Life Was Never Better

Another hundred years were ground up and churned, and what had happened was all muddied by the way folks wanted it to be — more rich and meaningful the farther back it was. In the books of some memories it was the best time that ever sloshed over the world — the old time, the gay time, sweet and simple, as though time were young and fearless. Old men who didn’t know whether they were going to stagger over the boundary of the century looked forward to it with distaste. For the world was changing, and sweetness was gone, and virtue too. Worry had crept on a corroding world and what was lost  — good manners, ease and beauty? Ladies were not ladies any more, and you couldn’t trust a gentleman’s word.

There was a time when people kept their fly buttons fastened. And man’s freedom was boiling off. And even childhood was no good any more — not the way it was. No worry then but how to find a good stone, not round exactly but flattened and water-shaped, to use in a sling pouch cut from a discarded shoe. Where did all the good stones go, and all simplicity?

A man’s mind vagued up a little, for how can you remember the feel of pleasure or pain or choking emotion? You can remember only that you had them. An elder man might truly recall through water the delicate doctor-testing of little girls, but such a man forgets, and wants to, the acid emotion eating at the spleen so that a boy had to put his face flat down in the young wild oats and drum his fists against the ground and sob “Christ! Christ!” Such a man might say, and did, “What’s that damned kid lying out there in the grass for? He’ll catch a cold.”

Oh, strawberries don’t taste as they used to and the thighs of women have lost their clutch!

John Steinbeck, East of Eden 1952.

I’m sitting here on Halloween carefully unwrapping my meticulously organized miniature candies; just like I did as a kid — waves of nostalgia wash over me. I think back to just a decade ago when everything seemed so much simpler. As if I am still there I can smell the distinct scent of Jack-O-Lanterns and stale gunpowder. I can picture the Star Wars Episode 1 pillowcase I used to cram full of candy, and I still remember the mischief me and my group of friends got up to.

It was the good old days, it may have only been 10 years, but our parents let us roam free with all the other kids in the neighborhood. Explosives and sugar: what more could a kid want? We blew up pumpkins and had bottle rocket fights with the losers from the other school. The fear, the newness, and the debauchery made me think nothing could top Halloween night as a kid. I’d sit in my dorm room half-assedly studying and think of how much easier everything was back in high school. I’d come home from 8 hours of manual labor and dream of the time when $20 could get me everything I desired.

Then one day it just hit me. The present is the best ones life will ever get.

What once was does not matter. The past may give us perspective, but the present gives us our reality. The quote above was written in 1952; despite being fiction, it has the same sentiments as many of us now: things were better in the past, women and men alike were more virtuous, and culture these days is utterly fucked up. These problems are consistent through time. Human nature doesn’t change, only its expression in a given environment does.

If you’re not working for your future freedom what are you working for? If you’re not lifting because you want to look good and be healthy what are you lifting for? If you’re not approaching women to enjoy them, what are you approaching women for? If you’re not manipulating our current system for your own ends what is your purpose?

Read Next: Building A Bridge To The 18th Century 

77 thoughts on “Life Was Never Better”

  1. The modern world leaves little room for nostalgia. Technology is continually growing more intricate and complex, leaving those yearning for simpler times in the dust.
    Some children never get to be children. Times of merrymaking and laughter are oft lost on households that demand the young one to work towards a tedious goal, instead of finding that goal for oneself.
    With so much competitiveness in today’s world, nostalgic ones are left in the dust for “progressives.” But what is progress? Why do we continually need to have it? What is so terrible with reflecting on past experiences?
    Simplicity no longer has the same meaning since the advent of the smartphone. Calling is replaced by texting, conversation replaced by acronyms and symbols. It’s a shame for the Luddite who would feel so out of place in the modern world.
    If we were to bring Rip Van Wrinkle into the modern world, would he be satisfied with progress? If he were not satisfied with industrialization, I doubt he’d love post-modernization. The smart phone, he would argue, possesses no moral or physical value, just intrudes more into daily activities.
    People believe that they’re progressing, yet never believe regression can exist. Societal regression is possible, even for societies that think themselves more posh than the rest of the world.
    Progress has its good, but also it’s bad. But it’s important to enlighten the masses that technology does not always help as much as it seems.

