Is Life Better For Us Than It Was For Our Forefathers?

In many ways I would say that living in this modern world is better but in many ways too it seems that our forefathers had a better life.

Today we have radio, television, telephone, computers and hundreds of gadgets that our ancestors never had nor could imagine possible. So we enjoy these things enormously. However our ancestors never had to put up with mindless talk-shows on television and too loud pop music on the radio. I suppose our ancestors had more time to talk with one another too instead of being like us who spend so much time just staring at the ‘idiot box’.

On hot days I really appreciate that we have the air-conditioner to cool us down. Our forefathers probably had to put up with the heat or at best fan themselves with a leaf or something. However, we have become too dependent on the air-conditioner, especially the one in the car. On rare occasions when it malfunctioned I realized how uncomfortable it can be to sit in a car without air-conditioning.

Talking about cars, we are also so dependent on them. It is great to whiz along the highway eating up the kilometers and arriving at our destination in a short time. It seems everyone has the same idea too. So now, on our highways, it is virtually impossible to whiz along. It is more like crawling bumper-to-bumper in a traffic jam, breathing foul fumes and arriving late. Our ancestors of just a hundred years ago never had to undergo such infuriating jams. They probably trudged along on their feed or rode horses. Come to think of it, they probably had to put up with sore feet and horse dung. Which is better, fumes or dung?

Medical care has improved by leaps and bounds. We are no longer plagued by many diseases that killed our forefathers. Tuberculosis, smallpox and leprosy, the scourges of yesterdays, do not bother us anymore. However AIDS never bothered our forefathers. We face a new threat.

It is said that modern men and women have longer life spans. Does living longer necessarily mean a better life? I do not know. Long ago there were no hospitals and people died. No one paid anything to have their illness treated then. We pay huge sums nowadays but eventually we still have to die. Also a longer life span means we have to put up with more pollution, over-population, unemployment and other modern ills. My great-great-grandfather could probably pick a mango from a tree and eat it without giving it a second thought. I do not have a tree to pick a mango from. I have to buy one which may be loaded with pesticides and who knows what other poisons they put in it.

By looking at the few examples above, I cannot decide which era is better. Modern living has its good parts as well as bad. Similarly it was so for living in bygone ages. Actually we have no choice but to live in our modern world whether we like it or not. How things will turn out will only be known when they happen. We just have a live as best as we can.