Why its easier to be alive now than ever before in human history.
By Ryan Bogner (Producer, Wingnut)
Modern life is stressful. Our jobs, lives, demands, bombardments of advertising and information clutter our brains to the point where its easy to forget that right now, if you are an American that has some kind of income and a place to live, your life is probably better, safer and easier than almost any human being that has ever lived, ever. In the history of the planet earth.
Cultural progress is amazing, and when you're living at a time that is the result of literally millenea of it, its easy to lose perspective on where we have come from as a species and a civilization.
That's not to say that a lot of stuff couldn't be significantly better, ( that's the point of progress, continually trying to make it better) but I'm going to reflect for a moment here some of the ways that life sucked a hell of a lot more in the past and what we've accomplished to overcome them.
-We used to be at the mercy of hungry animals. If we wanted food we had to forage for it or kill it ourselves.
-Any disease our own immune system couldn't handle= death. (yay antibiotics and modern medicine)
-If you wanted to travel any distance unless you were living after the invention of the wheel or on a continent with horses you'd have to walk and even then it would take you months and half the people you were with would probably die. (see Nicole above)
-There was a time when we didn't even have written language...now the almost the entirety of all the written material by our species is available to us instantly on a device in our pocket.
Its also easy to forget that most of the modern conviences we have have only been integrated into everyday life in the past 150 years...our race has been on the planet for 200,000.
Flush Toilets- 1890s
Germ Theory of Disease- 1890s
Electric Washing Machine- 1904
Electric Lighting in homes- 1900-1910s
Air Conditioning with Freon- 1928
Penicillin and Antibiotics-1928
Freezers in the home- 1940s
Interstate Highway system- 1956
ATMs and credit cards with magnetic stripes- 1960s
Personal Computers- 1980s
First Graphical Web Browser-1993
Mapping of the Human Genome completed- 2000
You get the idea. So, depending on how old you are, your grandparent's parents or grandparents had to poop outside, hand wash their clothes, didn't know that disease was caused by microscopic organisims, had no way of preserving their food more than a day and used gas lamps or candles for lighting.
I'm so happy to be living in the future.
RYAN BOGNER is a New York based Theater Producer. He has produced Yeast Nation, Here Lies Love, Hurricane and Hey, You Know What Movie Would Make a Good Musical? among others, and is working towards an MFA in Theater Management and Producing at Columbia University. www.heyyouknowwhatproductions.com