Innovation and constant change are the distinctive traits of modern life. They often seem the one certainty in this age. 150 years ago a young man with a doctorate in Classical Philology from the University of Jena ( 1841) said nearly the same thing about his own age: "Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish this epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify."
So wrote Karl Marx in 1848, the year he penned the Communist Manifesto. As he knew from his classical studies, he was not the first person to feel this way. The confused middle-class hero of Aristophanes' Clouds ( 423 B.C.), confronting the world