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Are things getting better?

Are things getting better than they were 5, 10, 50 years ago? With social media being the center of every modern civilization, a cute cat clip and horrifying tale from too-close-to-home is all a click away. Yes, we have clearly evolved for the better in a lot of aspects but has our common sense and moral compass forgotten us into believing that the world is better now more than ever?

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    Apr 10 2014: Dan, the world is as same as the way it used to be. Only a few changes in technology. Everything is same old same old. It depends on you how you take it.

    And as you've asked me, things have always been great for me. I wake up with a new opportunity even when I am struggling. And I sleep at peace that I've tried.
  • Apr 14 2014: The thing will be better when people around the world start to smile, help and be polite with the other no matter the skin, religion, or beauty. Dont try to change the world, but try to change the day of the people around you at the bus, in your job, at your school and at home. One world, one action, one minute and you light up the day for someone who maybe need it. And you also light up your day too.
    If things be like this thw world will be change for good.
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    Apr 9 2014: I guess things getting better or worse are in the eye of the beholder. "Tis nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so." -Shakespeare
    Here are a lot of things to consider though: In the U.S, the middle class is getting wiped out. Median wages are stagnant. There are more people on welfare than ever before. 1 in 5 children face hunger (I drive by this billboard every day and it irks me). University tuition is out of control (even then there are a lot of underemployed/unemployed people). $1 trillion of student debt. Great hour long video by the way by Thom Hartmann about this. Inflation on every day items (gas, food, etc.) is going up. While poverty is decreasing throughout the world, we have an immense strain on resources and ecosystems (even our own TEDster Ken Robinson made a good reference to it in a talk at UVU). There is a sense of global uprising: occupy wall street, the arab spring, etc. has come and gone. Personally, I think our moral compass has gone off course. In regards to social media, I can't believe the amount of views of some videos. There's something wrong in our society when a very informative/educational video gets only a few thousand views and something else that probably decreases your intellect gets millions. I think bottom line is what Richard Wilkinson says, "Are you growing up in a world where you will have to fight for what you can get, watch your back and learn not to trust others because we are all rivals, or are you growing up in a world where you will depend on cooperation, reciprocity and mutuality?"
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    Apr 8 2014: Dan, That would totally depend on who you ask and on what they judge their opinion on. Is the question locally, state wide, national, global?????? It would differ on educational level, racial background, economic situation, etc ...

    A person in the USA who is receiving many subsidies while not working would say things are pretty good while I am paying more taxes and my insurance rates just tripled to help pay for the "freebies" they receive may say it ain't all that.

    For those who never question anything ... life is what life is daily ... for those who are still capable of thought ask how did you arrive at those numbers ... why are you exempt from those laws ... why are you the new elite .... where did 17 trillion dollars go ... do you have a recovery plan .... a budget plan ... etc

    What have we learned from history ... nothing ... and we are doomed to repeat all of the tragic errors made.

    Do things look good in the short term or long term.

    If I spend all my paycheck partying on Friday night ... things are great until I wake up on Saturday.

    You can only lie to the people for so long and then they find out what all of the hidden cost and impacts are ...

    So are we better ... that is for history to judge. As a older person I think we are going in the wrong direction ... I have never seen this poor of leadership on all levels ... I see hardship in the future.

    However the CWI / CIT world of socialists endorsed all of the stuff .... think about that.
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    W. Ying

    • +2
    Apr 12 2014: .
    Getting worse!

    Our bio-evolution can never catch up with them.
    • Apr 13 2014: We cannot physically evolve the mutations required to live in an environment that results from Unsustainable Economic Growth and Anthropogenic Global Warming.
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        Apr 20 2014: .
  • May 5 2014: ...I feel it is getting fruit gifted by God without peels, so as the life...every era and time has their social and moral challenges, this time do has its own...but it's going better...evolving better...

    ...common sense has never been common, how it can be now...though ignorance is less now, awareness is more...we are not living on an island of social, religious or political belief...we are is better than ever...

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    May 5 2014: I really thought about this question and to an extent I think parts of our live have improved. We can now from the comfort of our home browse thousands of articles, videos and pictures and connect with people from around the world. However through all of this social media we loose the face to face contact with people. How many people have 500+ friends on facebook and yet still feel lonely. Are we really moving forward in the sense that we interact more over the internet than in real life
  • Apr 22 2014: As the global human population grows the average human being becomes older and wiser.
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    Apr 12 2014: To answer this question, you would have to define what "getting better" actually means. What is the benchmark ? What parameters are you comparing.
    In general, looking back in time, some things certainly got better but others got worse.
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    Apr 10 2014: We are almost at the point where the mistakes of history have been leading us.

    Things aren't really better or worse they are just piling up like the trash that we accumulate and don't have a solution for.

    In the history of human existence we haven't figured out how to coexist without war, that's a sad reality.
    In the history of human existence we haven't eliminated famine nor disease.
    In the history of human existence we haven't stopped suffering in any of its forms.
    Throughout the history of human existence people including children and even infants have been brutalized and/or killed.
    Throughout the history of human existence people have diligently worked on refining their skills and become better and more adept at lying, cheating, and scheming.

    Are we doomed to repeat history's mistakes? Absolutely!! But that's not enough. We have to outdo historical figures. We have to top them and figure out where they failed in their attempts to achieve maximum destruction so that we can do a far better job of annihilation.

    I wouldn't say that things are getting better. I would say things are coming to a head and I think a big change is somewhere on the horizon. We're moving closer to it every day and right now it feels like the bad decisions and destructive behavior is just accelerating the process because people are having a much harder time choosing not to see it. Ignorance isn't really an option any more.
    • Apr 11 2014: " Ignorance isn't really an option any more."

