Yesterday I wrote about Covid deniers and how baseless their arguments are specially compared to the research that has been done for many years towards understanding these kinds of deceases. The people that have a hard time believing in what science has to say are often also negative about the progress we have made as humans.
The humans that lived 200.000 years ago where more or less like us in capabilities, if you put modern clothes on them and teach them English for instance you wouldn’t see a difference. Why is it important to know this you might wonder? It is important to know because most modern cultures look at the people that still live as hunter gatherers in remote places as primitive and backwards. But these people are exactly like us, the biggest difference is that they are raised in a totally different environment than ours. But they also have ambitions, fall in love, some like adventure others like to learn like we, people that live in cities. The biggest difference between the hunter gatherers from 200.000 years ago, and in a lesser amount, the “modern” hunter gatherers, is that they live(d) more in fear than we do.
People can live in fear in 2021 also, when there is a war going on or a natural disaster is destroying their livelihoods, but when life is normal most people that live now don’t have to live in fear, fear from being eaten by a predator, shortage of food or the weather. 200.000 years ago, that was the norm, you always looked out for dangerous animals, food was something you were always looking for and one of the reasons of the constant migration of humans was the search for food and competition with other humans and animals.
We also know a lot more now; deceases might still kill us but at least we now know why. Imagine you lived a 100.000 years ago and you get a hernia, or a wound that is infected and you decline rapidly, you’re in heavy pain and there is nothing you can do. These things still happen but for us it is, most of the time, not a mystery. We can go to a doctor and questions get answered, for our forefathers it was always a mystery and it is frightful, as we all have experienced, if you don’t know what is happening and you are in pain.
A lot of people that are negative about the world as it is today hunker back to so called better times, the 1950s for instance. Nostalgy works almost like a drug that makes the past shinier. If you ask people questions about life in the 1950s they might sum up everything that was better but if you ask a little bit more they soon realize that life was also pretty shitty back then, maybe not for them but… woman still needed the permission of their husband for many things and if you where gay you could be marked as a criminal or institutionalized in an asylum and racism was still the norm. Maybe it is no coincident that the people that hunker back for the 1950s have no problem with these last three examples.
The difference with racist now and a hundred years ago is that todays racist know that they do something that is not normal, that’s why they hide it as good as they can, ashamed as they are. Adolf Hitler, had no problems with his racism, he shouted it out in public and wrote it down for everybody to read. Modern racist do it in secret on their shielded platforms and only when they are in groups, or cornered they shout it out. This is progress even though there is still a lot of (hidden) racism in the world, at least most people now realize that it is wrong.
Woman today are still not treated as equal to man in many instances but there is no denying the fact that decade after decade it is getting better. If you want to go back a hundred years as a woman you have to give up a lot. Only when you were exaptational strong minded you could pursuit a path in academics for instance while today there are often more woman studying on universities then man. This is also progress in my mind.
I can go on and on about the things that are better now, and it is not hard to find things that where better years ago. But on average life is much better now, and even then yesterday.