Now, imagine yourself transported back to their time. How well would you fare? Indeed, how would you survive? What skills do you have that would suffice in their day. I don't care who you are or whatever job or profession you pursue. For example, I once read a study of American doctors who volunteered in Burma (back when Burma was still known as “Burma”). Bereft of their modern hospitals and pharmacies, their success rate curing disease was no better than the indigenous witch doctors.
On the other hand, your 15th Century ancestor dropping by for a visit would most likely adapt pretty well. Discounting the fact that they would be well fed and housed by government entitlements, they would most likely have some skills with which to survive. Whether they be a craftsman, an artisan, or a peasant farmer, they would survive. A member of the 15th Century aristocracy might become a celebrity and climb through the ranks of modern government.
I believe that a 15th Century person might even excel at modern education better than today's lot of scholars. Their ability to learn and memorize was far better exercised than today's students. Lacking printed books, they had to memorize everything, and some of them were extremely good at it. Also, once presented with the artifacts of modern civilization, their sense of wonder might even drive them to exceed our accomplishments. Remember, Newton knew all the science needed to land men on the moon. He's the one who postulated it for us. He only lacked the technology. Imagine how much further he might have gone had he started in our century.
I was inspired to speculate on this concept when I awoke this morning with a piece of doggerel running through my head: “Worm and parcel with the lay, then turn and serve the other way.” What the hell is that? It's a mnemonic that I learned many decades ago to remind me how to care for lines (ropes) on a sailing ship, otherwise known as marlinespike seamanship. I won't belabor you with a more extensive explanation. It only served to remind me that mnemonics were an important part of learning to memorize.
I could branch off at this point onto any one of several topics. It's hard to choose which. However, I will limit myself to just two. First, why do so many people, especially elected officials, openly disdain the Constitution. They believe that they are better people than the ones who wrote it. That they are somehow smarter. They argue that the Republic envisioned in that Constitution is failing, and that we would be so much better off if only they could shuck off its limits on the powers of government. However, the Republic is failing today because we have already allowed them to shuck off too many limits and it is their meddling that is hurting our liberty and our economy.
Secondly, I could take another path and discuss the failure of educators. They claim that they could do so much better if only they had a few dollars more. Well, we've given them vast fortunes and the quality of education has only declined inversely to the amount being spent. That's another subject that I would like to pursue further. However, it is a waste of time if you don't agree with my basic premise.
So, here's the challenge. Tell us. What skills do you have that would allow you to survive let alone thrive in the 15th Century? Me? I could be a sailor. I've sailed tall ships, and I not only know how to navigate without a GPS, but also how to worm, parcel, and serve.