The Paradox of Our Age

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Kittamaru, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. Kittamaru Never cruel nor cowardly... Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,885
    Thought that this seemed as fitting now as ever. I've seen this attributed to multiple sources but it seems Bob Moorehead was the author. Wise words...

    The Paradox of Our Age
    Dr. Bob

    We have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways but narrower viewpoints; we spend more but have less; we buy more but enjoy it less; we have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, yet less time; we have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; we have more gadgets but less satisfaction; more medicine, yet less wellness; we take more vitamins but see fewer results. We drink too much; smoke too much; spend too recklessly; laugh too little; drive too fast; get too angry quickly; stay up too late; get up too tired; read too seldom; watch TV too much and pray too seldom.

    We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values; we fly in faster planes to arrive there quicker, to do less and return sooner; we sign more contracts only to realize fewer profits; we talk too much; love too seldom and lie too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We've conquered outer space, but not inner space; we've done larger things, but not better things; we've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we've split the atom, but not our prejudice; we write more, but learn less; plan more, but accomplish less; we make faster planes, but longer lines; we learned to rush, but not to wait; we have more weapons, but less peace; higher incomes, but lower morals; more parties, but less fun; more food, but less appeasement; more acquaintances, but fewer friends; more effort, but less success. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; drive smaller cars that have bigger problems; build larger factories that produce less. We've become long on quantity, but short on quality.

    These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, but short character; steep in profits, but shallow relationships. These are times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure and less fun; higher postage, but slower mail; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes, but more divorces; these are times of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, cartridge living, thow-away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer, to prevent, quiet or kill. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stock room. Indeed, these are the times!
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Sounds like he's not a millennial.

    Can't really mount an argument since there is no clear thesis.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Kittamaru Never cruel nor cowardly... Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,885
    Eh, I'm not sure if being a millennial or not should matter here - is there a particular part of it you disagree with by chance?
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    The "no clear thesis" part.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  8. Kittamaru Never cruel nor cowardly... Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,885
    I would hazard the thesis is that we have gained the proverbial world, but lost our collective humanity in the process.
     
  9. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Well, if this guy has a mental problem, repressing something that he can't come to grips with, dare into consciousness and put into words, that would impede introspection, and hence, ability to relate more fully to others.

    Also this old geezer pastor quit his religious job over sex allegations: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1998/july13/8t8026.html

    Maybe Bob Moorehead is like Roy Moore saying how great America was during the time of slavery i.e. a racist, neurotic, religious child molester.

    Maybe his thesis would be "I want to have sex with children," but decided against directly putting that in words for some reason and is fully conscious of the fact that he is sexually aroused by young girls or something.

    If there's no thesis it's anybodies guess, even if it is a distasteful one.

    [EDIT]

    And yes, a pastor wooing a crowd so that he can get close to their children is not to be something unheard of. Also, it was a bad read i.e. no clear thesis.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,219
    He sees the trees, not the forest.

    My criteria for a quantifiably and objectively better world**:

    1] We live longer.
    We live healthier longer. No downside there.​

    2] We have more options.
    We can choose to be lawyers, and we can choose to be a burger-flipper and still have the essentials of a sustainable life***.
    We can choose a family or career or both.
    We can even choose to live in the wilderness (and still expect a long, healthy life).
    We can also choose not to choose, and perhaps live on welfare. (No none said our choices had to be wise, but there's no doubt we have them.)
    No downside there.

    2b] We have more discretionary time.
    We can use that extra time to increase our quality of life - for leisure, or to change our choices in 2].
    No downside there.​
    2c] We can choose from the OP's list which are important to us personally.
    And we have the capability (as well as the obligation to ourselves) and the means to act on them to arrange them the way we want.
    IOW, we have more freedom and more personal responsibility to better our lives as we see fit in all the aspects the OP lists.
    No downside there.​

    **third world notwithstanding, but we're making progress there too
    *** cable and steak are not
    essentials, though they may be considered a standard of living, to which one might want to aspire. Alternatively, see 'living in he wilderness'.


    For all the things in the OP that don't get better as the generations pass, the above things do inexorably increase.

    I try to keep these criteria firmly in the fore of my mind whenever I am rashly tempted to romanticize living in an earlier age.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  11. Kittamaru Never cruel nor cowardly... Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,885
    All exceptional points, though I do have to question the "more discretionary time" point - I know that, at least in the majority of my circle of friends and family, we have less discretionary time due to having to often work multiple jobs just to keep the ledger in the black. I would also contend that, in the "Modern World", high speed internet access is almost a necessity- many school projects require outside research, and the number of jobs requiring the ability to remote in should the need arise (on call, weather, etc) are on the rise.
     
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,219
    True. Then again, I am middle-class biased here. I doubt the preponderance of minimum wagers living in tiny apartments, making not quite enough to pay for their childrens' daycare, healthcare and schooling would have much that qualifies as 'comforts'.

    Ultimately, I'm talking about an average. The standard of living is going up for all, even if not substantially for many.

    Would you say that, overall, this is more the case now than in previous ages? I'll wager the corresponding group of people in previous ages were often lucky to have jobs. A lot of beggars and starvation and work-for-lodging and indentured servitude and dying from toxic work conditions (that they couldn't escape from) back then.

    I'd bucket this as a net gain in quality of life and discretionary time, not a downside.

