Who you are now, or moderate nobility in the early Renaissance?

By on March 24, 2013 9:04:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Glazunov1

Join Date 08/2010
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I know some people who like to play dress up as generic lords and ladies from the European Renaissance. A few show off archery skills. A few engage in sword fights. The fact that most of their ancestors (and yours, and mine) were probably farmers, day laborers, or at best urban members in craft guilds doesn't invade that Disney-esque wishful thinking.

 

But that's what I'm asking you to do, here. To choose between your situation now, and accepting a position as moderate level nobility in western Europe sometime between 1200 and 1300 ACE. You get to keep your knowledge and sense of self if you choose the latter, but a Mysterious Force (trademark) will prevent you from taking advantage of any technological advancement that puts you ahead of the earlier period. In any way.

 

Pros: You would inhabit the body of a person around the level of an English or French count. You would occupy a reasonable swath of land. You would be the final secular law within those lands, as royalty hadn't taken that away, yet. You would set dozens of taxes, and send on a small portion of these to your king, but keep the rest. You'd live in a castle. You'd be gifted with training in horsemanship and swordsmanship, as well as falconry and a host of skills useful to your place. You would marry within your class, and spend your time presiding over a court in boring legal disputes, overseeing your lands' proper use, engaging in diplomatic activities, attending your monarch, and perhaps marching to the Crusades.

 

Cons: Castles are ugly, drafty, squat, simple 13th century affairs, not the elaborate, attractive things France would make of them 200 years later, and Sweden and Denmark, 200 years after that. No indoor plumbing, unless you count the hole (only in the newest castles) with a pipe that fed the moat. Fireplaces are incredibly inefficient. The moat stinks in the summer, for obvious reasons. Lice and fleas are a real problem when it's warm. Medicine? Doctors trained in mistaken theories. Herbalists who have some good ideas, along with a lot of garbage based on hearsay. No notion of germs. (One cup shared by all at your dinner table, for instance.) Food? Very basic and repetitive. The Roman Catholic Church has considerable influence, and woe betide you if you cross it. The horse is the quickest means of transportation, meaning at best you can do about 10 miles an hour in good weather. Battles are dangerous affairs, because any moderate wound is likely to be scarring, crippling, or mortal. Entertainment? Passing jugglers, singers who recite old songs, simple board games involving stones. Some manuscripts to read, though you're only moderately literate, have one or two books, and the nearest monastery probably has another ten or, at the most, twenty.

 

There's your tradeoff. Yeah, you're a lord. You're also right in the middle of a culture that is incredibly technologically primitive compared to our own. Or you can take your current situation, where you're hardly the master of your ship, the captain of your fate, a person like hundreds of millions of others armed with the same knowledge and goals: you're a minnow in the great ocean of life. But you've got fantastic medical services, great entertainment, food, drink, houses with electricity(!), real heating, indoor plumbing, etc.

 

Which do you choose? Where do you live out your life?

 

 

 

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March 24, 2013 10:28:03 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Right where I are. All the rest is too confusing. Besides.....I got enough problems in the here and now, all that other stuff would just add to it. I don't want to wake up in a place that smells like a septic tank or step outside, wade through layer upon layer of muck because somebody missed the latrine. Nope.....I'm good right here.

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March 25, 2013 11:39:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,


There's your tradeoff. Yeah, you're a lord. You're also right in the middle of a culture that is incredibly technologically primitive compared to our own. Or you can take your current situation, where you're hardly the master of your ship, the captain of your fate, a person like hundreds of millions of others armed with the same knowledge and goals: you're a minnow in the great ocean of life. But you've got fantastic medical services, great entertainment, food, drink, houses with electricity(!), real heating, indoor plumbing, etc.

 
Which do you choose? Where do you live out your life?

 

 

Your premise is based foremost on determinism. I do not agree that in our age "you are the captain of your fate". I believe your fate is already chosen by attrition and circumstance. In either case, you can "attempt" but no guarantee. Your monarch might seize all your land tomorrow or execute your entire family if one member is rumored to be homosexual, while in the modern world you might be one of the many poor with no mobility, paying for the wealthy to live in a utopia that just like the monarch, places laws over you while deregulating themselves.

 

So, where would the "Average" American be better off? That depends on how you measure wealth and average. I would say any member of the bottom 30% is better off taking your deal and going to the past. However, once you get to 31-40% you would have to be an upper level nobility to make the deal even presentable however it wouldn't likely be taken. This is because those who can already "have all they want" will have the same life in either place, and only the condition of technology and modernism speak.

 

I would be more curious about the top 30%. How would a member of the top 30% respond to the offer to live in the world you described as a duke, baron or even governor? They would have the same level of wealth per capita of their citizens in their pockets, they would have much the same power ascribed by that wealth, held back only by the highest monarchs and churches (similar to today). They would be able to invest their capital into guilds just as modern corporations, and could continue living as they are, in a world without nuclear weapons.

 

I say for these reasons, only the top 20% and bottom 20% have much to consider.

