"We live in a dangerous time with terrorists, guns, and violent crime seemingly around every corner." "The old times like the Renaissance and Victorian eras were much simpler and more romantic than today." To that I say "hogwash," (and I don't say that often). This world may seem dangerous and evil today, but in so many ways, our world, (for the large majority of us), is better than it ever was.
In "olden times", a large percentage of babies died and so did many mothers delivering the babies. People died of colds. It was common for young children to work 16 hour days, and slavery was just a natural part of the world economy. But for some reason, people glorify past eras as if they were somehow perfect. Perhaps they are blinded by the beautiful fashions and history that they read about. Most history is told with views through rose colored glasses. Unfortunately, the readers are rarely reminded that in Medieval and even Renaissance Europe, people hardly ever bathed. That would sway some people.
In contrast, today most of us have clean water, medicine, and other technologies to make life easier. Life isn't simpler; that's for sure. But we usually don't have to work all day just to get the next meal on our plate. And we usually don't run the risk of dying by trying to do so.
Even if you just look at times in the 50's and 60's, times were better in some ways economically because people could get a job, start a family, buy a house and live comfortably. But cars were less safe, racism was more overt and socially accepted, homophobia was the norm, and the Rolling Stones couldn't shake their hips on national television. You couldn't even get Thai food at a neighborhood restaurant! Many of the atrocities and injustices were just smoothed over whereas today, we have a better idea of what's occurring. Only through awareness can action be taken.
Of course, there are many exceptions to the notion that life is better today. People all over the planet are malnourished, genocide and slavery still exist in various forms, and some don't get proper medical attention. But the percentage of people that fall into this group is much smaller than it used to be. That's progress… and that's proof that the world (from a human perspective), is better than it ever has been.
In terms of the state of our planet from a natural perspective though, it may be in its worst state in human history. Perhaps there's a correlation here. For humans to thrive, the earth must be abused and consumed? It may be true, but perhaps there's something to be learned from ancient cultures like the Native Americans who prospered in their own way while coexisting with nature. This is a topic I want to explore in another blogpost. Until then, be happy you live in today's world and not in the past.