> On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 05:34:05AM -0000, xorc...@sigaint.org wrote:
> But then, try to live the life of some farmer in 730 a.d. or of a slave
> in 2.500 b.c. egypt, or that of a miner in 4.000 b.c. china.
> In fact, we're living in the best possible times humans have ever had.
> Surely there are lots of things which could be better, don't get me
> wrong. But one thing is for sure: past times, all of them, were worse
> than today for most people on earth.
This, I'm not so sure of, at least not as presented. I mean, I largely
agree in a way. But that is just from my perspective. I certainly would be
miserable as a farmer in 730 a.d. Hell, I'd be miserable as a farmer
But happiness is an odd thing. Consistently, people in impoverished third
world conditions rate themselves happier overall than first worlders.
You're looking at happiness as if it only has to do with our present
circumstances, as if happiness directly correlates to things we have, and
don't have. I have food, I have a warm house. No saber toothed tigers, or
vikings to deal with. Good times.
Doesn't quite work that way. Humans tend to gauge happiness relative to
their pain. You'll rate good times better, if you've known lower lows.
Conversely, if you've had an easy pleasant life, dumb shit stresses you
out. "First world problems." The first time you get through a breakup in a
relationship, its the end of the world, because you've never experienced
that kind of low before. By the time you go through it a few times, you
know you'll shrug it off in a few weeks or months.
Now, quantitatively, I can't argue with you. We killed off polio, for
instance. That is quantitatively better, I'd have to say.
But I would not hesitate to believe that, at least certain peasants in 730
A.D. had an altogether better life, in terms having a smile on his face
regularly.. of generally being free to live it without dealing with the
sorts of nonsense, harassment, and drudgery that modern people are
subjected to through our over-crowded environments, work, laws, police and
so on. Sure, there was a lot of insane shit peasants had to deal with,
especially if they were close to towns, but it wasn't terribly hard to
stay away from other people, grow your food, pray as little as you liked,
catch up on Sunday if you damned well felt like it, and so on. Go to town
every other month for supplies and to trade, and that's about the only
time you'd see anyone at all outside immediate family.
For us, accustomed to our conveniences and style of living, it would be
torture to go back then and live. But I'm not so sure they would be
enamored with our lives, either. I can conceive a peasant used to having
peace and quiet go nearly insane when subjected to common noise pollution
of a city, for example. Or someone used to timing their life by the
uncertainties of the weather, and getting a few days off when it was too
muddy to plow, being very uninterested in a 9 to 5 "job" in an office.
Besides. "Best" implies a metric of "better." And what is, or is not
"better" than something else is highly subjective in many cases.
Universality of opinion is possible on some things, but it is rather rare.
Hell, there are the occasional women with rape fantasies, even. There are
people who truly enjoy physical pain.
Certain nutters throw themselves at the earth trusting not much more than
some cords and silk.
I agree our present day is a great time to be alive, but not because of
the standard of living and industrial toys, per se.