 

As for me personally, I cannot shape the world in this age as a poor person, or in the past if your (trademark) prevents me from it. Thus, the choice is not genuine, and I don't choose; which is the same as choosing "not to". Now, if I had a chance to use foreknowledge to kill certain peoples ancestors, and influence cultural tendencies and social norms with my wealth, that would be different. Even if I could not use technology to change the future, I could open the first psychoanalytic office, and be the first psychologist. I would plagiarize all modern theories and reshape the world. If I could not do this, I would not take your view.

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March 26, 2013 1:30:19 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

The future is now.

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March 26, 2013 3:28:07 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting neone6,

The future is now.

How can the future be now if it hasn't happened yet? If today hasn't happened yet then it must be yesterday 'cause that did happen and when tomorrow happens, which it sometimes does and turns into today, which has yet to happen, its gonna revert back to yesterday, which did happen and then it starts all over again. I know...its a circular argument. Its true though. Yesterday already did, today is and tomorrow......well.....we'll worry about that when it gets here. Which brings up another thing. Tomorrow can only happen before midnight of today. After midnight tomorrow vanishes so it really never gets here. What's up with that?

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March 26, 2013 4:26:39 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Uvah,
we'll worry about that when it gets here.
4 Real

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March 26, 2013 5:57:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd definitely stay in the present. If for no other reason than the fact that social mobility was basically zero at the time. Being the "captain of my own fate" is far more viable today than it was back then, when you were born into a title (if you were lucky) and rarely changed it. Add to that, that we are basically all nobility today, living in mansions and enjoying benefits even the wealthiest back in the day wouldn't dream of.

The only reason I can see to go back would be if you were desperate to be known as a genius in history. Then you could write down some 100 extremely important discoveries made by man between now and then, and go back and write a book about science. Your name would be remembered for all time.

Bring a cellphone with a solar charger, a downloadable copy of the Wikipedia, and you'll be remembered for at least two eternities.

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March 26, 2013 10:38:48 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Just don't let anyone see it or you'll get labeled a witch or some other dastardly thing. Did they have marsh mellows back then?

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March 26, 2013 11:18:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I guess I would have been the same mindless indebted peasent as I am now!

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March 26, 2013 11:46:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Can't play video games in past, seems like a no brainer to me...

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March 26, 2013 1:04:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting thadianaphena,
Your premise is based foremost on determinism. I do not agree that in our age "you are the captain of your fate".

 

Neither do I. I've created a choice between a place/station in life where you do have position, some wealth, stability, and influence--one of the two-percenters of the period, so to speak--and one where you are what you are. Whatever that is. The cultural and personal boundaries are distinct. In so far as material goods are concerned and "power" over your surroundings are concerned.

 

I believe your fate is already chosen by attrition and circumstance. In either case, you can "attempt" but no guarantee. Your monarch might seize all your land tomorrow or execute your entire family if one member is rumored to be homosexual, while in the modern world you might be one of the many poor with no mobility, paying for the wealthy to live in a utopia that just like the monarch, places laws over you while deregulating themselves.

 

My 12th century choice clearly excluded the possibility of these losses, because that wasn't the focus of the situation. The focus was as stated: wealth, position, control of one's life in a technologically far inferior culture, versus the lack of wealth, position, and a great deal of control, today. If you don't want to answer, that's fine, but these are the conditions I set.

I'd definitely stay in the present. If for no other reason than the fact that social mobility was basically zero at the time.

 

Heavenfall, remember that you don't need social mobility if you're close to the top of the food chain--and you are, in my predicated 12th nobleman. I suppose you could angle to rise further than count, but in my exalted status I've granted whomever takes the post stability. If you don't push, no one will push back. You can stay count of your moderately sized lands, and never have to worry about being tossed out (which almost never happened in any case, since nobles had much more power than royalty at the time).

 

Can't play video games in past, seems like a no brainer to me...

 

Thus speaks a kind of wisdom.

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March 26, 2013 4:09:49 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

The future isn't what it used to be

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March 27, 2013 12:03:04 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Fuzzy Logic,
The future isn't what it used to be

And the past will never live up to expectations, either.

For mine [regarding the OP, I'd like just to go back as far as the 60's... as a regular joe but with all the knowledge and understanding I have now.  While other times have had their bright moments, the 60's were the best years of my life.

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March 27, 2013 12:56:03 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting starkers,
the 60's were the best years of my life.

The [first] years that fashion forgot ...

60's for me were full of angst.....secondary school and girls

70's were full of hippy/Architecture/revolution .... and a decade that fashion really forgot....

I certainly wouldn't want to relive them if I was aware of 'what was coming' .... that'd be a real downer.

As for the OP  ...  would I rather Lord it over serfs in the good old days ...

... or Admin millions of Users on a web site?

 

Probably same difference...

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March 27, 2013 1:17:50 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Jafo,
The [first] years that fashion forgot ...

60's for me were full of angst.....secondary school and girls

I care not for the girls side of it, and my school days weren't at all bad... however, it's more about the people, location, the countryside for me... it was quite idyllic and laid back. Those were the days, but alas, my TARDIS broke down and my sonic screwdriver's on the blink.

