Back in the good old days
This is a phrase that we hear a lot from old timers. Most of the observations that follow this phrase in my experience tend to belong to one or more of the following categories:
- Discriminatory (racist, sexist, homophobic etc.)
- for the lack of a better word, kinda stupid.
These are often arguments along the lines of joint families are better than nuclear families, we would all be better off without technology, everyone used to be healthier in general back in the old days etc. Their generation can't seem to see where they're wrong and they seem to justify their views at whatever cost. However we on the other hand can see where they're wrong, that the size of the family doesn't have any corelation to how healthy the family is, that technology is neither good nor evil and the real issue is the human creators of the technology, how life expectancy around the world has increased in the past few years etc. The point I'm trying to make is we see where they're wrong and they probably were able to see where their previous generation went wrong too but not their own. Now here's the billion dollar question, are we like them?
Right now are we able to see where we are going? Are we able to see what we're doing wrong? How will the future remember us?
Of course one could argue in the grand scheme of things the future generations wouldn't find us any different from the generations before us or after us, that compared to the technology and tools available to them, our supercomputers and the tools from stone age might not look too different to them. But just in case that's not the case these are the few things that I think the future will remember us for.
Things we will be remembered for:
We will be remembered as a generation that pushed the boundaries of scientific innovations like no other until our time, a generation that was close to truth like no other up until our time but sadly some if not most of us were not that great at accepting those truths when we didn't like them. We still divided our societies based on stories that were taught as truth, we still gave ourselves into superstitions, we still invested more money into religion than feeding the hungry, we still did things that were wrong simply because someone wrote it somewhere a long time ago and called it the divine will and we always turned to the one above to save the world when we were the ones who were suppose to save it. We will be remembered as the generation that still killed each other in the name of religion despite their scientific advancements.
Learning from history
We will be remembered as the offspring of a generation that saw the atrocities of centralized power (dictators, kings, facist nations etc.) who then taught our generation why that is bad so that we wouldn't let that happen again. There might have been schools of thoughts in various places in different eras that taught against centralized power but never was it thought to almost every child in a generation of humans but us. Yet when centralized power came in front of us in form of corporates we did what our previous generations did, roll over and sing praise. No matter how these corporates took away our rights such as freedom and privacy (whether as an employee or as a user of a service or a product) we still sang their praise. We set them as our scales of success. No matter how many communities they destroyed, no matter how many lives they took we still sang their praise and saw their leaders as Gods on Earth that deserved to be worshiped, when all these people cared about was their profit margin.
We made it okay to put profit over people.
Giving everyone a voice
We will be remembered as a generation which gave almost every human on the planet a platform that would let them have their voice heard. It was no longer easy to silence people. People were able to organize themselves like never before for causes that mattered. We will also be remembered as the generation that (even though they had such platforms) were reluctant to have an opinion or be vocal about them because it might displease the corporate overlords and affect the amount of money they make. The fact that our society revolved around money really helped shut a lot of people up. We will also be remembered as the generation that was a victim of surveillance like no other and for the first time ever, victims of targetted misinformation powered by artificial intelligence deployed by the platforms that we so dearly loved, so that they could profit from the spike in usage caused by conflicts from the misinformation. We also learned to live with this as well.
We will be remembered as a generation that enjoyed the fruits of democracy like no other generation up until our time. Most countries were democratic, political power was distributed and people had a say in their future. We would also be remembered as the generation that probably failed democracy. We blindly followed figures who played saviors without questioning what we were asked to raise our voice for. We let the elected representatives do things that were against the very spirit of democracy and let them get away with it. We failed to call on them when we saw that their loyalty changed from people to profit. We let things happen as we were busy making money.
It seems that it is possible for us nowadays to justify any cost (human rights, human lives, environment) as long as it brings back monetary profit. If we continue on this path we will be remembered as the generation that almost got there but lost it all in the name of money.