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It’s nonsense to compare the marriages from the days past to marriages today and say that people were better

[ 3 min read ]

It’s ridiculous to compare the marriages from the days past to marriages today and conclude that people were in some way better (because there weren’t so many divorces, people didn’t give up on their partners so easily).

I give this example about marriages because it is very often used by people. They show people “Look! 60 years ago human beings weren’t so fucked-up like they are today.” And certain romantic types pick that message up, mindlessly accept it as their own, and share it with everyone they know. As if they wanted to tell people “Look!!!”

It’s bullshit. I probably use that word (‘bullshit’) too often. I’d better replace it with some other word before certain people will conclude that I’m incompetent (uneducated — as if being educated was the most important thing in the world, more important even than having your own opinions and thoughts and enough confidence to share them), not worthy of people’s attention, or that that I would be a better thinker if I didn’t use that word so much (because, according to them, this word devalues my work), or that it is the best evidence that I can’t write. Or, on the second thought, fuck it! If you can’t stand it, why do you read it?

They want to believe that people were better. Each generation has this “disease”. They believe that how they lived their lives, the values they espoused and lived by, that it was so much better than what we see in the society currently, or even, it seems to the most delusional of them, it was the best (the absolute pinnacle of human behavior, achievement, values, life philosophy).

But even for younger people, it’s always easier to become romantic about the past and find flaws in the current state of our species (and long for those past days, days when human beings simply knew better, days when we simply were better people), than to find any flaw in this common way of thinking.

Don’t we know for a fact that most people, say after 40 (maybe a little bit earlier too), begin to complain about the current state of the society or mankind (I, and they too, mean the younger generations)? If only it all could go back to what it was like when they were young. Theirs was so much better. Everything was better.

And they don’t get it. Overall the quality of life of a human being improved, but somehow we lost something along the way. Certain magic characteristics which people still had 20, 40, 60, or 80 years ago. How sad! Why?

What they don’t realize (because it wouldn’t make them feel so good) is that they would be exactly like those young people, had they been born 20, 40, 60, or 80 years later. They would have been born in a different era, in a different culture, surrounded by different people, things and messages. In a completely new reality. They would have soaked up a completely different narrative about the world. They would have had different challenges and problems.

Of course, there would have been exceptions. But there are always exceptions and we don’t mean exceptions when we’re comparing two generations of human beings. We mean the whole generations and we compare the whole generations, so it’s obvious that we will end up generalizing.

They believe that they have something to brag about. They don’t. Everything evolves and how we live also evolves and nobody can stop that. And we adjust, and what we do changes. Neither can we go back to what it once was, although most older people would be always ultra happy if we could — the world would once again be this familiar place, and human behavior “normal” (or, perhaps, a little bit closer to “normal”).

Dream on!