Those who market goods have been pairing these words for some time--“new and improved” and “latest and greatest”. Whatever is the most modern expression of technology, entertainment, literature or medicine is automatically held up as desirable. In the realm of ideas, humans are quick to scoff at so-called backward and primitive ways people thought and acted in the past, even a few decades ago.
There is a human tendency to assume that where we are now is superior to anything that preceded it, and that tendency includes a kind of arrogance. I’ve noticed it for years because I tend to be cautious regarding cultural “advances.” I’m not the first to embrace a new technology until I have observed real benefits and discerned pitfalls. I’m glad to have finally discovered a name for what I object to: “chronological snobbery.”
British author and professor C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) spoke out against it in his day. In a recent biography of Lewis, it states: “We must, Lewis argues, break free from the shallow complacency of ‘chronological snobbery,’ and realize that we can learn from the past precisely because it liberates us from the tyranny of the contemporaneous.”  At his inaugural lecture at Cambridge University in 1954 he put forth the thesis that it was faulty to characterize the Middle Ages as a “drab and degenerate period between the glories of classical culture and their rebirth and renewal during the Renaissance.” This way of interpreting English literature was driven by an agenda to make certain works part of a fabricated “golden age.” Each age thinks its contribution to culture is more excellent than the last, but whether it truly endures remains to be seen.
When we allow the weekly best sellers list, the latest news tweets and the newest apps to dominate our choices and opinions about what really matters, we may find important things lacerated by the cutting edge of culture. My seeing value in the past may label me as a conservative, but without looking back I do not have a healthy perspective on where I am.