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Is This The Best Time To Be Alive?

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Everyday Chit Chat Is This The Best Time To Be Alive?

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  • #86964

    2thDoc
    Participant

    I was thinking the other day (beer in hand) about how exciting it is to be around right now. Whether you are a Boomer, Generation X, Y or Millenial, you have to admit there is a lot that has happened over the last half century. I am not the oldest, most experienced person on the block, but I can remember not having certain technologies/luxuries when I was growing up. A phone in your pocket and it does what? I remember when a Commodore 64 was the coolest thing ever. (Pitfall) I remember delivering newspapers to buy my Nintendo and my first PC. I thought it was amazing when I got to watch the choppiest Encyclopedia Britannica clip of JFK and taxis in New York City. (random) Now we have HD in the palms of our hands. It has been exciting to watch all of these technologies evolve and I will always be able to say that I was around before the internet. It’s not “I used to walk to school 5 miles in the snow, uphill both ways, when I was your age,” but it’s close.

    Is this the best time to be alive, or do most generations feel this way about their respective time period?

    #448351

    cbus11
    Member

    Oddly, I was having a similar conversation with a group of friends with a beer in hand. It was basically how self absorbed we were getting with person technology and social media to a point we were missing out on some of the simpler things. It was also surprising just how much money and time is invested in these devices. I see 12 year olds carrying iphones. I kind of wonder if we are becoming a generation that gets a sense of knowledge and accomplishment through our devices more than through our own achievements. Regardless, I guess as long as there is a beer in hand and friends to hang out with, life is good.

    #448352

    2thDoc
    Participant

    The self-absorbed/entitlement mentality of today’s tweens and teens was the second part of the conversation that I wanted to start. You hit the nail on the head cbus11. I could add that topic to the “what are your pet peaves?” thread, but I might melt my keyboard.

    #448353
    Chris Sunami
    Chris Sunami
    Participant

    Any discussion of what time is best to live in has to also take into consideration where are you, and “who” in society are you. For instance, people who watch “Mad Men” tell me it makes the 50’s look like a golden age to be a white male in America –and an absolutely horrible time for everyone else.

    We middle-class Americans living at the start of the new millennium are some of the most privileged people who ever lived, materially speaking, and certainly the most technologically advanced. But I think we’re also culturally, emotionally and spiritually impoverished.

    I’m glad to live right now, but only because of my hopes for the future. In terms of life as we live it currently, I think plenty of other eras had it better.

    #448354

    gramarye
    Participant

    No, it really is the best time to be alive. And I have a fairly high level of confidence that ten years from now will be an even better time to be alive, and ten years after that even moreso (my own advancing age by then notwithstanding).

    It’s not just the advance of consumer technology, though that shouldn’t be understated. Other technologies impacting more significant matters (e.g., education, surgery, search and rescue, etc.) have made similar leaps and bounds in the past generation, too. On top of that, at least when I was born, the Soviet Union was still a reality; we tend to focus on the perils of the day and therefore play up the dangers of terrorism, but Al Qaeda is pretty weak sauce compared to the Red Army and the Soviet proxy empire.

    If you cherry-pick from history, you can romanticize any given period and make it seem better than it was. (Hence the existence of Medieval and Renaissance faires …) Doesn’t mean that you’d *really* want to live in any historical period you care to name.

    #448355

    Rockmastermike
    Participant

    meh. Given the outrageous odds against it happening in the first place I feel pretty lucky to be here at all. You get one shot and you take whatever time you’re lucky enough to get.

    #448356
    Chris Sunami
    Chris Sunami
    Participant

    Rockmaster is right –we’re all lucky to be alive –and I also agree with gramarye’s contention that cherry picking the best bits of history gives you a distorted view –that’s part of what I was trying to highlight by mentioning that no era of history is equally good for each person in that era. I also agree that a nice thing about living in this era is our improved scientific understanding of the world.

    All that said, I’m mystified by the contention that consumer technologies have made our lives so much better. I’m no technophobe –I do programming for a living –but I would argue that the most recent consumer technologies have actually made our quality of life significantly worse. People tend not to commune or communicate at the same level of depth now, although they have so many more avenues of communication to pursue.

    #448357
    Snarf
    Snarf
    Participant

    lol cats

    internet porn

    HELLLLOOOOO!

    #448358

    gramarye
    Participant

    ChrisSunami wrote >>
    All that said, I’m mystified by the contention that consumer technologies have made our lives so much better. I’m no technophobe –I do programming for a living –but I would argue that the most recent consumer technologies have actually made our quality of life significantly worse. People tend not to commune or communicate at the same level of depth now, although they have so many more avenues of communication to pursue.

    First and foremost, I met my girlfriend on eHarmony. Score one for a consumer technology not around 30 years ago.

    My Kindle allows me to carry a small library with me instead of just a single book. (Don’t get me wrong, I have a fair number of physical books, too, and the main public library right around the corner, but I can’t carry 150 physical books with me everywhere.)

