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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Have We Changed?

In class last night, somehow we managed to get onto the topic of how things have changed so much - people are so busy these days, so stressed out, families are so different, people have different expectations and priorities now. Except that I don't agree. In general, I feel that things don't really ever change, we just want to think that they do because we think we are so much more enlightened and advanced than we used to be. The example was made of the materialism that Americans today have put so much focus on, to the point that many individuals will work a ridiculous amount of hours a week in order to obtain material possessions that they then never have the time to enjoy because they are working so much. How is this a change? Didn't farmers and industrial workers spend just as many hours at their jobs to secure material possessions? Maybe they didn't have as much because they just couldn't afford it, but isn't that what they were working for? Do you think they were happy with less than their neighbors had to did they push themselves to keep up with everyone else? I think that the underlying desire to have what everyone else has and to live a life of pleasure has never been any different - what is different is the way in which people go about securing these things. I think there has always been and will always be those who need to keep up with the status quo. And I think there will always be those who defy societal norms and determine what is important to them individually. I think when we herald today's society as so enlightened, or when we decry our newfound focus on working for just the material, driving ourselves crazy in the process, we are being silly. We learned out values from those who came before us, and they learned it from those who came before them. Things may seem to change on a surface level, but deep down, I believe things always stay the same.

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