Is everything worse than it used to be?

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  • Is everything worse than it used to be?
  • Reading a few recent threads it seems a lot of people think everything is getting worse. Including, but not limited to, the sky not being as blue; and street fighting not being as gentlemanly!
    (obviously something personal like illness or bereavement or unwanted unemployment, or your town flooding is very different, you have my sympathies, the vibe I’m getting is that life in general is worse in every way)

    Does everyone else feel like this?

    With the possible exception of the white supremacist elephant in the room that is Brexit and its effects, my life (in Britain) is better quality and I’m far happier than I have ever been.

    Mountain bikes are awesome, as are the places to ride them. Food is cheap, varied and plentiful. Cars work perfectly for years in all weathers as long as you put fuel in. The internet and more specifically the smartphone have made communication, travel and life admin incredibly easy and convenient; along with on demand entertainment, and instant information.

    What have I missed, or was it really better in the past?

    Entropy innit.

    It’s your actual second law of thermodynamics kinda thing.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    It is something personal. But it’s called middle age.
    Old enough to know it’s all a waste of time, too young to be too senile to care

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    I think there is a tendency in the press/media to focus on the “bad” things, which then gets shared around social media and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. There’s a colossal amount of good in the world which gets completely overlooked.

    I’m in no way suggesting that Boris is right in telling us that it will all be alright if we were just a bit more optimistic, but if you start anything expecting it to be a shower of shit, it becomes a lot harder to get a positive outlook.

    I think there is a tendency in the press/media to focus on the “bad” things, which then gets shared around social media and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. There’s a colossal amount of good in the world which gets completely overlooked.

    Definitely – but was this not always the case? (replace social media with friends, tabloids, cab drivers, men with sandwich boards, town criers, depending on how far back you want to go.)

    ElShalimo
    Member

    @MCTD – if you expect it to be crap and it turns out okay then that’s a positive. A bit like the party you don’t really want to go to but you go anyway and an average night out ends up being quite good ‘cos you thought it was going to be crap….

    doris5000
    Member

    They [Young People] have exalted notions, because they have not been humbled by life or learned its necessary limitations; moreover, their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things — and that means having exalted notions. They would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning — all their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They overdo everything — they love too much, hate too much, and the same with everything else.

    (Aristotle), 4th century BC

    “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words… When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint”.

    (Hesiod, 8th century BC)

    chewkw
    Member

    Is everything worse than it used to be?

    Normal really with the constant ups and downs … 🤔

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    (Aristotle), 4th century BC

    (Hesiod, 8th century BC)

    Wise words mate 😉

    Spin
    Member

    No. See Steven Pinker on this. He’s kind of like a thinking person’s Malcolm Gladwell.

    IHN
    Member

    Food is cheap, varied and plentiful

    or put another way, meat (especially) prices do not reflect the full environmental cost of production, we fly in asparagus from Peru and apples from China, and waste huge amounts of perfectly edible food.

    andypaul
    Member

    My Grandfather always used to tell my Father that things are getting worse, My Dad always was telling me that things are getting worse, i find myself telling my Daughter that things are getting worse…

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    If you look at the bigger picture we’ve been lucky enough to live through a (relatively) long period of peace and stability.

    I know that democracy is throwing up some real weird shit right now but it’s not like we’re all starving in the streets, dying of smallpox or being shipped out to fight in colonial wars

    footflaps
    Member

    Yes and No.

    Compared to when I was a kid (1970s) we have
    – an amazing array of food from all over the world
    – new cars which don’t break down and rust every 100 miles
    – more money that we know what to do with eg my schools clothes used to have to last years and all my jumpers had holes in them etc
    – paramedics who turn up with amazing life saving kit like drips, defibrillators etc (in the 1970s you got a stretcher, a blanket and a triangular bandage).
    – double glazing / insulation as standard on all houses
    – A phone line in every house (not shared lines) and internet

    On the other hand we seem to have cocked up
    – the environment
    – financial equality

    and generally decided that we can’t be arsed to properly fund courts, schools, prisons, hospitals etc.

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Subscriber

    Just about everything is better now than it was at any point in the last hundred years. Not to be complacent, there are lot of people struggling, and a lot of people looking to turn clocks back in many ways, but generally… things are going in the right direction. Young people seem to be keen to keep progress going, which is always encouraging.

