Was life better "way way" back?


Some people seem to think that the modern iteration of humanity is damaged and psychologically doomed.

Your topic and post are a bit confusing. Was life better way back when? It was different. I was 5 years old when my grandfather ranted about gas going up to 50 cents a gallon. Minimum wage was like a dollar something, yet my father made good money as a computer programmer. Floppies were just that, black floppy square things. I was like 10 or 12 years old when I played computer games in DOS on one of the first desktop comps, because of his job where the mother of all motherboards was in a room of her own. Yet he drove a Vega and then a Pinto after that. Meanwhile, my grandmother and mother played board games and large puzzles with me when they took time from their housework, instead of being on a home computer, which didn’t exist for the general public back then. Books were all non-digital and the Encyclopedia Britannica were a series of books. It was nice, but when everything went to digital, my grandmother started feeling as though she didn’t belong in this world. I’m sort of starting to understand her.

The list goes on and on, but do I think humanity is psychologically doomed? Only when we get to be 94 years old and the modern world hits us in the face when you can’t give away your outdated books. As far as the article goes, it seems to drone on about nothing. Nursing a child until he’s 4 years old doesn’t necessarily mean that a woman won’t get pregnant again. It’s not birth control. Real birth control came in the form of a pill in the 1960s giving women freedom that some men (like the Repugs) can’t handle. No longer were women barefoot and pregnant and could delay having children until they were ready. There’s a lot of other issues with the article, but that’s a big one that caught my eye. Breastfeeding is not birth control and never was.

Is humanity doomed because of modern technology and society? I don’t think so, but older people struggle with modern things and that can lead to them giving up on life, especially when they are in their 90s. It’s really easy to give up on life then.

Every generation thinks the world is going to hell because it’s changing. We all have fond memories of our youth and tend to look back at a “simpler time” when life was “better”. But our memories betray reality. Our youths are times of freedom. Fewer responsibilities, fewer health issues, more energy and the moment is everything. Our time was “perfect” and any changes to that are wrong. It’s the same bullshit that every generation goes through.

Of course, this time around things are a little different. Now it’s the kids thinking the world is going to hell. But only because they’re afraid it’s going to light on fire before they reach their 30s. It’s not the same thing.

It’s physical this time.

The list goes on and on, but do I think humanity is psychologically doomed?
When I see infants receiving toy cell phones and plunked down in front of the big screen. With little to no role model parenting going on. Seems to me its not promising for the future the human psyche.

Like I said, every generation thinks there’s some unique change with the next generation. Music, dancing, what they’re teaching in schools, how they’re teaching it, what they watch, what games they play… It could be argued that it was “physical” for my generation as we made the move from cutsie board games with depictions of candy and happy faces to video games with depictions of graphic violence like the original Doom. In my experience every generation sees something different about the next generation that they take to be a major change, different than any which came before. My music was “just screaming”. Bart Simpson was disrespectful to his parents and not funny at all. Television was going to rot my brain. My music also made me violent, suicidal, murderous and addicted to drugs and alcohol.

You know how you always had to program your mom’s VCR? That’s because you grew up with it and “just knew” how to do it. Today’s babies are going to be changing the settings on our cell phones for us in a couple of decades. The predictions for my generation were just as much doom and gloom as the current predictions for the next generation. Yeah, things are different than they were in my day. That’s the point, the reason for the fear.

I don’t think the article is getting at birth control, nowhere does it say that. More like how the practices of HG led to more well adjusted human beings and the like, that’s what he is getting at.

An interesting question, but not very well explored in the article. The “Home” button didn’t work so I couldn’t tell who wrote it. I found a blog by one of the references, Morris Berman, and although published, he didn’t seem very well organized either, jumping from Plato to Freud in one paragraph. There’s no simple answer to this, and you can’t push civilization backwards anyway. A bunch of people didn’t get together and decide to have an agricultural revolution, it just happened.

The home button worked for me, not sure what’s up with it for others.

I guess what I see him getting at was that life was better then or that at least humans were more well adjusted than we are today. It sort of makes me think that we are broken inside.

Though looking at the source list I recognize a few questionable ones, even Berman himself isn’t an anthropologist.

I kind of agree that the article sites a lot of “evidence” that isn’t really verified. Too much Freud, and we know how reliable his stuff was.