    1. I’m not sure what “progress” is, but since we’ve conceptualized our redemption as occurring some time in the future, time has been linear consciously and societally for us as oppose to circular (though there are still traces of circular time in our consciousness and society). Even so, it is interesting to look at things like the business cycle which suggests we are moving forward (the wave like motions) even as the same cycle could arguably be interpreted as being circular if we were to shift our understanding. As an aside, I just bought some stock in a new german company that went public, and its already gone up quite a bit (Voxeljet 3D printing technology); progress!! Lol.

      1. “I’m not sure what “progress” is, but since we’ve conceptualized our
        redemption as occurring some time in the future, time has been linear
        consciously and societally for us as oppose to circular”
        Interesting. I’ve often heard people say, “The Western Mind is Linear. The Eastern Mind is Circular”.
        Is that what you are talking about here? And what do you mean conceptualized our redemption occurring some time in the future?

        1. “Repression and repetition compulsion generate historical time”. Without repression – at the risk of oversimplifying it: an imbalance between tension and release – our perception of time wouldn’t be as it is today. Because guilt is the cause of repression, ultimately our perception of time is linked to the way we deal with guilt. There are three stages of pre-historical time that I’ve been made aware of. The first is a feeling of “eternity” – like man before the fall, or our earliest childhood memories. The second is related to getting rid of guilt through “gift giving”. We give gifts of guilt to each other as a means of undoing past sins, ultimately undoing our repression, and to control one another (our sadism). Time is split into moments, and these moments are our relation to others and our engagements. As guilt, and thus repression continues to compound, gift giving is no longer enough, and we begin to have periodic sacrifices. The third stage is represented by the sacrifice – cyclical time. A given period of time passes and guilt builds. A sacrifice is chosen, one who bears the weight of all our sins. That person (or later on animal) is killed and we are temporarily redeemed. The last stage, the beginning of historical time said to have occurred some 40,000 years ago with the transition to agriculture, is perhaps the final insult to the human psyche. The split in our mind bursts onto the physical plain with our recognition (better to say formulation) that there are two sexes, that we are not “one”, and that we are separate from nature (hence we build cities with walls). Guilt reaches a level that can never be undone, just as the two sexes can “never be reunited” and man can “never return to nature”. We, like Dr. Faustus, are irredeemable and cannot imagine “rest” or “eternity” except as occurring in death. We seek our death but our flight from death mandates a preference for life, so in the place of death, we seek “heaven” or the “rapture” or whatever; most modern religions…

        2. A thought just occurred to me. I’m not sure how true it is, but if you follow my argument through to what appears to be as of this moment, its “logical” conclusion as it pertains to feminism, feminist would be stuck in the transition between the “anal” stage of development and the “phallic” stage. Unable to accept “castration”, they the assert sameness with men even as the sameness that they assert is bound up, or rather dependent on their wish and willingness to castrate men. They can’t fathom any other way to reunite the sexes other than to castrate men. One body in Christ doesn’t equal sameness…

        3. Interesting AVivaldi! I go for 4 months a year without any technology at all and I tell the time of day from the position of the sun and the dates by the lunar cycles.
          Some weeks I don’t even pay attention to those. And it feels I am “eternal”. But I’m cut off from people too. Its awesome.

  2. It seems every generation looks back and says, “good ol’ days”. Unless they were a member of a group that suffered a lot in the good ol’ days, such as poor, over-working class, or those being lynched and strung up in trees.
    You may recall the case of Ms. Karen Klein, the grandmother who worked part time as a school bus monitor who got mercilessly bullied by the bratty kids she “monitored”. One television talking head, declared boldly, “this would have never happened back in the 1950’s!!!” Ha! Back in the 50’s old and infirm women were spat on and thrown off the bus if they didn’t sit in the back!!!
    So basically our eulogizing of a past era depends on whether or not we imagine ourselves as possibly belonging to a privileged group of that era.
    And if you understand the concept of karma and reincarnation, then you know you may or may not belong to such a group in one of your past lives.
    Personally I think we are living in a great time in the post-modern West because we can do whatever we want.
    -If want to live a conservative and traditional religious life, there are communities of people just like that out there that we can find and go live with.
    -If we want to live a conservative and traditional atheist life, there are communities of people just like that out there.
    -If we want to be monogamous, there are plenty of monogamous minded people out there, and if we want to be polyamorous, that’s a growing demographic too.
    -Practically most of the world’s religions and wisdom traditions are currently represented in the West so we are free to convert to any religion we please.
    We have a lot of choices and can practically do or become whatever we want!

