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  1. #1
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    Default The gloom and doom over the degridation of society

    Does anyone else find it ironic that many people believe that society in general is going down hill, yet if you were to ask those same people if they themselves have helped or hurt society, they will almost always say helped. If all these people have helped society, then why would it be going down hill?

    I do not believe that society is degrading. I believe that people today are more rational, more educated, more humane, more friendly, and more thoughtful than people in the past. It seems to me that those who do not believe so just choose to look in the past to a few role models while willfully forgetting the rest of the population. If you look at the entirety of humanity in the past, it do not look so glamourous; it makes people today look much better.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    ... Tyrinth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
    Does anyone else find it ironic that many people believe that society in general is going down hill, yet if you were to ask those same people if they themselves have helped or hurt society, they will almost always say helped. If all these people have helped society, then why would it be going down hill?
    If you believe that your efforts are just a drop in the ocean, it is easy to see why they would believe that.

    I believe that certain parts of society are going down hill, not all of it, though.

    The problem is determining whether we are advancing as a whole, or the losses outweigh the gains...

    It's largely a matter of perspective.
    ...

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    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Well two thoughts come to mind. 1. Everybody could be doing "the right thing" and things can still be bad because of calamitous events or just the pain and stress of everyday life. Just because you give an ice cream cone to a homeless man doesn't mean he isn't going to be hungry the next day. 2 As we have evolved to become more complex we have gained new awareness which makes us aware of large scale dangers some of which we have created (like the acidification of the ocean) or that just seem to be inherent to life in the universe as we know it (entropy, being hit by an asteroid and having our species go extinct, etc). In order to try and face these challenges we have needed greater and greater levels of organization because these problems are too large for any individual to solve alone. But, the solutions to the problems we encounter often create problems of their own such as underclasses of people that live worse lives than even if we never left the jungle treetops (such as child soldiers who are armed in wars for diamonds). And now, we are at an interesting point in history where the level of control we are able to exert over individuals in increasing rapidly, and with that comes the threat of "becoming a bug" as Kafka foresaw but in an even more gruesome way (like controlling a person's motor function through cortical stimulation). So no, I don't think it is as simple as "things are fated to become better." They have generally in the past and I hope they continue to do so, but the truth is that as our potential to manipulate reality increases our potential to do so in a destructive fashion does as well.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  4. #4
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    I'm glad you recognize this.


    It is supremely annoying indeed.

  5. #5
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Let's look at just one indicator - institutional slavery.

    Institutional slavery was abolished for the first time in history in 1833.

  6. #6
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    Ignore em. I was close to ignoring you but wanted to ask Victor how his silver years are unfolding. Familiar with Jefferson, Victor?

    thinking of you

  7. #7
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    I have read Socrates had a similar complaint about his society.

    How exactly does one define "downhill" when referring to a society?

  8. #8
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    This is just a result of being stupid. Humanity, whether civilized or in prehistoric times, has always lived with a sense of strife and change. It only takes a small amount of information to get acquainted with this narrative, so I think if someone somehow managed to avoid learning it, then they must be stupid. They also carry a worldview that only seems to account for a century (at the most) of history. Things that are "old" or a "long time ago" are no older than their grandparents or great grandparents. This is also indicative of stupidity. Their perspective of what the definition of society even is, and where it's high or low points are, are insignificant in the totality of human history. No point in getting worked up about it. In the same you shouldn't stress over people on the Jerry Springer show, or kids who can't type in anything except cellphone txtspeak.

  9. #9
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Ive noticed a lot of people also stretch the immediacy of their position into an example of the whole.

    This is quite interesting to see and it opens up an entire cavalcade of questions concerning how an individual perceives the world based on their current state of being.

    It is obvious then that an individual happy and contented in their current life is more likely to overestimate the state of the world around them just as one who is currently inhabiting a difficult and strenuous existence is likely to understate it. Of course this is nothing new, in fact it is the most basic example of pessimism and optimism that I am outlining.

    But the point is to highlight the importance of the middle ground. To try and be as fair and balanced as one can when considering the evidence displayed for you. It is impossible to be completely neutral or balanced of course and I wouldn't be so arrogant or naive as to pretend otherwise.

    For me it is an somewhat complex and hard to describe idea that I use to concern the world and it's benefits/ills. There is always a counterbalance stemming from inside humanities minds which battles with itself endlessly.

    In some areas this war is tipped more one way or the other and this comes from any number of factors, economical, social, physical, metaphysical and even spiritual...etc...

    Although not all of these factors need be in balance for the well-being of a particular community. There are people who live on the fringes of commonly accepted boundaries of society and even those without, who live full and prosperous lives, regardless of affluence or status.

    But then of course there are those in the most destitute of positions, often even with the creature comforts many of us take for granted. And then there are many others without anything. But most problems stem somewhat from within and without and it can be hard to distinguish the two.

    This is such a cliche and simple concept of course, but so very hard to communicate into an understandable manner. Essentially, it is how we approach the obstacles in our lives that defines the situations we find ourselves in. Not to mention a willful consideration towards others, rather than a blind eye.

    Either a matter of physical needs, such as basic needs, food, water, clothes, a home to call ones own, somewhat protected from disease and oppressive regimes. Or it is a need of self examination, to look at what you are doing yourself as an individual and to judge yourself as you would judge others.

    Easy for me to preach this though, after all, what have I done lately?

    In any case a human world would never be a perfect one. We need to tip the balance in favour of changing the cruelties we can change and accepting the imperfections we cannot.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

  10. #10
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    Some things are better, some are worse, for definite. Overall, as a woman, I'd personally much rather be alive now in America than pretty much any other time/place.

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