0

I can't get the meaning of this sentence, from the book Same as Ever by Morgan Houseland.

You'd find people seeking the secret to a happy life and trying to find certainty when none exists in ways that are entirely relatable.

I see the meaning like this: People are trying to find the secret and certainty but these two (secret and certainty) can't even be described.

Is it right translation of the idea?

The more surrounding text for better context:

History is filled with surprises no one could have seen coming. But it's also filled with so much timeless wisdom.

If you traveled in time to five hundred years ago or five hundred years from now, you would be astounded at how much technology and medicine has changed. The geopolitical order would make no sense to you. The language and dialect might be completely foreign.

But you'd notice people falling for greed and fear just like they do in our current world.

You'd see people persuaded by risk, jealousy, and tribal affiliations in ways that are familiar to you.

You'd see overconfidence and shortsightedness that remind you of people's behavior today.

You'd find people seeking the secret to a happy life and trying to find certainty when none exists in ways that are entirely relatable.

When transported to an unfamiliar world, you'd spend a few minutes watching people behave and say, “Ah. I've seen this before. Same as ever.”

Change captures our attention because it's surprising and exciting. But the behaviors that never change are history's most powerful lessons, because they preview what to expect in the future. Your future. Everyone's future. No matter who you are, where you're from, how old you are, or how much money you make, there are timeless lessons from human behavior that are some of the most important things you can ever learn.

7
  • Can you please provide more of the surrounding text for better context.
    – dubious
    Dec 25, 2023 at 16:50
  • "...in ways that are entirely relatable" translates to "...as we all know." We all want happiness and certainty in our lives. The phrase "where none exists" belongs to the first part of the sentence. It would be clearer with a comma after 'exists'. Dec 25, 2023 at 16:53
  • @dubious , I've added surrounding text. Dec 25, 2023 at 17:05
  • The next sentence added seems to confirm my explanation. “Ah. I've seen this before. Same as ever.” Dec 25, 2023 at 17:19
  • 1
    @WeatherVane Oh I see. Thank you once again. Dec 25, 2023 at 17:35

2 Answers 2

1

The antecedent of none is certainty. The antecedent wouldn't include "the secret to a happy life" as well. But I suspect the author meant to refer to both and should have written "when neither exists".

I suppose "entirely relatable" is synonymous with "very familiar". The same old human frailties would be recognizable despite the five centuries separating us from them.

2
  • Perhaps note too that "in ways that are entirely relatable" modifies seeking and trying. Dec 25, 2023 at 19:29
  • 1
    Yes, "in ways..." is a PP that describes their actions, their seeking and trying .
    – TimR
    Dec 25, 2023 at 20:08
0

If you traveled in time to five hundred years ago or five hundred years from now . . . You’d find people seeking . . . and trying to find . . . in ways that are entirely relatable.

In ways that are entirely relatable means in ways that you can fully relate to, which means in ways that you can totally understand based on your own experience.

relatable adjective
3. That can be related to (relate v. 9); with which one can identify or empathize.

relate verb
9. intransitive. With to. To understand or have empathy for; to identify or feel a connection with.

Source: [Oxford English Dictionary(https://oed.com/) (login required)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.