A popular saying goes, “It’s not how you start but how you finish.” Well, whoever came up with that, failed to ask where did you start from? Over the years, culture has gone through a flurry of changes and having to adapt to those changes, has caused further deviation in opinions between generations.
Although, we can all agree that each generation has its own peculiar problems and vantage points. But the narrative across every generation remains one of,
“Who’s had it worse?”
Well, one could argue that this seemingly poignant question doesn’t have a suitably direct answer, given that this debate has outlived generations across history and will definitely live through future generations.
However, this spectrum of the supreme generation always spiral into significant events peculiar to each generation. These events either changed the course of history for good or incited a revolution as pushback against the generational problem.
In the early 20th century, those who experienced the war will always remind the mid 20th century generation that they had it worse because they lived through the war and its ruins. Their response would be,
“Well, we had to deal with the racial, political, social-economical and idealist divide the war caused and that was even harder.”
A fair argument from the mid 20th century generation considering they inherited the prejudices, political tension, rancor and segregation from an event they had no part in. One could also make a case for those in the early 20th century, saying they also inherited the chaos from the 18th and 19th century who made a fortune out of slavery and took great pride in conquest of kingdoms. Hence, the birthed idea of colonists and colonies.
Now if we take a look at history, we’ll always find events that caused a paradigm shift in the culture in spite of your region. Wherever you find people, there is culture and culture evolves with the times. Those in the 18th century never thought a day would come where people wouldn’t need horses to commute much less, have an object fly in the air. Today, we use cars and planes to commute across the globe.
Those in the 20th century never experienced the level of technological freedom we enjoy today as a generation. A child born in the 2000’s doesn’t know what an encyclopedia is, because he has Google. The idea of a woman working and earning her own money would sound alien to the conservative woman from the 19th or 20th century. In a sense, you recognize the presence or absence of an event, resource or ideal, defines a generation.
Perhaps a common outcome for every generation across history would be either some form of resolution, reform or a complete revolution. We must also acknowledge the social and cultural progression across time and these are caused by ideals and greatly, technology. Today, social media has integrated the globe but disconnected human interaction. Feminism has empowered women but emasculated men. Democracy has given everyone human rights but taken away immediate repercussions.
A famous Canadian professor and author, once said,
“You can decide the equality of an opportunity but never its outcome.”
And I think I do agree with that thesis. In essence, there will always be an opportunity cost for change to occur. Question is, does that change create further problems down the line? Problems you never envisaged or have control over. Truth is, every generation would have to answer that tough question.
Again, who really had it worse?
Think about what your parents and their parents had to go through to beat the system. To somehow find a way to navigate the horrors of their era and how much their outcomes affected your story today. Today, young people snare at old people and their ways, calling them “Primitive” because they uphold progressive views on culture, female, sexual and moral liberation.
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Question is, how many of our views today will hold sway when the next generation comes along? I guess the word you’re looking for is, “Primitive.” Ever wondered how stupid our ideals are going to sound to the next century?
If you live long enough to see that era, you’re probably going to sound bitter and disgusted about their way of life as well. It’s an endless cycle but a moving one nonetheless. So again I ask, who’s really had it worse?
This is Danny world…