View Poll Results: Well, were we?

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Thread: Were we better off before industrialization?

  1. #61
    Educator nerv14's Avatar
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    Re: Were we better off before industrialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyOwnDrum View Post
    It all depends on what happens after death. If consciousness is dependent on this physical plane of existence, then clinging to life, no matter how bleak or depressing, is our only hope of awareness.

    If this life is merely a stepping stone to another, greater existence, then our physical lives are merely confining and temporal robes that we could well do without when they wear out.
    hmmm...

    well if we are going to argue what is better, then we need to have some assumptions.

    and since many people have different religions, I think the debate should be limited to the best life or existence on Earth.


    anyway, I am by no means saying that modern life starts off good, and gets worse. So if there is some life after death, then a pursuit of the best life (including the afterlife) may just involve suicide once you accomplish your spiritual goals on Earth.

    I just don't see too much utility in discussing that for this topic.

  2. #62
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    Re: Were we better off before industrialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    No I'm pretty sure we did become happier. Less disease, a better diet, our families live much longer, friends from childhood don't die as easily, we don't go hungry almost half the year, etc. We are so much better now that we are not subsistence farmers.
    I have looked this up MANY times, but people's standard of living doesn't determine their happiness. Other factors, such as family bonds and community do more of that.


    No matter how rich you get, almost no one is happy unless they have people that they are close to. And in the past, people seem to have felt closer to others, so it is not surprising that they were happier.

  3. #63
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    Re: Were we better off before industrialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by nerv14 View Post
    I have looked this up MANY times, but people's standard of living doesn't determine their happiness. Other factors, such as family bonds and community do more of that.


    No matter how rich you get, almost no one is happy unless they have people that they are close to. And in the past, people seem to have felt closer to others, so it is not surprising that they were happier.
    They may have been closer, but those people were also much more likely to die from disease and starvation. Doesn't sound like fun, neither does hunger.

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

  4. #64
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    Re: Were we better off before industrialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by nerv14 View Post
    hmmm...

    well if we are going to argue what is better, then we need to have some assumptions.

    and since many people have different religions, I think the debate should be limited to the best life or existence on Earth.


    anyway, I am by no means saying that modern life starts off good, and gets worse. So if there is some life after death, then a pursuit of the best life (including the afterlife) may just involve suicide once you accomplish your spiritual goals on Earth.

    I just don't see too much utility in discussing that for this topic.
    Since much of our experience of this life depends of chemical reactions within our body, I think that we do not have a happier life with more material comforts. The pleasure centers of the brain don't work that way, which is why the super rich aren't the super happy. That's why people become shopping addicts, because the endorphins that give us a sense of happiness are limited.

    The spiritual masters teach how to gain happiness without the external stimuli of drugs, sex, or material acquisition.

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    Re: Were we better off before industrialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyOwnDrum View Post
    Since much of our experience of this life depends of chemical reactions within our body, I think that we do not have a happier life with more material comforts. The pleasure centers of the brain don't work that way, which is why the super rich aren't the super happy. That's why people become shopping addicts, because the endorphins that give us a sense of happiness are limited.

    The spiritual masters teach how to gain happiness without the external stimuli of drugs, sex, or material acquisition.
    I agree.
    I was just looking at a picture the other day of some peasants living in squalor in some godforsaken backwater... I believe it was in Tibet or the desert-y part of northern China.
    I mean, these weren't even peasants, these were nomads. They were tribal people, herding yaks or something. They didn't have a pot to piss in. They didn't have any teeth. There was dirt on their faces. They were wearing clothes that looked like they were woven out of moss or something.
    But they were smiling so big and genuine in this picture i saw.

    So I was just thinking along similar lines the other day.
    At first I was like, "Jeesh. How can they be happy?"
    Then I realized, they probably have plenty of comforts in their lives.
    They aren't what I'd consider "comfortable", because they're not what I was raised with.
    They're outside my realm of experience.
    But their lives are probably happy enough, from their point of view. Probably as happy as my life is, from mine. They'd probably just be weirded out, disoriented, and sad if we transported them here and stuck them in a suburban ranch home.