The home button works now. This is a good discussion.

What is?

Plus I’m pretty sure his claim about war not being a thing in HG isn’t true, violence was definitely frequent and quite savage among HG tribes. The “peaceful savage” is a myth

This is a good discussion. - Lausten

What is? - Xian

This thread. The link has it’s flaws, but it’s a question that isn’t easily answered, so that’s to be expected. Then, you responded to the comments thoughtfully.

I’m not big into anthropology or psychology so I can’t really verify what he’s saying is true. The Erikson part seems misquoted a little since he said every society has rituals that member learn but development is bad when these rituals are wrong or messed up.

As for Berman, his books have mixed reviews and he seems more like a guy who “hates science” and how it’s shown that much of the world is more mechanical than he likes.

By the by, what are the flaws in the link. I think one of them was that war was not a thing back then, but from what I have read it most certainly was.

For real though, what are the flaws? I’m not sure I understand

“Better” is an interesting concept. Surely we don’t wish for a world where we are not at the top of the food chain, even if it means extinctions for our benefit. Hard to believe that anyone would enjoy leprosy, smallpox or polio.

I believe what’s different today is that we recognize our lives are so dependent upon other people and so many things we do not understand and cannot control. I had a conversation with a native american Indian recently. He was very sure his hunting skills and knowledge of native plants would allow him to survive any really bad event while most people would not do well. Smug and confident he was.

I asked him if he could make steel to replace his knife when he lost it. I asked him if he could make glass or screen wire for the windows in his house. I asked him if he owned enough farm land, if he had the tools, the seed and the skills to grow enough to feed his family even in a bad year. I asked him if he had enough food stashed away for his family to get by until a new crop came in. I asked him if he could get to the sea to get salt without gas for his truck and could he purify water in large quantities. And finally, I asked him if he could make electricity.

When he answered no to all my questions, I suggested to him that he, just like the rest of us, is one major disaster from a new stone age. Few of us have never combed cotton, spun it, made thread from it or set up a loom to weave the thread. I don’t know how to tan a hide or make a bow powerful enough to kill anything larger than a rabbit. I don’t relish the thought of wearing animal skins and using a club and a sharp stick to defend myself and my family.

I’m sure there are many out there who would’t survive, psychologically, without their cell phone. I think most of us have good reasons to be in fear of our lives. At least for the time being one of those fears is not being eaten by a wild animal, and that’s better.

Surely we don’t wish for a world where we are not at the top of the food chain, even if it means extinctions for our benefit.
That sums you up pretty well Bob.

In a sense that is sort of true and how I view society. That everything is connected. But I also read that some seem to view HG as the best time for humanity and that after that we “fell”.

I don’t really know how true any of it is since I’m not into anthropology, I was just curious since I saw that people said there were flaws in the link and I wanted to ask what they were. I looked into Morris Berman and he seems to not be a very reliable source, and the paper in whole wasn’t peer reviewed so there’s that.

I just wish I knew the truth so I wouldn’t have this creeping notion that I and the rest of present humanity is some sort of broken or inferior version of our ancestors.

Widdershins writes -December 10, 2019 at 2:34 pm : Like I said, every generation thinks there’s some unique change with the next generation. Music, dancing, what they’re teaching in schools, how they’re teaching it, what they watch, what games they play…
Hmmm, same as it ever was? Problem, What problem? Our institutions and the citizens are operating the same as every generation before - is that what you're trying to explain to me?

Look at how great society is humming along. Who says children needed to be raised by parents - they’ve got a new app for that, I shouldn’t be such a luddite.


I’ve been listening to that sort of advice all my life too, {I’m child of 50s don’t you know}. Fortunately, I’ve learned to compartmentalize so I’m not a 24/7 bummer and go along with the smilie face. Still when I stick my head out and survey the general societal global situation, holy fuk, this is supposed to be normal?!?! Oh yeah, now you remind me, in a few days I leave this cabin and wonderful little patch of land for the Valley of the Sun megalopolis and another dose of the USA Reality Show. Love the time with the little one, takes me back to humanity at its finest, the time alone with him is precious and wondrous beyond words - but the adults scare me, they live in a bubble of contented comfort, blind to all and resentful of any attempts to spoil the rosy. . . . . . well, get out of the way, the game is on. cheers. so much rambling to do so little time. see ya.