    1. Also I think it will keep getting better. Anti-natalism is a growing movement. At some point MGTOW will converge with them. Keep in mind though that just because someone is an anti-natalist does not mean they are not sexually active. Along with Anti-Natalism and MGTOW, open relationships/plural marriage will also increase. Of course there will always be a probably not insignificant % of die-hard monogamists, but polyamory will also be mainstream within 50 years. So what we’ll have is an almost Utopian society of extremely safe sex havers who don’t have kids and who enjoy Big Love in the form of multiple-concurring relationships.
      Of course there will always be people who do want to have kids and who do have them. But the % of them in traditional, monogamous marriages will decrease as open marriage gains ground, and gaining ground it is.

      1. “So what we’ll have is an almost Utopian society of extremely safe sex havers who don’t have kids and who enjoy Big Love in the form of multiple-concurring relationships.”
        The more things change, the more they stay the same. You are idealizing situations that have already occurred in history.
        What this amounts to is the most alpha of men in a given community forcibly gathering all the hottest women for themselves and brutally stamping out anyone who would try to encroach. The utopia you speak of will be a hellish place for the majority of men confined to worker bee incel status.
        You only preach this because of ignorant naivete. Do you have hot women with you? I’ll smack your bitch ass opiate addled head and take those sluts for myself bruh. Dont like it? Well your high ass aint gonna do shit to stop me. Might just curb stomp you too for shits n giggles.
        Welcome to the future douche bag.

        1. Captian Obvious, why all the angst? I clearly stated above that low class and crass American slang and culture in general is not my thing “brah” and just one of the many reasons I travel out of this country when I can, so I’m neither impressed nor intimated by such online shows of aggression.
          ” You are idealizing situations that have already occurred in history. The utopia you speak of will be a hellish place for the majority of men confined to worker bee incel status”
          I’m not idealizing anything, nor did I say those particular scenarios would be Utopia for me personally.
          “You only preach this because of ignorant naivete.”
          I’m not “preaching” open relationships. I just stated they are becoming more common, which they are. I personally think a large % of the human population is “wired” for just one partner at a time.
          However, I know some poly couples and the scenario you paint, that of tough-guy alphas talking all the women and the rest confined to worker bee “incel” (?) status is not correct.
          Many of the poly couples I know are long married monogamists who at some point in their marriage decide to open it up, after a lot of deliberation and inner work. They are not swingers. There is a difference between swinger couples and open marriages. Swinging is about the sex, open marriage is not.
          I also know younger, non-married people who do a lot of inner work, take a lot of relationship workshops, who are very open to the idea of creating multiple concurring relationships within the dynamic of a central “primary” love relationship.
          Its more about not blocking love from flowing than about going out and trying to get laid from all sundry.
          In fact, you might be surprised that many of the men in open marriages or plural relationships are quite “beta”.
          These people are more evolved than your average Neanderthal and they are quite quick to toss out anyone who comes swashbuckling in to usurp, make waves or pump and dump.
          They often say, “first get the monogamy part of your relationship in order before you open the bond to a third or fourth party”.
          Its about family. Not fucking.

        2. She has previously identified herself as a female. So please do thank her for her graciousness and eloquence not to mention refined articulation is so clearly pointing out to us HOW FUCKED WE GUYS ARE.

    2. I have to agree with your first paragraph. I might also add that the same thing applies in the present, and that those that prepare in the present will be better suited to hold the future (and therefore like the system, while the downtrodden of the future hate it).
      Most people tend to like things that benefit them and hate things that could do the slightest damage to their position (assuming that it’s a positive position). It seems that people in a negative position are willing to accept ANY change, even if that change is for the worse (as history has shown).
      Hypocrisy is rife, and fairness, honor, and even loyalty can go right out the window when there is profit or maintenance of profit to be had (or imagined).

