The year 1648 can be fixed as a year that sign off the birthday of the modern era. Why is this year so special, well it is a year were the question of virtue and the religious started to be decided by each sovereign. They often agree to disagree on difficult subjects or even better avoid to speak about those subjects at all. It is actually a wise approach come to think of it. If questions of religious or morals or virtues led to unending arguments, polite and respectable individuals often avoid to argue too much, because they understand that those argument could led to nothing much but unproductive conflicts.

From my experience, and don’t get me wrong my experience is so little, is that, I often try see to whether the subject matter has a long half-life, this often help me to judge whether I should spend effort in understanding the other party point of view. e.g. if I go to a restaurant and I got the menu, and I am trying to choose what to get for say lunch, spending too long time on it is often not productive. I say not productive, not to undermine the preference, but in term of value I attach to such decision two weeks in the future. The same can not be said if one is making decision about who to marry, or how to spend the next 5 years.

There are many questions we avoid to talk about as a society, because they are like the struggle two parties have on what is the correct way to cut open an egg. If the disagreement on the correct way to cut open the egg become so fierce, the conflict often ensue. Now to avoid such conflict, the best way has always been to foster an environment where no one talk about such questions too much. My muse is , “What are questions we have abandoned because its too perilous to ask?”).

Ezekiel Lengaram is a Researcher in Economics at Wits University. My teaching and research focus are on the theory of Macroeconomics, Computational Economics.