    It’s the blue dot effect.

    wordnumb
    Member

    Worst thread ever.
    I remember when this place used to be… (drifts off in carefully-edited nostalgia)

    Spin
    Member

    On the other hand we seem to have cocked up
    – the environment
    – financial equality

    The first certainly although the process started in the past that many seem to feel was better.

    In many places and across the world in general monetary inequalities are reducing. From reports I’ve seen it looks like the UK is bucking that trend though.

    Trimix
    Member

    Nostalgia is not what it used to be.

    Apart from that, things have got better at the expense of the environment.

    Look at some of the recent things in the news….grouse shooting, all female emergency cabinets, banning use of hands free phones in cars(though how they’d ever police it is uncertain)…do they seem like the kind of headline news stories of a country where everything is turning to crap? No chance. It’s proper first world, the point of the tip of Maslow’s Triangle stuff.

    Nah. The world has its problems, but in the last 100 years things have got a hell of a lot better for billions of people. We’ve moved from a situation where over 80% of the global population 100 years ago were living in poverty…now 50% of the worlds population are middle class…while the population has grown from about 3bn to over 6bn. That is an unbelievable achievement. And it has been achieved by giving people freedom and control of their own lives…empowering them to make their own lives better proving that individuals know what is best for them better than any government. that has to be the model we continue with and finesse and improve over time.

    Though there is still a large gap between the richest and poorest in developed countries…there are less people in those two buckets with many more people in the middle. Things are becoming more equal too and there is more equality in the world than ever before.

    People have more freedom. Are generally healthier. With increasing life expectancy.

    Sure there are challenges, but they’re largely as a result of our success, like overconsumption instead of world wars, disease and starvation, we’re better equipped to face them than ever before so the chances of success are better than any other time in our history.

    nah, whichever way you cut it things are better than they were and getting better. the only risk to the continuation of the progression is ourselves.

    footflaps
    Member

    The first certainly although the process started in the past that many seem to feel was better.

    But the huge disposable income we now have just creates vast quantities of tat that ends up in landfill / bobbing around the Pacific. Go back 30-40 years and we bought less rubbish and most of it wasn’t made of plastic. Plastic has really taken over in the last 30 years, everything is made from it now.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    On the other hand we seem to have cocked up
    – the environment
    – financial equality

    The environment was overall in a much worse state 40 years ago, *except* for climate change. Even then there is some suggestion that it was only the dimming of the sun from all the soot we produced that was keeping a lid on temperatures.

    We’ve cleaned up local environments beyond measure. There’s salmon in the river Taff, which used to be a sluice for factory waste. Indeed, if you go back even further to when everything must’ve been even more marvellous, the environment in London was so bad that when people fell into the river they often died of asphyxiation from the fumes rather than drowning.

    I am white and straight, but I imagine it’s better in general to be coloured or gay now than it was 40 years ago. Things are obviously having a bit of a slump now but I doubt stuff like this would have happened in the 60s.

    Premier Icon ravingdave
    Subscriber

    things are worse,

    environment – is absolutely trashed, and is only going to get worse.

    Politically – the rise of the right; divisive and hate fueled politics is doing the peace and prosperity we have enjoyed to now no good at all.

    Education – worst in living memory
    Police – as above
    Healthcare – as above
    infrastructure – terrible condition

    Stability and optimism – probably at an all time low, primarily because of the above.

    for comments about having great smart phones and disposable incomes that does make an improved society.

    Trimix
    Member

    Pretty soon the influx of starving migrants from places decimated by climate change will drastically alter anyones idea of “things are better now”.

    Without pausing for thought, having literally just read the OP before typing a reply, my initial hunch is that we are at best in a plateau state in terms of the quality of life for UK citizens… If not declining.

    If you think back to the 1970s, around the time a lot of us here were kids, the rate of positive change to our lives to ~2000 was amazing. Things like the internet, other electronic technology breakthroughs, home ownership and disposable income etc.

    Some things have progressed on since ~2000, like faster internet and carbon framed bikes, but other things are now worse for us as a nation and internationally…
    Pollution in the air from all those extra cars
    Pollution in the seas from all that plastic
    People now have a life expectancy lower than the previous generation due to less exercise and less healthy diets
    Less of us owning homes and more of us paying ever increasing rents to have a roof over our head
    Many people trapped in renting because they can’t raise a big enough mortgage deposit
    House prices spiralling out of control
    Kids can’t play safely on the street outside due to parked cars and other cars passing through
    Smaller pockets of greenery to break up the urban jungle
    A massive UK population increase, especially on the south coast
    Throw-away society
    etc.