      1. “Hypocrisy is rife, and fairness, honor, and even loyalty can go right
        out the window when there is profit or maintenance of profit to be had
        (or imagined).”
        This is why I like Captain Capitalism’s idea of leaving corporate jobs before being pushed out of them. It sends a message of “I can live simply with some basic needs met and be happier than if I was spending the majority of my time in a cubicle to pay for a condo and car I don’t need in order to impress people I don’t even know. I don’t need your American Dream/Nightmare.”
        Wasn’t there a 60’s saying, “turn on, tune in and drop out” or something like that? Now’s our chance to really do that!

    3. Brave new World here we come, Soma and culling of the herd included…sometimes I think fellow men really deserve their oncoming slavery and culling courtesy of the elites that rule this world.

      1. I think the future will be better and freer than the present, JM. Like Capt Capitalism wrote – losing your current cubicle job frees you up to live more simply and do fun things at low or no cost. I see more and more people going “earthy crunchy”. Our society may not be as high tech as we want it to be now, but I think people will be happier the more they get away from the fake shine-eye of the “American Dream”

        1. I suppose running from tyranny puts one in a sense of freedom; by the extreme definition of freedom where ‘freedom’ is just the standard expression for nothing left to lose.
          But with all the technology we have going simply means the elite have more effective tools to control everyone else. So for all of our benefits we see from the continuing tech evolution, the drawbacks will be greater.

        2. What can they do to us if we just refuse to participate in their system? No jobs means no taxes. No voting means no one gets elected. What can they do? Force us to work and vote?

        3. Here’s your pick, there’s the salt. Community Cohesion Committee meeting on Tuesday. Be there, or else.

        4. No jobs means no money and that means you are homeless and either starve to death or have to go eat at some Salvation Army soup kitchen, assuming there is one around where you live. You’ve become so used to the government handing out money that you really don’t know what hardship is. Go to some poorer country where there are either no benefits or very meagre benefits and see how a lot of people live.

        5. Doesn’t Obama have a cousin or something in Kenya who lives in a shack on a couple of dollars a month?

        6. Sorry, but you don’t appear to be on the security clearance list for that information.
          See you there.

        7. I guess its easy to have a nice “positive outlook” on the future. When you are a FUCKING WOMAN.

    4. Gotta nitpick with this:

      Back in the 50’s old and infirm women were spat on and thrown off the bus if they didn’t sit in the back!!!

      I’m not familiar with this. In what American city / community were older women required to sit in the back of the bus, based on their age and sex?

      1. Sorry, I keep forgetting this site attracts readers from all over the world. Here in the USA we used to have a thing called “segregation”. Google “Jim Crow Laws”. Yep, this was all State sanctioned too!

        1. You ignored his point. That’s OK, his point ignored yours, so I guess all is fair and nobody suffers, except the narrative.

        2. That didn’t happen in most States and besides it only happened to a small % of people. If you were a member of that small group then it mattered but otherwise not.You also have to remember that people were accustomed to the things in their time and probably didn’t think much about it.

        3. Oh for fuck’s sake. Segregation? You leftwing nuts are something else altogether.
          Racism involving whites and blacks (it goes both ways) would have vanished 50 yrs ago if guilt ridden white libs would just shut the fuck up.

        4. In a way arent white males now relagated to “sitting in the back of the bus” in todays femcentric society? After all, looks like the females are evn taking over this “male” website with their “valuable” opinions and insights.

  3. Now I think I’m going down to the well tonight
    and I’m going to drink till I get my fill
    And I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it
    but I probably will
    Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
    a little of the glory of, well time slips away
    and leaves you with nothing mister but
    boring stories of glory days

  4. I thought about the absurd premise of the 1950’s film Rebel Without a Cause. Seriously, what do the white middle class teens in 1950’s L.A. have to complain about, except for smog and the occasional earthquake? They live in a booming peacetime economy, their parents have good jobs, they’ve grown up well nourished and attractively clothed, and the boy can afford his own car. On top of that, they have access to the cultural resources of the world, as shown in the planetarium scene. (Tulsa didn’t have a planetarium when I grew up there in the 1960’s and 1970’s.) Anne Frank a dozen years earlier would have thought they lived in heaven.