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March 27, 2013 1:49:39 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting starkers,
my TARDIS broke down and my sonic screwdriver's on the blink.
There´s one for download you know

http://www.wincustomize.com/explore/cursorfx/2983/

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March 27, 2013 4:15:13 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

In the future I made a time machine and came back in time to here.

Unfortunately, being stupid, I forgot that if my time machine was in the future and I was here, I'd end up being stuck here...

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March 30, 2013 11:10:35 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I'll stick to the here and now it's safer having just spent a month in hospital the past would of been no good at all you can bet on that.

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March 30, 2013 11:28:28 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Lets face it most folks would only want to go back to the past for one reason, they can't handle the present to which one can sumize they would screw up the future. 

I'm staying here with a big smile on my face and make folks think now just what is on his mind. 

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March 30, 2013 12:21:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Not even the bottom percentile of the population in a modern society would be better off that far into the past. Even someone living on the streets has a better quality of life and opportunities than those of a stereotypical peasant. The amount of squalor that we are aware of today is nothing compared to what our ancestors had to deal with. Even their clothing was doing its best to kill them. Clothing was expensive back then, so often families would use a hand-me-down system, not quite realizing the full scope of what actually was being passed down.

Knowing what is really in the clothing that they wear is only part of the issue with someone from today going back to the far past. The next issue that one must consider is the potential genocide that you'd cause. The diseases that we carry today, the populations of yesterday do not have immunities for, and vice-versa. Without medicine from today, you'd probably die, but potentially not before spreading some nasty bug that you carry to the population around you.

 

If you were to nullify the disease problem somehow, via magic, etc.. Then you still have the problem of being in the damned dark ages basically. It is bad enough some people in a modern "civilized" culture have mindsets that trend backwards to that time-period, actually living there would be horrific. To have what little knowledge I have now, and to have been tossed back in time and unable to use any of what I know.. To have the power to save millions of lives, yet forced by some mysterious force to let them die, I can think of no greater hell.. And that isn't even getting into the whole they'd not listen to you anyway thing, and probably burn you at the stake because the devil done got his hands all on ya.

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March 31, 2013 2:12:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Glazunov1,
Heavenfall, remember that you don't need social mobility if you're close to the top of the food chain--and you are, in my predicated 12th nobleman. I suppose you could angle to rise further than count, but in my exalted status I've granted whomever takes the post stability. If you don't push, no one will push back. You can stay count of your moderately sized lands, and never have to worry about being tossed out (which almost never happened in any case, since nobles had much more power than royalty at the time).

Social mobility makes the world a better place for everyone. I'm one of those annoying fucks who would refuse to live such a life only because it would mean no social mobility for anyone. That's an awful society to live in.

Most of us here live in relatively functional democracies. And the choice in this thread is living in the contemporary world, or going back to a monarchy "but it's okay because you're fairly well off"?

I would find it morally impossible to be a part of such a society.

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April 2, 2013 2:13:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Heavenfall,


Most of us here live in relatively functional democracies. And the choice in this thread is living in the contemporary world, or going back to a monarchy "but it's okay because you're fairly well off"?

I would find it morally impossible to be a part of such a society.

 

I call ethnocentrism. In that society, you would feel threatened by conflict that compromises your status. With most nobility and wealth conferred through titles, you wouldn't want your houses titles to fall into someone elses hands, so you would make alliances and play politics. I don't think someone could just go back in time and "play neutral". Others around you will notice your reclusive behavior and wonder what secrets your hiding and what benefit could be had from bringing you down. Technological elements are one thing, but social context and elements are another.

 

Well off? Certainly, however i bet different people would have different "rates of success and happiness" if they "lived both lives" and got to contrast them against each other. So, to my claim of ethnocentrism. I believe if you were enculturated as a member of their society and were offered to go into the future, into the middle class, where every decision is a gamble with "gloves off" rules and the ability to get rich or poor for any reason or no reason, a society where you can't use the weight of your family honor to settle disputes, where the uneducated paupers have the same voice as Aristotle, you would find the offer to be insidious.

 

Being told that in the world, gay people have rights, women have freedom, you can't get your enemies executed for witchcraft, you can't own government, and your employees have legal protection, where the church has been replaced by private market as the primary social institution and ethical matters are resolved by congresses and juries instead of by the sword...  there is no way you would want to live in such a society. You would hug your moat, smile that your wife can't talk back to you, and feel relieved when you visit your whipping boy which you can't have in the modern age. Therefore, I suspect that some archetypes would be happier in the past (those who come from poverty here and know inside they won't move upward) and those from the past in poverty would want to come here. However, I maintain the higher up the social ladder you get, the less benefit there is to be had.

 

Perhaps offering a modern senator a chance to become a senator of Rome, or a president to become an emperor of Assyria or Babylon, and one of those emperors to be President in a country where even though he has temporary power, he has global reach. On the top and bottom, especially on the top, the odd possibilities and culture shocks would be novel worthy.

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April 2, 2013 6:24:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not saying I would be up on the barricades the first day in the past. But I honestly find the idea offensive that I would settle into the rustic political environment without a desire for change. I think perhaps you misinterpret my "answer" as a generalized answer applicable to the many. I make no such claim, but I am sure of what I would do.

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