked better than my digital. Frankly, I don't need a lot of innovation to be able to tell time.

User avatar
CarbonElitist
Posts: 437
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by CarbonElitist » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:51 pm

jscott wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:41 pm
carbonelist, I was just kidding.

I don't like smartphones. I don't like the effect that they've had on peoples lives. I don't think that resisting the new in every instance makes me a fuddy duddy (You didn't say this.) And I have to admit that every time I looked at my old analog wrist watch I was made a little happy because it just looked better than my digital. Frankly, I don't need a lot of innovation to be able to tell time.
I can get behind that. I kind of hate smart devices as well because they are taking over our lives and causing widespread apathy and depression. I like the convenience of checking my email, but I hate how addictive it is to browse the internet from your phone. All things in moderation I suppose.
Last edited by CarbonElitist on Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

celestemcc
Posts: 1317
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: Tradition for "tradition's sake" is illogical and banal.

Post by celestemcc » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:52 pm

Interesting...

I'm a boomer... and am a huge fan of e-books. Yeah, I know. The smell, the feel, of real books on paper. But my eyes are lousy, my storage space small, and with the new, non-traditional e-reader I can adjust the type size and hold hundreds of books in a single device. There's a tradition where, while I'd hate to see paper books go, gimme the new way!

But guitars, for example. Maybe that carbon fiber guitar will be better, who knows. If it where here and perfected years ago, maybe I'd have gotten one. But there's that part of me that loves the traditional in an intrument: the feel, the wood, the look, smell, sound. (There's a line of ukuleles that are carbon fiber: entire body, neck, even molded frets, and it kind of horrifies me!) For what it's worth, my own guitar is, of course, "analog" (lol, wood), not a double top, but with innovations that are not "traditional".

My point? I know that my love for e-readers is practical and makes me abandon "tradition". My thoughts on instruments aren't "practical" and thus, in a sense, irrational. But we humans aren't always rational beings; "tradition" has meaning even when it doesn't always make perfect sense... but tradition does give humans a sense of belonging to something.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

Return to “The Café”