    My Blackberry saves me from having to carry around a phone book/rolodex, day planner, radio, and all the various other devices that are essentially consolidated into that one device. And, as smartphones go, the Blackberry is an Atari.

    And, of course, with respect to the Internet, many individual Web sites are basically separate consumer technologies unto themselves. I already mentioned eHarmony, for one. Facebook has allowed me to stay in touch with many people from high school that I would never have been able to stay in touch with without it; some people just do not have the time or attention to write letters, as nostalgically appealing as that may be. Meetup has allowed me to connect with a far larger number of people that share my interests than I’d ever have been able to find on my own in geriatric Canton–my gaming group, my wine tasting group, and more. I’ve found roommates, furniture, and more on Craigslist that would have been much harder with the old newspaper classifieds. Amazon and other online retail outlets have basically brought a superstore into my bedroom.

    And, of course, there’s this other Web site that lets me stay connected with old friends from Columbus and see what’s going on in my old city that would have been very difficult news to find if my only option were a long-distance print subscription to the Dispatch …

    I think I not only communicate at the same level of *depth* that I would have before the advent of all our various modern communication platforms, but I also communicate to a far greater *breadth* of people than I would have before the Internet, cell phones, etc. I’d have been consigned to a fairly monastic life in Canton otherwise, and possibly even in Akron. I strongly, strongly disagree that modern consumer technologies have made our quality of life worse, whether by impairing quality communications or via any other vector.

    #448359

    GCrites80s
    Participant

    I’m getting ready to move, and I’m actually not going to get internet hooked up there because it’s taking up too much of my time. I can use the internet at work.

    #448360

    berdawn
    Member

    every day on this side of the dirt is a good one.

    #448361

    JonMyers
    Participant

    Agreed. It is the best time to be alive. Technology certainly helps with the quality of life, but even more interesting is the pervasiveness and acceptance of it. We trust technology and algorithms more than people sometimes. This can be both good and bad.

    It’s that pervasiveness and acceptance of technology, which allows for an unprecedented level of mobility and opportunities to support oneself.

    I don’t agree much with the commentary on self-absorption and “lack of depth”.

    People have always been vain and self-absorbed. Technology has democratized a lot of things and made them more efficient. Why would a natural human behavior such as self-absorption be untouched by these efficiencies.

    In terms of lack of conversational depth. At times I find myself in deeper conversation when I do connect with my friends due to something shared online that served as the initial spark.

    If there is any one thing that technology has done for the worse, which we still have to manage is [i]distraction[/i]. We still suck at managing distractions and it will probably get a lot worse before (if ever) it gets better.

    #448362

    Talcott
    Member

    I do think that this is, generally speaking, the best time to be alive. There are individual elements of the past that might be better (the economy of the late 1990s, the poetry of the 1930s), and certainly this time is better for some people than it is for others, but on the whole I think that the world now is better than any previous point in history.

    I do think that technology is a big part of that, and it’s not just the gadgets. In a couple of decades of popular usage, the internet has had the kind of impact that can only really be matched by the rise of trains and the industrial revolution. It has not only altered the ways that we communicate (and, yes, I would argue for the better), but it is also leading to substantial, political changes on a global scale. Yes, these things could happen without the internet, but what might have taken months or years, now only takes days.

    But even then, the internet is just one piece of the puzzle. Medicine has made big leaps just since I was a kid. Hell, there’s a common vaccine for chicken pox. That was a standard part of growing up just a decade or so back. That’s not to mention advances with HIV/AIDS, cancer, the fact that we might soon have artificial hearts that don’t even pump, and so on.

    Of course that doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. There are plenty of things that I would change about this time, including political and other factors that keep these advances out of the hands of people who need them, but I don’t see those things as being any better in the past. I do generally think that the future is going to be better than the past, and don’t see that changing any time soon. That doesn’t mean that every moment is going to be happy and sunny (the Aughts sure felt less sunny than the ’90s, but I still think it was a better time in many ways), but I still see things progressing going forward.

    On a related note, I still don’t buy the argument that kids are more self-absorbed today than they were in the past. The difference is that we see their self-absorbtion. Teenagers have been self-absorbed at least since the 1950s, when the modern idea of teenagerdom developed, and will always be self-absorbed. That’s part of being a teenager. I guarantee you that today’s 15 year-old is going to have the same complaints about the kids in 2026 as people made about them, which are the same complaints made about teens in 1994, 1979, 1964, and 1949. I promise you, you won’t find a modern time when teens are considered modest and responsible by all of their elders. You probably never will.

    Now, that all said, if someone handed me a one-way ticket to the early Cretaceous, I’d have a hard time turning them down.

    #448363

    sirlancelot
    Participant

    For the haves, yes, this is the best time to be alive. For the poor, maybe less so. I’m not optimistic about what the grandkids will inherit. Time is short people so enjoy it while you got it. The Golden Age is ending.

    #448364

    berdawn
    Member

    Talcott wrote >>

    Now, that all said, if someone handed me a one-way ticket to the early Cretaceous, I’d have a hard time turning them down.

    or you could just watch “Primeval”

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