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Are people worse today than in the past?

  1. Apr 30, 2008 #1
    I don't know anything about history and all I do know I learned from romanticized Hollywood movies, and I have only been alive for 21 years, but based on the fact that something unpleasant happened to me today, I can say for certain that people are worse today than in the past.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2008 #2


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    Me too - at least today people are in colour, in the past they were all grey and grainy.
  4. Apr 30, 2008 #3
    I'd have to say, I think they really might be. They seem to be way more rude, in my experience, though I'm even younger than you, so I don't know a lot. When I was younger, I remember you could walk around and be safe, and everyone be so friendly to you too, that's not always the case anymore. I think alot of the older people are more mean, too, well in my experience anyhow.
  5. Apr 30, 2008 #4
    Depends where you are... I don't know what the general trend would be though. I was at the Coachella art and music festival and I can honestly say that pink floyd fans are the nicest people I've ever met. The entire crowd for Roger Waters shared everything they had with complete strangers. Everyone at the music festival was really nice.
  6. Apr 30, 2008 #5


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    Oh, just read about the middle ages to find out how bad things can be. Even worse as you go back in time.

    If you are comparing childhood memories of everyone "being nice" to a child and being around people when you are older, that's really not a comparison to "the past".
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2008
  7. Apr 30, 2008 #6
    It's probably a lot better now. Having perspective with a good knowledge of history helps. The other part is the availibility of 'news' more quickly from more and more distant places.

    It can get better and will, I believe. Things like Darfur, Burma, etc. will hopefully be happening less in a hundred years or less due to the globalization of everything and the need to stabilize peace and economics.
  8. Apr 30, 2008 #7

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    Much, much worse as one goes back in time. The Ice Man was the victim of murder. Infanticide and murder vied for being the leading cause of death in most neolithic cultures.
  9. Apr 30, 2008 #8
    Oh, wow, I didn't know this stuff. Then again, I never paid attention is History, it was my worst subject, and I'm glad that as an engineer, you don't have to take a history course :)
  10. Apr 30, 2008 #9
    If you consider such issues as racism, sexism, and anti-gay attitudes you'll find that these areas have improved greatly only within the last century. The number of people killed due to race or sexual orientation I would guess is probably much lower currently than even fifty years ago. And the number of women raped and or beaten as a matter of course is probably greatly reduced aswell in most first world countries. Admittedly these are guesses based on historical attitudes but I doubt any statistics I could find would show me wrong.
  11. Apr 30, 2008 #10
    I don't understand why this flew over everybody's head like this. I'll try to make it clearer next time.

    I'm mocking threads that share this template. How many have we had that compare the present to the past, claiming the present is getting worse while having NO knowledge of the past? We get these fairly often and it reminds me of white middle-class teenagers (in the US) saying how bad they have it.
  12. Apr 30, 2008 #11
    Yeah, everyone has a little bit of blonde in them.Sometimes it shines though better on some than others, lol :biggrin:

    I think most of the teenagers now have it pretty good, they all seem to be pretty spoiled, with a few exceptions, of course. Plus they seem to over exaggerate on the smallest problems. I know some friends, where they ask for it one minute, it's sitting in front of them the next, when they don't get it now, is when they seem to whine and complain, way more than what is needed.

    I don't think it's too bad now, compared to what my grandparents had to go through to get to where they are now. I mean the depression sure wasn't a great time. Plus grandparents had to work for what they got, now, it's handed to kids like nothing, and parents wonder why kids have no work ethic now a days....hmmm
  13. Apr 30, 2008 #12
    Sorry, you reminded me of one of these (the name doesn't help ;-p).
  14. May 1, 2008 #13
    Probably depends on which statistics you choose to look at, and how you define your 'isms'.
    Those 'isms' overall, I would imaging count for a tiny fraction of the overall number of people
    killed, one way or another, so focusing on such areas would not tell you a great deal overall.

    Then there is something about how you appear to dismiss third (unfirst) world countries, best not to count them as 'they don't really matter'?

    Overall I think people are just as good or bad as they have always been. For many people
    those 'isms' are well down the priority list, whether or not they are worse than in the past.

    Take the number of people killed because of thier sexual orientation for example. I would imagine more people today die of AIDS because of their sexual orientation then
    were ever murdered in the past due to 'anti-gay attitudes'. I don't recall any major 'gay bashing' wars in the past, do you? Not too many racist or sexist wars either.

    All the groups you mention meet their deaths in a violent way due to a good old conventional wars over power and wealth, and even more die in the good old bulletless
    war of poverty.

    It's hard to define whether society is better or worse than in the past, but maybe the
    best yardstick to measure it with is the gap between the rich and the poor, which is
    probably wider today than it has ever been.

    Of course if you are on the right side of that gap it is in you own self interest to focus
    on 'other issues'.

    We are. afterall, only human.

    Oh, and as for women, well overall they do tend to live longer than men, so let's not forget them either, lets face it, they need all the help they can get.

    Some of this post was done in a satirical nature, I am sure you can spot which bits.

    Sorry if the post looks a bit of a mess, I am not familiar with the editor.
    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  15. May 1, 2008 #14


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    Yes, definitely. They're worse than they were even two years ago.

    People in Jeep Wranglers usually wave at each other as we pass on the road. Now you have a whole new Jeep crowd driving the new JK's and very few of them wave, especially the ones driving the four-doors. The few that do wave are usually talking on cell phones and don't even look at you when they wave. I think a lot of them think they're driving a small Hummer.

    I think I might buy a boat. I love that "Go Boating" commercial where the family waves at everyone they pass.
  16. May 1, 2008 #15


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    Satirical punctuation?
  17. May 1, 2008 #16

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    As a counterpoint, consider this progression of bumper stickers
    • Three years ago, on a minivan: "My child is an honor student at John Doe Elementary"
    • Two years ago, on a junker: "My child beat up your honor student"
    • Last year, on a chickmobile: "You just got beat by a girl"
    • Yesterday, on a Honda Element: "You just got beat by a toaster"

    Waving is not always a sign of friendliness. Whether it is depends a lot on the number of fingers involved in the wave.
  18. May 1, 2008 #17


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    :rofl::rofl: That almost makes me want to buy an Element.

    Conflicts in the express lane of life:
    Some guy got irate because the mother in front of him bought candybars at the checkout line for her kids which put her over the limit for number of items in the express lane.

    Him: "Do you know how to count?"
    Her: "Yeah, do you?!"

    Except his task was a lot less challenging. He only had to count to one.
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