Today I ran into a person I know from uni. While talking to her I sensed how she felt the world is much worse now than say, 100 years ago. She mentioned things like pollution, overpopulation and an apparent corruption of ethics in most humans. Then she went on a religious rant about people getting away from God and such, but that’s beneath the point.
It’s not the first time I’ve heard people say that nowadays humanity is at its worst, and it’s falling even lower as we speak. And I’m not only talking about older people; It seems to be a collective perception. In Spanish, there’s a very popular saying that says “Todo Tiempo Pasado Fue Mejor”, which can be literally translated as “Every past time was better than now”. I don’t know if English speaking people have a similar saying.
Do you think that the past time was better? I don’t.
I think the world is getting better everyday. Maybe the air was less polluted back then, the rivers were cleaner, and definitely, there were fewer pregnant teenagers. However, the concept of people living quietly, respecting the neighbors, the children being obedient, while married couples never divorced, to me is like a fairy tale that has nothing to do with the real thing.
Lets take our time machine and go really back then. Cavemen could barely live, so they wouldn’t worry much about anything else that was not being killed and eating enough not to die before reproducing. The first civilizations created reservoirs of food and water, and safer living conditions. With this, they were able to go into other issues: war, diseases, hierarchy. A flu could kill you, as well as not listening to the current authority.
Let’s jump to European civilizations. The children mortality was still high as it could be, and men died in wars, and people kept dying of flu and tuberculosis. There was no freedom of speech. When the church gained more power, people died for speaking their minds. Women died for doing nothing! If you were a woman in the middle age, and someone didn’t like you, chances are they would accuse you of being a witch and you’d die. No discussion. The middle age lasted 1200 years! 1200 years and nothing changed whatsoever, no discoveries were made because of fear, so the same old things applied, and people kept dying and being abused. Renaissance and the illumination was a better time to live than middle age, sure, but the social hierarchies still played a role, the poverty killed thousands, and people kept dying of flu! Ever heard about an aunt saying they want to have their baby at home because “that’s how it was done before”?, Well, before the prenatal and perinatal death rate was HUGE. We have our babies in bubbles of protection now with the hospitals and vaccines and esterilizing practices. The prenatal and perinatal dead rate, as well as the dead rate of woman for obstetric causes is a marker of the health status of each country, and most developed countries make sure these markers stay low.
Let’s go back to the time machine and go into last century. Sexism, intolerance, and diseases. But this is when the clock starts to accelerate and the freedom is increased, and the minds start to shine.
Are you scared because of AIDS and cancer and how many people die because of it? Well, we are currently facing the lowest mortality rate ever as a species we’ve ever had. Overpopulation is a sign of our sucess as species and constitutes a new problem. As well as the obesity epidemy is a sign of our sucess at accumulating resources and safety. We’re winning too many trophies and we don’t know what to do with them. You think having a flu is easy? well, it is NOW.
Humans cause problems, but at the same time they try to fix them. Then some new problems arise, but humans are always paying attention. And the clock is moving faster than ever, and more solutions will be found. And more problems will arise.
Good or bad, humans will come up with a solution. If it means the biological beings eventually dying and humans making their way with technology and robots, that’s still a solution. Sounds scary, but, what would a person from the 18 century say about the internet?
When asked in what time would I want to reborn if I had the chance to, I would l say: Now, or maybe even: In The Future.
May the past stay very far from me.
Do you think the past was any better? When? and How?
If not, What do you think was the worst that has been left behind?
I’ll leave you with another one of the incredibly retarded flash animations that give me one-hour laughing fits every time.