I can’t remember if I’ve mused about this here before, but there’s a thought experiment I keep coming back to when I hear about what Fallen Times we live in. And, trust me, I understand the complaint. The Bad News is relentless. But the news and social media is looking at the world through a fun house mirror. How bad is the reality in comparison to other times? So, the thought experiment is to wonder which previous decade I’d rather live in. For the sake of the argument, I assume that I wouldn’t be living in that time as a heterosexual white man. (The reason for that assumption is to avoid mistaking “better times” for “times that seem better because of the fruits of oppression or discrimination.”)
My conclusion is that things today aren’t much worse than they’ve ever been and, in a lot of respects, are better than they’ve been historically. It doesn’t mean that we can’t aspire to something better, but nostalgia is a helluva drug & the Bad News might have us more depressed than the circumstances really justify.