    1. “I thought about the absurd premise of the 1950’s film Rebel Without a Cause.”
      I agree. What’s even more hilarious is that comfortable mainstream middle class people who can afford to have a disease they call “gluten intolerance” and even millionaire celebrities toss around this term “revolution” as if they have something to revolutionize against. And oh yeah, their concept of “revolution” is paying $4,000 for an Anthony Robbins seminar or “tantric sex” workshop.
      But it just goes to show you having comfort and wealth does not provide inner peace and happiness. There is still an empty void within. Meditation helps.

      1. “But it just goes to show you having comfort and wealth does not provide inner peace and happiness. There is still an empty void within.”
        Filled by consumerism and feminism.

        1. The mainstream is consumerist minded, but there are alternative sub-cultures out there of people who have dropped out and are doing stuff like growing their own food, meditating, entertaining themselves with drum circles and story telling, etc. Avoiding both the Marriage Industrial Complex as well as the Divorce Industrial Complex by opting for relationships on their own terms, mono or poly, in which all participants agree to and draw up their own relationship affirmations, not vows or rules imposed on them by government, society or religion.
          I’m not as pessimistic as some about the future because from where I stand, these sub-cultures are growing.
          You don’t have to be a square peg in round hole. Whatever your values you are I can almost guarantee you can find a group of like-minded individuals in the US who share the same. Connect with them and build community!

        2. There were always people like this, you’re just too young to know it.Look at some of the “hippie like” movements in the 1800’s.They all die out because they are not practical.
          And btw, it was Dr Leary who said “turn on. tune in blah blah blah.. He was a Harvard professor who was experimenting with LSD (it was legal at the time) and trying to expand consciousness and intelligence.I met him once and he seemed like a normal conventional person

    2. That’s why the film was called Rebel WITHOUT a Cause. It was just one of those teenage angst films

  5. Have you ever thought about the seemingly miraculous fact that you can go into any American supermarket open on Thanksgiving morning, find it still stuffed with food, and you can buy everything you need for the traditional feast, including fresh flowers and wine? We really should appreciate how good we have it. Ayn Rand pointed out that Thanksgiving and Christmas, at least in its American version, celebrate man’s ability to produce, innovate and trade, and to enjoy the successes of our system of production. Hear, hear!

    1. “Have you ever thought about the seemingly miraculous fact that you can
      go into any American supermarket open on Thanksgiving morning, find it
      still stuffed with food, and you can buy everything you need for the
      traditional feast, including fresh flowers and wine? We really should
      appreciate how good we have it.”
      Its not “miraculous”. But I do agree with you that we should be grateful for what we have. Part of the angst and discontent that is “in the blood” of Americans and their (our, hey I’m one) culture is due to ungratefulness or a lack of appreciation. That also leads to our cultural sense of entitlement, which as many commeters and posts point out here – is deeply unattractive.
      However, we have reached a point (long ago in fact) of OVER production and OVER consumption. Still the consumption has not yet outpaced the production. Have you gone into the back of a grocery store and saw all the good quality, even packaged goods that they throw away just because it reached the arbitrary “sell by” date?
      So we have become a nation of both gluttony and waste, while at the same time being ungrateful, entitled slobs!
      Somethings gotta give.

    2. To be honest, after reading “the Way of Men,” I’ve started realizing that not everyone is happy in a land of plenty. I agree that it is foolish of us to yearn for societal collapse and the misery it entails so that we can merely throw away the trappings of the current culture through force, but the desire is there.

      1. But why do you have to wait until then to throw away the trappings “by force”. Why not voluntarily throw them away? What’s stopping people from during their back and front lawns into farms. “Grow Food, Not Grass”? I mean there is a significant number of people who are rejecting mainstream materialistic life and doing their own thing. What’s stopping you?
        It appears many of the comments on this site are from people who swallowed the kool-aid about mainstream Western civilization hook, line and sinker, and are now miserable about it and blaming others or blaming “society”.
        All the while there have been people who never swallowed the kool-aid at all, or who having once swallowed, now vomited it up and rejected it.
        So again, what’s stopping you?

