Is the world getting worse? 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 11:35 PM - Philosophy
Posted by Seven

Is the world getting worse? Are things going to hell in a handbasket? Here's what Socrates thought in 400B.C.

"The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and are tyrants over their teachers."

"The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone knew everything and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for girls, they are forward, immodest and unwomanly in speech, behaviour and dress."

As you can see, people are how they've always been. We haven't changed one bit. There are those of us that accept this... and then there are the alarmists who are so afraid of the world around them that they want to shelter themselves from it and create an artificial world view that has never and can never be realized.

I'd be willing to bet the average person in ancient Egypt, Sumeria, Napoleonic France, the American Old West, and Chin Dynasty China would all recognize the same humor, tell the same jokes we still tell today, have the same day to day problems in their marriages, and hope for the same things in life. Even the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome can still be felt today at an American football match and bullfights haven't changed since there were real Romans sitting in those bleachers. As much as people want to paint the past as somehow better than the present, it just isn't true. People are people. They always have been.

With a constantly rising population, and news channels still stuck in a 24 hour time cycle, more and more only the bad news is reported because there's more of it. The ratio is always the same though. If there is one person murdered per 10,000 people, there are 100,000 per billion. And it all needs to be reported, sadly. No, the world isn't getting any worse, it's just becoming more populated and our methods of keeping ourselves informed are creating an illusion that everything is spiraling out of control. In actuality, your chances of dying by another man's hand today are exponentially less than just 100 years ago. Yes, in the mythical 50s people generally didn't lock their doors and trusted their neighbor. But when all you hear about is crime and murder, it does seem like today is worse than yesterday, doesn't it? ...even though yesterday was exactly the same as today.

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