    I think we were overall in a much better place in the early 2000s.

    footflaps
    Member

    The environment was overall in a much worse state 40 years ago

    How many millions of tonnes of plastic were in the oceans 40 years ago?

    We didn’t have wide spread usage of pesticides and monoculture mass agriculture devoid of any wildlife which now dominates industrial agriculture.

    Premier Icon madmechanist
    Subscriber

    Simply put time and experience… The world is a better place.. Especially in medicine my parents grew up with genetic disorders that haven’t been treatable.. Yet I have a very manageable set of disorders thanks to early treatment… More money, food, shelter… Things are better easy to forget but they are.. And all this in about 20-40 years.. Surprising really.

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    Two things here.

    1) Things were better when we were younger, because we were younger (something the brexiters could do to realise). Of course it was better in the 1970s when all you had to worry about was getting a clip round the ear because you were late getting home for tea, rather than having to hold down a job you hate in order to keep a roof over your head.

    2) We are so much better at reporting bad things these days. I have no doubts that there were just as many nonces, rapists and general shitehawks around in the 50s, 60s, 70s etc as there are today, it’s just that the tabloids like to get into a frot about it rather than everyone pretending that creepy uncle Gary just hung around playgrounds for the fresh air. Plus we’ve got on-demand social media for the occasional witch-hunt or two.

    wordnumb
    Member

    OMG, just ten posts ago I thought things were bad, little did I know… those were the golden days, see what’s become of us now, how things have degraded to such an extent I cannot even

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
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    I’d rather be alive now, born in the late 70’s, than at any other point in history. That in itself tells me that things are better than they were. Not likely to die from war, famine or plague. Livin’ the life over here.

    Things always get much worse under the Tories.There only real care is for the rich and powerful.The rest of us are just disposable.

    Depends entirely on what one means by ‘everything’.

    doris5000
    Member

    The environment was overall in a much worse state 40 years ago

    How many millions of tonnes of plastic were in the oceans 40 years ago?

    true, but on the other hand…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Smog_of_London

    up to 12,000 dead and 100,000 sick from one week of air pollution in one city in the UK. Can hardly imagine it

    funkmasterp – would you like to have been born 15 years ago, or back in the 70s?

    I understand the general “quality of life now vs 100 years ago” arguments – that’s definitely a progressive move. But how about over the last 5 or 10 years?

    Trimix
    Member

    Its like we are in the late summer, autum almost here and winter on its way. Its been pretty damm good for quite a few decades. But I reckon polution / environmental impacts are just round the corner. These will make recent problems seem non existant.

    “The UK’s 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 2002, the Met Office has said. Its statistics stretching back to 1884 reveal a worrying trend, as the planet as a whole deals with the climate crisis.”

    Premier Icon stewartc
    Subscriber

    Things started going downhill when they stopped having those cheerful happy stories at the end of the news.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
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    funkmasterp – would you like to have been born 15 years ago, or back in the 70s?

    Back in the 70’s. No way would I want to be 15 again. Feel like I appreciate things like tech advances more too, knowing how things were in the 80’s compared to now. Just feel like it’s been a good period to live through to be honest.

    easily
    Member

    Bikes are way better than they used to be. There’s more good stuff to watch on telly. It’s easier to find a passable espresso (though just as hard to find a great one). It’s easy to access P̶o̶r̶n̶ literature and music, in a way that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. Women and gays have more rights now. Overt racism is much rarer.

    On the other hand we had few homeless when I was a kid, and religious intolerance was something that happened elsewhere (apart from Northern Ireland). Our politicians seem to be idiots. Kids don’t play outside as much.

    I’d say most things were better, but some things have got worse.

    *i partially disagree with the person above who said education is worse – everyone thinks education was better in their day. We educate more kids to a decent standard than ever before. However, once they get to GCSE level and above all effort is in exam-passing rather than learning.

    eddiebaby
    Member

    Pretty soon the influx of starving migrants from places decimated by climate change will drastically alter anyones idea of “things are better now”.

    This will be the point when we finally get to realise if we are truly civilised. It is going to rain on everyone’s parade.

    eddiebaby
    Member

    We educate more kids to a decent standard than ever before. However, once they get to GCSE level and above all effort is in exam-passing rather than learning.

    And the exams seem eve…

    aaah **** it. Doesn’t even matter compared with what is coming. Cherish your time with your children.

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