The world is only getting better, not worse.

I think the common belief that it is going bad with the world is wrong.

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else below.

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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#21  Postby Frank Merton » Feb 25, 2014 4:57 am

Happiness is not something we can make better or worse with material achievement, once a minimum is accomplished. You get happy by taking Prozac or some similar drug (that also makes the drug company happy -- so double happiness in one little pill).
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#22  Postby mindhack » Feb 25, 2014 5:14 am

Frank Merton wrote:Happiness is not something we can make better or worse with material achievement, once a minimum is accomplished. You get happy by taking Prozac or some similar drug (that also makes the drug company happy -- so double happiness in one little pill).

It's true that Quantum Happiness is not something we can make better or worse with the further study of physics, but Qaulitum Peppiness does depend fully on chemistry.

More importantly, the world is a turtle.
(Ignorance --> Mystery) < (Knowledge --> Awe)
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#23  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Feb 25, 2014 5:28 am

Frank Merton wrote:Happiness is not something we can make better or worse with material achievement, once a minimum is accomplished. You get happy by taking Prozac or some similar drug (that also makes the drug company happy -- so double happiness in one little pill).

You're right. Starving, unhealthy, homeless children are very happy. What is "the minimum"? Who decides that?
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#24  Postby Frank Merton » Feb 25, 2014 5:39 am

Starving children are manifestly not happy; the same applies to starving old people. I don't quite get your point since I thought I covered that.

Something a little more personal than maybe is wise: when my wife died about twenty years ago in a horrible death, I went into depression for several years and nothing helped until Prozac, and it changed me (over the course of a few weeks), so I do in fact believe happiness is fundamentally chemical, no doubt often triggered by external events in a person with the susceptibility.

Now I am happily married -- to a man my age -- would you believe (I had always been what the books call "bisexual") but had never acted on it during my marriage.
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#25  Postby Agrippina » Feb 25, 2014 5:49 am

Frank Merton wrote:I'm happy with the way the world is going, more or less. What I'm not happy with is that I seem to steadily get older.


The alternative to getting older is not half as pleasant. :grin:
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#26  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Feb 25, 2014 5:53 am

Frank Merton wrote:Starving children are manifestly not happy; the same applies to starving old people. I don't quite get your point since I thought I covered that.

Something a little more personal than maybe is wise: when my wife died about twenty years ago in a horrible death, I went into depression for several years and nothing helped until Prozac, and it changed me (over the course of a few weeks), so I do in fact believe happiness is fundamentally chemical, no doubt often triggered by external events in a person with the susceptibility.

Now I am happily married -- to a man my age -- would you believe (I had always been what the books call "bisexual") but had never acted on it during my marriage.

Congratulations...I am glad you have found happiness. It is just my radar goes up when I see "materialism"-as if materialism was instrinsically bad or something and spirituality "good". Most of us over-consume sure. We just need a two-tier economy. You can be rich, so long as no one else is poor.
Everyone should have the basics, and if they can't afford them, provide them. We don't do that except locally, and sometimes not even then.
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#27  Postby Agrippina » Feb 25, 2014 5:57 am

Frank Merton wrote:

Now I am happily married -- to a man my age -- would you believe (I had always been what the books call "bisexual") but had never acted on it during my marriage.


:cheers: I'm so happy that you have found someone to love again.

@Darwinsbulldog, happy birthday. :cheers:

In general, I think that apart from the obvious problems of climate change and the threat of retreating coastlines, and other natural disasters, "the world" is generally a happier place for people in general. Not for individuals, like starving children, and old people, or for gay people in Uganda, but in the time when I was a child, the idea of being able to openly admit that you are not heterosexual, or that you don't believe in mainstream religion, was life-threatening in most parts of the world. If you disagreed with the government, in most countries, you would be imprisoned, even if for just suggesting that your fellow-countrymen(or women) should be allowed to vote. Now, if you don't like the government, in most countries, you can say so and even effect change. In most countries we can choose most things about our lives without fear of someone reporting your behaviour to some oppressive authority. For me, that makes the world a "better place" now than it was when I was growing up. (Not for rhinos, butterflies, bees and so on. But that's a discussion for another thread).
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#28  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Feb 25, 2014 6:00 am

<derail> Thanks Aggie! :thumbup: </derail>
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#29  Postby Frank Merton » Feb 25, 2014 6:55 am

I guess it depends somewhat on what you are looking at. Materially things are definitely getting better for the vast majority, especially in Asia.

The governments are another thing, especially that of the United States.
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#30  Postby Agrippina » Feb 25, 2014 7:02 am

Frank Merton wrote:I guess it depends somewhat on what you are looking at. Materially things are definitely getting better for the vast majority, especially in Asia.

The governments are another thing, especially that of the United States.


I don't think there's much wrong with the US except for four major issues: guns, apparent decreasing education levels in the general population, increasing religiosity among the less-educated, and racism. When it comes to governments in general, they're the product of the population that chooses them, or perhaps the lies that politicians have told to the electorate that they actually believe (in our case). I think that education is becoming more and more accessible to people to whom it was previously denied, which is a very good thing, and with that, higher standards of living, which will lead to more materialism. I'm only against materialism when it's wasteful. I don't understand why two people living in a single dwelling need two, never mind, three bathrooms, or why anyone needs more than one living room, eating area. I can understand more than one bathroom when there are a whole lot of people living in a house but you don't live in the bathroom, so why do you need one for each of you? Cars as well, why does anyone need a second car. Again, if two people are travelling in different directions all the time, I can understand the need for individual cars, but why does an individual need two cars? Just me, with two computers, two television sets, various iDevices etc. :grin:
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#31  Postby zulumoose » Feb 25, 2014 7:12 am

I think one of the biggest factors in happiness is the view of the future, something hard to quantify.