    Contentment with one's life is very much dependent on brain chemistry, and less dependent on external factors than one might assume.
    Last edited by 1069; 03-03-10 at 11:35 PM.

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    Re: Were we better off before industrialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by nerv14 View Post
    I don't think there is many people that would disagree with that.


    I am curious how you factor in that people live longer, and that there are more people today then there were before industrialization though. I consider those two things to be positives, even beyond happiness, that we have now compared with before industrialization
    Our lifespan isn't any longer, we've simply learned to reduce or eradicate death from certain diseases raising the average. We've greatly reduced death from CAD and heart attacks but we've greatly increased the occurrences of CAD and MCI. We've also seen huge increases in diabetes and weight related illness.
    Advances in medical technology is a good thing but the bad thing is we haven't really figured out how to avoid the worst parts of aging, nor how to live healthier since leaving the farms, so we live longer with problems that cause suffering but not death. So are we better off?

  7. #67
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    Re: Were we better off before industrialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by NoJingoLingo View Post
    Our lifespan isn't any longer, we've simply learned to reduce or eradicate death from certain diseases raising the average. We've greatly reduced death from CAD and heart attacks but we've greatly increased the occurrences of CAD and MCI. We've also seen huge increases in diabetes and weight related illness.
    Advances in medical technology is a good thing but the bad thing is we haven't really figured out how to avoid the worst parts of aging, nor how to live healthier since leaving the farms, so we live longer with problems that cause suffering but not death. So are we better off?
    What do you think that researchers are doing in the lab everyday? Looking for solutions to problems that kill people so that unappreciative commentators like you can live longer. Screw those researchers who are trying to extend our lives!

    And we haven't learned to live healthier? What were nutritionists doing in the 19th and 20th centuries?

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

  8. #68
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    Re: Were we better off before industrialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyOwnDrum View Post
    Since much of our experience of this life depends of chemical reactions within our body, I think that we do not have a happier life with more material comforts. The pleasure centers of the brain don't work that way, which is why the super rich aren't the super happy. That's why people become shopping addicts, because the endorphins that give us a sense of happiness are limited.

    The spiritual masters teach how to gain happiness without the external stimuli of drugs, sex, or material acquisition.
    I never contridicted any of that in my post,

    and I was talking about other parts of the debate anyway..

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    Re: Were we better off before industrialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    What do you think that researchers are doing in the lab everyday? Looking for solutions to problems that kill people so that unappreciative commentators like you can live longer. Screw those researchers who are trying to extend our lives!
    I think more of them are working on the next viagra/penis enlargement/baldness cure/or some other way to make big money. I think more of them are working on drugs that don't cure but maintain so that they have you as an ATM for years.

    I think University researchers are basically the only ones working on the really important things.

    And we haven't learned to live healthier? What were nutritionists doing in the 19th and 20th centuries?
    Trying to make a buck. You'd think we'd have figured that one out since we can look back at history and see how, if we could possibly live to be so old 100 years ago (assuming you didn't die from the plague or something similar).

  10. #70
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    Re: Were we better off before industrialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by NoJingoLingo View Post
    Our lifespan isn't any longer, we've simply learned to reduce or eradicate death from certain diseases raising the average. We've greatly reduced death from CAD and heart attacks but we've greatly increased the occurrences of CAD and MCI. We've also seen huge increases in diabetes and weight related illness.
    Advances in medical technology is a good thing but the bad thing is we haven't really figured out how to avoid the worst parts of aging, nor how to live healthier since leaving the farms, so we live longer with problems that cause suffering but not death. So are we better off?
    The elderly today are much healthier then the elderly in the past. Some of my grandparents are still very healthy, mentally and physically, and that would have been unheard of in the past. There are ways to avoid many of the effects of aging, but those require effort on behalf of the person. Medical technology is not free of effort. But I admit that is more debatable.

    But today many people live to become elderly when they would have died earlier in the past.

    Additionally, avoiding diseases and early death, is the same as increasing our lifespan any way you cut it though. Even contemporary diseases don't compare to the other diseases that have been elliminated.

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