        1. You are one chatty bitch. Isn’t there some sort of women’s issues site you can vent your dumbass opinions on?

  6. I disagree with this common tactic of saying that, because a certain time likely was not AS good as nostalgia suggests, that nothing ever gets worse.
    This is bullshit.
    Sometimes, it’s things really ARE getting worse. Sometimes, the end really IS nigh. Sometimes, the inescapable vortex of entropy (including decadence, deviancy, sloth) really has taken hold.
    Just because life is always better when you’re 16 doesn’t mean that the world never changes for the worse.

    1. “I disagree with this common tactic of saying that, because a certain
      time likely was not AS good as nostalgia suggests, that nothing ever
      gets worse.”
      As someone with a fascination for ancient cultures, I agree. But its not that ALL things were better back then and worse now, nor that ALL things were worse back then and better now, rather that SOME things were better back then and some things were worse.
      Just like right now there are some things that are better in the USA than in Bali, while there are some things that are better in Bali than the USA. Every culture and every era has its pros and cons.
      What I like about the current era is that the average person as more access than ever to knowledge about the past and knowledge about other cultures an traditions than just their own. So we can pick and choose.

      1. Really curious as to what exactly you would consider better/superior in Bali than in the USA?

        1. use your imagination captain obvious………. great weather, great food, cheap living, beautiful tropical geography, easy going attitudes, great surf…… it’s obvious….

        2. 1.The beauty of the natural environment.
          2.The sweetness, warmth, generosity and well, just plain non-snarky happiness of the people.
          3.The innocence and genuine gratitude, as well as eagerness to learn, and general non-zombieness of the children.
          4.The cognitive practices, such as meditation, of the indigenous wisdom traditions.
          5.The food.
          6.The aesthetic traditions including drama, dance and music.
          7. The crafts and craftmanship.
          8. The romance and mystery that is still there in relationships between men and women.
          Of course there are some very good things about the USA too. But generally I agree with most of the commenters here about the bad attitudes, vapid materialism and cultural vacuum that is mainstream America.
          Where I differ is that I see a more positive future coming.
          That is because I avoid the mainstream as much as I can and associate mainly with positive sub-cultures. It seems from my vantage point that more and more people are dropping out of mainstream materialism and creating positive alternative lifestyles. I think that will increase, so I am an optimist.

        3. I’d point out that all of the things on your list are easily achievable in the US as well.
          I know plenty of people who eat amazing food, have non-snarky kids, and have good relationships. They simply choose to do so.
          If that’s what you want, just choose to do it. It actually isn’t that hard.

        4. I agree asdf. And I do make positive choices and surround myself with positive sub-cultures in the US. That’s why I’m an optimist about the future of America, not a doom-n-gloom naysayer. But as a culturephile and world traveler, I just named some of things I appreciate about Balinese culture, because, well I was asked, so I, you know, answered.
          Culturally, as far as art, music, dance, philosophy, poetry, etc, I more attracted to Eastern aesthetics in general.

        5. Actually. It isnt easy to have a good relationship. At least not here in the USA. Have you not been reading anything here on this website douche?

      2. I agree that the free access to all the information you could ever want or need is THE best thing about the current times. That is what the red pill and the manosphere is all about. But, this amazing access to information never before available has given lie to the idea that “people just need to know the truth and everything will change for the better.” Christians believe everyone just needs to hear the gospel and we’ll achieve heaven on earth, End the FEDers believe that if everyone understood the nature of our monetary system, we would be emancipated from debt slavery, return to free markets and thrive. Manospherians believe if men understood the truth about the nature of women, our civilization will strengthen instead of fall into the abyss. You get the idea.
        The truth is this: most people really don’t care. Most people want to be plugged into the Matrix in ignorant bliss. As Loki said to the terrified crowd on bended knee: “This is your natural state. You were made to be ruled.” And what, only a few people stood up, and they would’ve been mowed down by Loki’s glow stick if Captain America hadn’t jumped in.
        Most people don’t care. So the wonderful access to info can only lead to a Nihilistic truth, which makes the good old days of ignorant bliss that much more appealing.