Having daily needs met is obviously a huge priority for the poor and/or hungry, but even the wealthiest and most privileged person can hardly be happy if he believes he will be homeless next year.

Happiness is therefore heavily influenced by assurances that things are improving, income is stable, the economy is healthy, little chance of future conflict, welfare needs covered, human rights respected, the environment cared for, responsible people in charge etc etc etc.

Basically by looking at a graph of things as they have been up to now you are only getting half the picture, you have to look the reasoning that leads to peoples expectations for the future. A happy population is an optimistic population.
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#32  Postby tuco » Feb 25, 2014 7:17 am

The claim that the world is happier place (than x years ago) is unsupported and based on assumptions.

When I was growing there was one brand of dish-washing liquid on the shelves. These days there are several brands. While some would say that having several brands is obviously better (competitive market ~ innovation, quality, price) I would say it got worse, if I had to make such judgement. Before I came to shop, picked up a bottle of the liquid and was done with it. These days, I spend time and energy making inconsequential choices, and this should make me happier?

Either way, I do not believe people today are happier than 5000 year ago nor I think the world is a better place. I stated my reason and if someone does not agree with me or thinks otherwise, its fine with me.

edit: Lets assume we are getting happier. Lets also assume that the brain has capacity for happiness ~ its not infinite device. So how long will it take before we reach 'full happiness'? Before we will be so happy that being more happy will not be possible? What a nonsense eh?
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#33  Postby Frank Merton » Feb 25, 2014 7:23 am

The ability to make choices is empowerment and generally makes one happier. There are personalities though who worry over making the "wrong" choice when the fact is it doesn't much matter, and they don't do as well.
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#34  Postby Briton » Feb 25, 2014 8:53 am

I can only judge the quality of the lives of myself those around me and I would say things have improved greatly in my lifetime. I live the life of a king compared to my grandparents.
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#35  Postby Frank Merton » Feb 25, 2014 8:55 am

Briton wrote:I can only judge the quality of the lives of myself those around me and I would say things have improved greatly in my lifetime. I live the life of a king compared to my grandparents.

Yes that is true for most of us. Things on average have improved a lot but still I get older and fatter.
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#36  Postby Agrippina » Feb 25, 2014 9:54 am

Briton wrote:I can only judge the quality of the lives of myself those around me and I would say things have improved greatly in my lifetime. I live the life of a king compared to my grandparents.


Absolutely. When I think of what my mother told me about her childhood and the life they led, and when I think of how my grandparents were living when I knew them as a child, my life and that of my kids and grandkids is certainly better. Also my grandchildren won't ever be able to say that we lived in unpleasant conditions when they were kids. For one thing, we have indoor plumbing. :grin:
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#37  Postby tuco » Feb 25, 2014 10:48 am

Frank Merton wrote:The ability to make choices is empowerment and generally makes one happier. There are personalities though who worry over making the "wrong" choice when the fact is it doesn't much matter, and they don't do as well.


Perhaps in certain environment and certain choices. I have yet too see, however, how 10 more brands of dish-washing liquid make people happier or even better.

Maybe it works like this ..

People get leaflet where they read about "discount" on certain brand of dish-washing liquid. The store offering the discount is on the other side of the town so they travel there, buy the product and also buy some other products "on sale" they did not plan to buy, travel back home, unpack it all, then they sit thinking .. I am so happy I got this great brand for such low price.

or

They could go to first store there is, buy the one dish-washing liquid they have there, go home and be happy that they did not have to pick up any leaflets from mailbox, read and recycle them, did not have to travel across the town, and did not buy stuff they did not plan.

So how do we measure who's happier? We ask .. Aha, its only getting better.
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#38  Postby Frank Merton » Feb 25, 2014 10:55 am

Well I don't worry much about what soap the housekeeper uses, or the brand of salt the cook uses. I just put on my clothes and eat my soup each morning, and I'm quite happy.

I live in a socialist society so we tend not to get much advertising except on TV, and I almost never watch any of that unless something important is being broadcast live, and then there are no ad breaks. I hear McDonald's is coming to town: now that makes me unhappy. There are several places here that sell damn good hamburgers already; we don't need that slop.
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#39  Postby tuco » Feb 25, 2014 11:04 am

Well, that you do not 'worry' does not mean others do not. Every day many people in the so-called civilized world undergo similar procedure to the one I described. Maybe it makes them happy, maybe not. The sole fact that there is something more of, dish-washing liquid brands for example, tell us nothing about happiness thus getting better is my point.
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Re: The world is only getting better, not worse.

#40  Postby Frank Merton » Feb 25, 2014 11:09 am

I think the proliferation of brands of this and that is part of the workings of a capitalist market economy where manufacturers struggle for attention and shelf space. I can see where it generates waste and unnecessary number of choices, but it doesn't strike me as one of the world's greater problems.
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