Was the Past Actually Simpler?

Jack Brodrick

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Many reminisce about the simpler times of the 20th century, viewing it with a sense of nostalgia. However, they are quick to forget the troublesome times which engulfed the 20th century, from world wars, to mass genocide, and political corruption.

The 20th century was far from the best that history and the future has to offer, yet it is often viewed as simpler and sometimes even superior to the present. A major contrasting element between the past and the present is the increasing presence technology has in people’s daily lives.

Some view technology as complex and over intrusive which is why many reminisce for perceived simplicity of the past.A seemingly paradoxically viewpoint, being that technology main purpose is to solve problems.

For example the internet, which is only 36 years only, allows almost universal access to information and communication. Before the advent of the internet information and communication was tedious and inaccessible for a large proportion of the world’s population.

People often blame the internet for promoting laziness, especially amongst younger generations. With just an internet source and a device to access it, the world is as small as 1 second search. Technologies like the internet also allowed the world to truly globalized, creating a modern technological Columbian Exchange.

Like stated previously, the idea that the lack of technology in the past made it simpler, is just plain paradoxical. For example automatize technology makes the daily lives of everyone it touches more simpler.

How can something be view as complex and be so resented when its main goal is to do things that most people just do not want to do. The automation of driverless cars for example, would allow people to have more time to complete their work or take up hobbies, and it would also reduce accidents.

The anti-technology stigma which as greatly grown since the start of the 21st century, is not really about fearing that cyborgs are going to take over the world, but a fear of change.

While technology at times is very intrusive, it is on a path towards a seamless integration into the daily lives of many post industrial societies.

The emergence of a nostalgia for the past is not something new, nor is it truly about advancements in technologies. This nostalgia is born from the loss of innocence that everyone endures as they grow up.

What people really miss is the naïve perception that the world is simple which they had as a child because the world is a lot more complex and tough than it looks from the mind of a 5 year old.

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