It is a marvelous sight to watch life develop itself along with the passage of time. The complexity and ironic simplicity indeed proves to provoke intense thought process. It opens up a multitude of avenues for endless learning, supported by your ability to catch the underlying trends and to find the principles, waiting to be discovered amidst all the chaos of the progression of life.
Time passes on and generations upon generations come into existence, replacing the previous ones in their entirety. For example, much of the human behaviors, societal norms, acceptability of right and wrong and the overall way of life observes complete change as a new generation takes controls the reins of life.
It is interesting, to say the least, how all these human behaviors are met with change with each generation, how the societal norms mold themselves with time sometimes taking a completely new form and how what is considered openly acceptable (or vehemently opposed) by one generation is considered so repulsive (or whole-heartedly embraced) by another.
This prelude establishes one thing as a certainty: the world is in a constant state of motion not only in its literal sense but also with regards to its generally accepted ideas and concepts. As mentioned above, what made sense in one era is considered frivolous by another. It pays to get a hold of this point of view, take a step back and analyze the world progression on a broader scale. It makes the contradictions of the world quite understandable to you: the contradictions that we hold so near and dear to our hearts mistaking them for concrete notions, the seemingly factual truths that actually are slaves to the context that a given time has enforced upon them.
Let’s look into the factors that play into this scheme.
- Technological Development.
This is a fairly simple idea. With technological advancement, our entire lifestyle has seen massive transformation. The progress in technology has branched out its effects far beyond its own domain and deep into each facet of life. This has had a direct impact on all our ways of thinking. We have become uncontrollably receptive to an increased dosage of varied content through a myriad of mediums.
Another thing to realize is that most of the times, the impact technology has on our lives is not even in our control. Of course, you can manage something here, a few things there but as a whole, it almost imposes its will on you.
Such a context renders weak the ability to stay focused, to stay grounded and to think straight. The constant influx of a variety of ideas confuses the human being. With that, the human behavior, attitudes and perspectives go through a process of transformation over time and their foundations are completely shaken up ready to be replaced by the new roots. Whether it happens for good or bad can’t be sweepingly declared with certainty. We, as a race, have yet to catch up to the rapid technological progress that has taken place especially in the last few decades.
- Expansion of Cognitive Ability.
The previous point sheds a somewhat negative light on the progress that technology has made. We know that such a conclusion would be ludicrous. It is only one of the effects that technology has on our lifestyle. Another effect is closely linked with the current point under discussion.
The fact that we see stark differences in the mindsets of different generations could possibly be explained by one generation’s improved cognitive ability over the previous one. Apart from technological advancement, there are numerous elements that cause this expansion to happen. For instance, figuring out solutions to various societal problems through political or social struggles or finally getting over a social stigma that had no sound basis to support it. Such evolutionary mechanism slowly transforms people at large until a new generation comes up that holds totally opposing opinions and viewpoints.
- Increasing Human Desires.
It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that the humankind always wants more of everything. More, new and improved versions of everything from the food we eat to the devices we use. It also would not be wrong to say that in pursuit of satisfying our desires, humankind tends to carelessly cross healthy limits. This renders all rationality to die down and let emotions take control. Fuelled by unleashed desires, it becomes apparently acceptable to do all those things that are otherwise deemed unacceptable and inappropriate.
This basic human instinct properly keeps functioning at all times and thus, also causes the sacred ideas of one generation to turn into worthless pieces of information for the next.
- The Instinct to Survive.
Another human instinct and probably the strongest of them all is that of survival. When you find yourself in a precarious situation that threatens your survival, all the principles that are usually followed in normal circumstances become ineffective.
This point is directly linked with the discussion of morality and whether it is something real or not. In the situations as described just now, it’s actually morality that is turned upside down. What follows after that is a thorough smacking suffered by several other societal norms and codes of conduct.
Here, it needs to be kept in mind that as survival is one of the basic human instincts, every generation gets overpowered by it and that’s why, a big section of every following generation does some things that are considered heinous by the standards of any other generation and yet in a given moment, it is not frowned upon.
Related: Human Morality: A Philosophical Take
A topic so vast and deep needs a hugely significant amount of time to explore and discover all the hidden truths about it. It greatly helps to analyze these patterns over a timespan of centuries and beyond. It exposes the fragile fabric of human society and lets us know how we could be proven wrong even about the very basic ways in which we approach life. It also uncovers countless universal trends and the knowledge from that can then be translated for refined action in present times. The Rational Perspective will surely do such an analysis in the future and share the gathered insights here with all of you.