        1. Right, but most people never cared, even before the information overload of the internet. Evolutionary nature is to survive and replicate, so most people will be concerned with only, or primarily that, anywhere, at all time. That’s why men and women, whether MGTOW or Anti-Natalists, will never completely go their own way. Most people will pair bond and form families of one type or another (even if its Big Love poly style) and once those kids come, you are home-bound and concerned only or primarily with their well-being. That in turn requires most people to engage with the mainstream matrix because they need money and stability to feed and raise their DNA replications. This is the scene all over the world.
          But why should that matter to you? You carve out the life you want to live, where and how you want to live it.
          If someone truly wants to disengage from the matrix wholescale, then its better not to replicate your DNA. Once you have a tiny little you running around, you MUST engage with mainstream to some, if not a large extent.

  7. Past is prologue. Have an appreciation for the present, look forward to tomorrow, but have an awareness of what has already transpired for it will often decide what is to come. It may also inform us that yes, it was actually better back then.
    I enjoy watching the consternation of the talking heads, pundits, etc., as they struggle with why the Middle East is what it is, why Russia does what it does, etc. Look at 18th century trends in Russia and you can often predict what is going to happen today. If you can understand the 7th century schism of Shia and Sunni Islam, and the post-WWI division of the MIddle East into modern national states, you will not be perplexed by events in the 21st century.
    I tend towards the injunction “There is nothing new under the sun,” and while that can be qualified i.e. Mac Books certainly never existed nor could have been conceptualized prior to the 1960’s, the advent of the micro processor and CAD have done little to effect, fundamentally, human behavior. Human actions, yes but our hard-wired behavior? No. I don’t think so. As such there is tremendous repetition built into the human experience and repetition is a killer.
    Human emotions, events, motivations, for me at least, are always the same, boringly so, across the centuries. I would bet that being a vampire would grow incredibly monotonous by your second century of existence. Everything would be the same. Over and over again. I disagree with the premise of this article, though I enjoyed reading it, as I think there are times that are better than others, as there will be times ahead that are better than now.
    To have been a returning soldier arriving home to the US following VE or VJ day… that would’ve been something. For residents of southern California the 1950’s and 60’s were about as ideal a time as can be humanly had. An economy skyrocketing through the stratosphere, fresh suburban developments interspersed with orange groves and open spaces. A commuting time of <30 minutes to get anywhere in the LA basin, free of smog and sig alerts, in enormous, art deco-inspired automobiles with gas at 15 cents a gallon and 75 degree temps year round with snow on the mountains, framed by palm trees on the basin floor. Life was good. Arguably much better than it is right now. And holding an awareness of the past is what allows us to make these judgements.
    For the Baby Boomer and Gen X offspring of the “Greatest Generation”, southern CA is just another place. Worse, it’s a “Burned out paradise,” to quote Axl Rose. Meet LA refugees in southern Oregon, Colorado & elsewhere and you will quickly realize that “Back in the day LA” i.e. 1957 Pacific Palisades, was about as close to Paradise as temporal humans can get.
    For me it was being a teenager when “Smells LIke Teen Spirit” came out, the preceding and ensuing years were, until about 1994, a great time to be involved in alt. rock music. Rock itself, as a popular media for kids for over 40 years, is more or less dead today. But as a student of history, I know that to have been a teenager in the late 60’s during that huge explosion would have been superior experience as well. Also the late 50’s. I pity the kids today. I love house and electronica but the scene today is in no way having the societal impact that alt. rock in 80’s or hippie music in the 60’s had on their societies. The end result being I think you can qualify that it was better back then, in regards to the music scene, then it is today. A contemporary 18 year old might argue with me but I’ve got the hindsight he doesn’t. He’s got the youth, and I don’t. Maybe it’s all subjective. I know that if I had to choose to be an 18 year old now, or in 1990, I would go back in two seconds. If the option included 1990 or 1967, I would choose ’67 in a heartbeat. Based on my understanding and the things I care about, 1967 was the shit and I would have loved to have had the opportunity to live back then because for me, on many levels… it was better back then.
    So I think there’s multiple great times to be alive and there are multiple times to avoid, as another contributor wrote re Anne Frank’s situation.
    Based on my analysis and beliefs, I’m not too stoked about the present, nor where we are going. I hope there’s good times ahead but the older I get, the more I see everything repeating, the more I suspect I’m just going to wind up tuning out and having a garden. I’ll probably feel better when my sentience turns into senility.

    1. “Have an appreciation for the present, look forward to tomorrow, but have
      an awareness of what has already transpired for it will often decide
      what is to come.”
      Agreed! Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past but if something has proven beneficial over history, keep it.

