Then and Now
I’ve heard all my life that an old person cliché is talking about the past as if it were so superior to our current times, typically starting with the sentence: “when I was your age…”
If you ever get into a discussion like this (I suggest you avoid it) usually your younger conversationalist looks at you like a dimwit with oatmeal dribbling onto your shirt—not with a lot of integrity. Most folks, even the old ones, think people who harp on the allegedly pristine past to be a bit over the top—“I had to walk ten miles to get to school! And often in the snow!” Hmmm.
But in fact, were things better in the past? Most of these sorts of comments dwell on the tougher, and less pampered character of the older generations. Why is that a better thing? And if so, are there other things that we can consider better in the past, even the distant past, like regard for others, lack of selfishness, and higher moralities? I would think in some cases this might be true, but in other cases not at all. And even if we determine that these things suffer in our current culture, is it correct to say that fact makes things in our current culture worse?—and that higher morality, more stringent ethics, and more noble values made a better society? If that even existed? We can even investigate non-human differences, like lack of technology, ancient medical procedures, and real wooden floors rather than fake plastic. I’m not being flippant here. Human craftsmanship and things we interact with being created from the natural world and by human hands has a significant impact on our soul’s well-being.
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