Was It Always Like This?

Talk about depressing. How many different things are there to worry about in the world these days? Whether it’s racist egomaniacs running for nominations (and winning), people gunning down strangers in the streets or at schools, people blowing up other people in markets or at airports . . .

Sometimes there just feels like so many ways in which the world is falling apart. So my question today is to you readers who are fifty-five and older. People a clear generation ahead of me. Was it always like this? Is it just that I’m getting to the point in my life where I start to actually pay attention to everything happening more that I’m seeing all the bad? Because I feel like I’ve always been tapped in to what’s going on around me, and so a big part of me wants to say this is all new.

But then again, World War II. World War I. Vietnam. There are plenty of time periods I didn’t live through. Does living now compare to the feeling of living then? I remember growing up during the Cold War. I was seriously concerned that the world was going to end by nuclear missiles at any time. It kept me up some nights. We had bomb scares at school and bomb drills. Did I just pass them off more easily than I can now?

I wonder if some of it isn’t due to how prevalent cameras and video cameras are these days, and how well connected we all are. In seconds, what’s happening on the other side of the world can be appearing on my screen here in the library at work, and so each time something happens, I hear about it and know about it. Would things have felt different in World War II if there had been the same interconnectedness back then? We can only speculate.

But like I said: what I’d really like to know is how things felt to people living in earlier times. Not sure if I have seventy or eight-year-olds reading this, but I’d love as much input as I can get.

In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers go out to the people in Brussels (including the three Mormon missionaries who were injured in the bombings) and Turkey. I don’t know what we need to do as a globe to stop ISIS, but whatever it is, it seems like it needs to happen soon.

2 Comments

  • By Scott Erb, March 22, 2016 @ 3:02 pm

    When I was 19 I was convinced the world was going to major crisis. A revolution in Iran not only took out the US best ally in the region, the Iranians were holding American prisoners at the embassy, the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan – perhaps as a prelude to taking Iran and controlling the Persian Gulf – and inflation was near 18%. (Over the year it was lower, but a couple months it peaked). Detente was dead, Carter was threatening a war over oil, and gas prices were sky rocketing as the US slipped into a deep recession. Fear of nuclear wear was real – and frankly, compared to terrorist attacks, nuclear war is a much bigger deal – it could essentially destroy civilization as we know it. I still remember putting on the Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band and listened. It was from before my time – I was 7 when it came out – but I remembered thinking how back when I was a kid there was talk of love, peace, a new way of thinking (the hippy stuff – but as I kid I had internalized the good parts)…and now…we’re standing in the face of who knows what! My Poli-Sci professor predicted most of us would be dead in a nuclear war because never had two sides amassed such arsenals without using them. So, as Al Stewart says in the song ‘Nostradamus’ (from 1973) – “the more things change, the more they stay the same, and the hand just rearranges, the players in the game…”

  • By Bryce Moore, March 22, 2016 @ 3:45 pm

    Thanks for posting, Scott. In a way, it’s a relief to hear that things have been awful before. It gives me a lot of hope that they’ll swing the other way again.

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