      1. Must be horrible to be a male teenager in the era of Facebook and smartphones. I avoided it by 15 years, lucky me. The problem, it is as bad being a thirty-something in the era of Facebook and smartphones.

        1. You don’t have to open a facebook account, nor buy a smartphone. I’ve done neither. What about you?

        2. For the adult, not having either can be potential peace of mind, depending on their needs and desires. In the case of the teenager, not keeping up with the Joneses may cause them to lose HS popularity points.

        3. I’m an adult and haven’t thought about my teen years since I left them. I’ve noticed a harkening back to high school and college memories ’round these parts. Even from men in their 40s and higher! Wassupwidat?

  8. Good article. I think the main problem with people in the West is that we all let other people tell us what we should want out of life. The second you give up control over your own desires, you lose your freedom.

    1. If I didnt know better Id say you just described what the Internet does. Subjects you to the drivel of females. Wherever you may go…Talk about loss of freedom.

  9. People always whitewash the past.
    In fact, this is the best time ever. To be a kid in today’s world is incredibly great.
    Up until the 1990s huge swathes of the human population — India and China specifically–were lingering in a horror of oppression and starvation. In the past decade those 2 billion people have gotten much better lives, largely due to the Internet.

    1. Funny you should mention that. Indians and Chinese and Americans and many more are meeting on the internet and ending up getting married! The cross-cultural relationship and marriage forums are a hoot to visit! As culturephile myself I’m all for it. But there are some issues that need to get ironed out in any cross-cultural relationship. Been there, done that, ate the injera.

    2. All the Chinese people I know don’t have better lives because of the internet. Where’d that idea even come from?
      They have better lives because they have jobs, because their country finally admitted that Marxism was a load of crap that didn’t work and can never work. Sad that Marxism is still taught in top American universities.

  10. In a time of decline, the “past was better” sentiment will always be true. In time of rising, people are too busy looking around impressed at progress. But we’re in a time of decline, for 100-200 years in many important respects, and this nostalgia has been true the whole time.

    1. What? Technical advances aren’t “progress”, Roach? We’re not looking around impressed by websites and smartphones? Sexbots and 3D holographic tactile aren’t eagerly awaited to replace real live genitals?
      How can you say we are in “decline”?

      1. For the most parts sexbots and smartphones are not a hallmark of progress, or anything similar.

        1. No, I get what he’s saying. It’s not so much about the tech but the fugue a country goes through when it is no longer ascending. As amazing as each new advance in medicine is to me, the crushing feeling that we’re less strong each day dampens everything.

  11. Some things were better back in the day. The “Dusk in Autumn” blog has a theory that this has to do with the Zeitgeist that happens during falling-crime eras. People are shook and cocoon themselves inside all day, even though nothing is actually happening. Rising crime eras are a lot more fun, because people actually go outside and do things.

    1. Wow Chilangringo, I just clicked on your link and read
      ” When Jeannette Murphy first stepped onto the grounds of the
      Washington Corrections Center for Women 30 years ago, she recalls
      encountering tennis courts and what she terms the “patty-cake” treatment
      of inmates by prison staff.
      Murphy, imprisoned for killing her parents in Thurston County, said
      inmates were treated more like troubled girls than convicts, even
      those like her who were doing lengthy stretches for murder.
      But soon after, the treatment of female inmates drastically changed
      as prisons grew and administrators sought uniformity in inmates’
      treatment regardless of gender.
      The women found themselves treated exactly like their male
      counterparts, from the clothes they wore to the way corrections
      officers dealt with them.
      Now, with the growth of female inmates outpacing that of males and no
      space to house them, the state Department of Corrections (DOC) is
      shifting to more gender-specific treatment of incarcerated women. The
      changes range from simple — access to a fruity-smelling shampoo and
      better-fitting clothing, and special bras for inmates who’ve had
      mastectomies — to more substantive, such as greater focus on substance
      abuse and mental-health counseling.
      The change reflects a recognition that gender dictates different treatment of inmates.”
      — This doesn’t seem fair at all to discriminate amongst inmates based on gender. I’m sure it will be no time before male inmates start demanding a fair shake and equal treatment as well.

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