Wednesday, March 29, 2006

End of the Road

In his book The End of History and the Last Man, historian Francis Fukuyama proposes the idea that since the idea of democracy is now universally accepted, mankind can progress no further. There may be problems with the implementation of democracy, however, no one will suggest alternatives to democracy. This is a bold theory, and if I may speak personally, one that I am not ready (or willing) to accept.

It does however, make one wonder if mankind has reached the teleological end of any process,no matter how mundane. For example, has mankind run out of ideas on innovations in shaving? As a society, we have invented two forms of razors - one being a sharp blade applied to the skin, the other being an electric device. The Gillette Corporation may add as many blades as it pleases to its razor, it can have it spit out lotion, it could even add a clock for the time-conscious shaver - but as Fukuyama would argue, these are improvements on implementation, not innovations. While I am saddened for the implications of this on the state of mankind's imagination, for now I am forced to accept that the way a man will shave his beard three hundred years from now will be no different than how I do it every morning.


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