    Imagine telling Joe Fisherman how much it sucks that you have to do your work at home on crappy days, and had no commute to the ocean, in fact, didn't really need to buy your own boat for the amount you need one - but you till got paid.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Of course, that's a simplistic picture.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  13. Kittamaru Never cruel nor cowardly... Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,885
    Aye, but to the same - we are attached to our work so often unable to get away. For many, the idea of simply turning their cell phone off is a pipe dream, they are almost addicted to it.

    Quality of life in terms of material type things, certainly... But there is a certain charm to the idea of putting all that aside, at least for a while, and enjoying a crisp night, a crackling wood fire, and nothing more technologically advanced than the shirt on your back.
     
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,219
    I've probably been lucky to have never had a job where I was expected to be available outside established hours.

    One place was preparing to implement an on-call policy, so I resigned and went elsewhere. Of course, in my industry, one changes jobs like one changes underwear.

    That too is a choice.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    It's also true that some people are workaholics. And others simply like the jobs enough that they don't really go off the clock.
    (Then again, it's also true, that in many vocations, such as many self-employed contractors, you are either working all the time, or you are out of business.)
    Choosing not to change something is also making a choice.

    My wife is on the workaholic end of the scale; I am on the hedonist end. I know when I'm making enough money for me, and will start trading off income for leisure time. She does not see 'sufficient' income as having an upper limit.



    I'm realizing this is starting to sound a little like a lack of sympathy for those being in undesirable circumstances. That wasn't my intention. This thread wasn't about individual circumstances so much as the bigger picture of quality of life. Ultimately, people have to decide what's really important, and decide if the sacrifices are worth it. But, by and large, they do get to decide.

    I think of things like the caste system, even in India's 21st century, where your station in life is literally not a choice.
     
  15. Kittamaru Never cruel nor cowardly... Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,885
    *nod* Fair enough - I like to think that my current station, while not where I would want it to be, will give me the opportunity to, hopefully, provide better for my future family. Put the work in now, while I'm young and my body can (mostly) handle it, and hopefully reap the rewards later.
     
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,219
    I'd nudge you toward putting some time into living for now, and not bank it all for the future.
    Too many stories about people banking on a future and then wishing they hadn't waited until it as too late.
     
  17. Kittamaru Never cruel nor cowardly... Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,885
    Oh, we are - we try to take a little time each day for us, to just be together and enjoy each other's company. Soon, it will be the three of us, heh... Has thought it would be today, but it looks like we have a few more days to wait.
     
  18. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,883
    Probably not even submitted or dispensed by the author as a proposition to be vetted or defended. Just passion converted to prose -- guided by a theme of antithesis, irony, a pattern of conflicting opposites. The intent of poetry without the verse, a broody opining meant to resonate with sympathetic onlookers. A disparaging sign or symbol released into circulation to elicit a nod of shared feelings about the zeitgeist of an era.

    And perhaps quasi-timeless or universal. Apart from particular oddities, James Agate might as much deem it concerning influential cultural climates of the 1920s if his own version of the already oft-mutated and oft-repeated quote below had actually been about America rather than about Russia (the latter also being where this particular template arguably had its earliest origins).

    "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilisation in between."
    --not by Oscar Wilde, as a 2008 edition of a newspaper in London supposedly declared

    - - -
     
  19. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    I had never heard of the guy before and probably wouldn't have looked him up, if say, this thread was started in the Art/Culture section.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  20. Kittamaru Never cruel nor cowardly... Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,885
    Part of why I didn't start it there - I was looking for a deeper dive into the piece

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  21. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,396
    I tend to think this way, as well, but frankly, I also think I'm somewhat full of crap on this matter--at least with respect to the United States. Among affluent nations, Americans work a preposterous number of hours: nearly ~48 hours per week for full-time workers, with but two weeks of vacation per annum. Honestly, I don't believe that most truly choose to work this many hours.

    When I work, I (IMHO) work very hard, it's just that I've never worked all that much. Very few 40 hour weeks in my lifetime, and typically many weeks--months, even--of vacation. At least, with respect to "proper" employment. That said, I have dogs (whose expenses are considerable, but nearly so...) and no kids, live rather primitively (relatively speaking), have seldom had (or had need for) a vehicle, and know how to make a not insubstantial chunk of change in short time. Also, I'd rather chop wood and not work, than pay for heating oil.

    I do think that most people spend a ridiculous amount of money of things like cable television, smart phone fees, leasing automobiles, etc., but those costs pale next to housing expenses, medical costs (again, that's a uniquely American one), and such, at a very low wage (for non-professionals).
     
  22. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,918
    So after unsupported generalisations I suggest this was Dr Bobs message.
    More degrees and less sense... I doubt it.
    I cant understand why folk would think there are any gems of wisdom as it seems a case of nonsence dressed up to sound wise but clearly its just nonsense.
    Alex
     
  23. birch Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,077
    I think dr. Bob just realized society inherently as in nature have not changed but he is misconstruing it as a 'sign of the times.' yes, in modern times there will be new or different difficulties along with less problems that plagued society before.

    I mean in the past there was a lot of fresh air and organic food but so was disease killing off people left and right or suffering poor quality of life etc. Sure people were less obese but they also died of poor nutrition or starvation etc.

    Too bad most people are not good managers of earth's resources.
     

Share This Page