      Agreed !
      ' Know thyself ' would be the option, i think. :)
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    Apr 8 2014: The world is perfect as it is.
    How else can it be?
    • Apr 10 2014: Theodore

      i am taken with your laconic answer. It does leave a couple of questions. Please define perfect, as opposed to other possibly imperfect planets. Perhaps, the state of being of our world is the perfection you speak to. That it exists is perfection and cannot exist otherwise. Does such perfection, as you note, indicate a perfect creator?
  • Apr 8 2014: Sometimes yes, sometimes not.
  • May 7 2014: As for my country, I could say - "Yes".
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    May 7 2014: No, I'm still as broke as I was five minutes ago.
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    May 6 2014: Inventions and technologies dont make the world better. Humanity determines by their choices (as individuals and communities) to make the world a home or some hell.
    The importance of human relationship is often underestimated; and that is a fatal choice.
    I dont think the world is any better or any worse. It is still a mix of good and evil as it was in the 16th century.
  • May 5 2014: Near things are getting far and far things are getting near. you dont know your neighbour but you surely know someone in Netherlands... lol !!
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    May 5 2014: It depends if your baseline outlook on life and reality is viewed through the lens of pessimism or optimism. Both can have equal clarity and legitimacy. Pessimism feels real for the pessimist and optimism feels real for the optimist.

    The world is going its own way, and like it or not, our view of it is coloured by populist opinion-formers. Nowadays, that is the media. If we listen too hard to the so-called "moral compass" and "common sense" as espoused by popular media sources, then the collective bias will inevitably be towards pessimism and the feeling that the world is much worse now than it used to be.

    I suspect that if we stopped reading newspapers and watching TV, shelve our erroneous technology, and instead meet people face to face, and get our hands dirty again, then even the most die-hard pessimist will turn optimist in a very, very short time. And the world (which remember, is just going it's own way), will feel just fine.
  • May 5 2014: Yes you can say that in a way it all about how you want to look up thing that matter now If I want to see my friend I just see his account and I will know what he/she is doing that was the basic idea of it and yes there is a bigger picture of it we think we are close to someone but in reality we don't know anything about anyone we are just telling our mind we know about him/her but we don't this is really effecting people way of thinking we are helping each other less and the crime is at the limit. form there you can say that people are the same but these thing are effecting our way of thinking.
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    May 5 2014: Yes, it's going much better.
    Hunger and extreme poverty are way down. Maternal and infant mortality is down. Primary school enrollment is way up, with gender inequality being down. The middle class is for the first time over 50% of population. Violence is in decline, with both wars and crime rates heading down. Per capita food availibility is up, as is energy per capita. And the world is getting greener. A lot less people die of Aids and Malaria and other diseases. Peoples healthy longevity is up. Illiteracy is down.


    Why pessimism is the prevalent vision, I do not know.
  • May 5 2014: "No fruit without peel."
  • May 1 2014: Good question. I'd like to think my moral compass is still pointing in the right direction. The more I learn, the more I seem to perceive both suffering and happiness around me, and it is necessary to be aware of when to shut my eyes so I still have something to give to others. In 7th to 9th grade I became quite aware of the state of the planet and I used to worry quite a bit. It was mostly about ecological disasters lurking around the corner, whereas in recent years social injustice is what gets to me. The world is still being polluted and my daily life still goes on, so it seems necessary to shut those thoughts off from time to time. It may sound calculating, but on the other hand I can be more generous this way; assist yourself before assisting others. I think every generation has its own worries, its own egocentric individuals and its own generous individuals, but history keeps repeating itself in a comforting way and nothing is new under the sun. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to learn from past mistakes, though, even a little.
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    May 1 2014: Indicators if things are getting better:

    1) Is the air we breathe and the water we drink getting cleaner? NO
    2) Are the foods we consume healthier and more affordable? NO
    3) Is K-12 education getting better? NO
    4) Is college education more affordable? NO
    5) Is health care more accessible and affordable? NO
    6) Is decent housing more affordable? NO
    7) Are we paying lower taxes? NO
    8) Are our communities safer and healthier to live in? NO
    9) Is the relationship among countries better? NO
    10) Is the world a safer and healthier place to live in? No
  • May 1 2014: If dying is breaking even, I wouldn't worry about it...
  • May 1 2014: Well, as Saad said "the world is as same as the way it used to be ,Only a few changes in technology." The keyword is technology, as technology gets better , our possibilities get better.But sometimes improvement in science cause more harm than benefit.

    So technology changes human life but it depends on one if it change good or bad.
  • Apr 30 2014: I think life continues it's inevitable ups and doewns. We are currently in a down period as our current society has gone from a moral foundatiion to one based solely on money. Morality is no longer honorted as it should be. Costs are going up as are human frictions and wars. What has technology brought us? More human alienation and disintegration. All compassion for fellow humans is disappearing and with it we are quickly falling into the corruption and moral decay of the Roman Empire and all past great civilizations. It's a continual up and doewn of societies.
  • Apr 29 2014: Hi Dear Dan,I think things here are better than they were five,ten year,but not sure fifty-years.Becauseit seems fifty-years ago it is too far for me to know more.So I don't like myself to judge better or worse:)

    No,I think the world is stiall far away to be better now more than ever,but living in not flawless world is always lucky,don't you think so?:)
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    Apr 29 2014: I think it's a give and take world .
    We give up privacy for faster shopping .
    We give up privacy for quicker restaurant searches .

    We give up time with our kids so we can work more , internet ,email ,voice mail ,texts etc..
    We give up the country life ( simple farming ) for the city life ,,better jobs .

    We gave up simple car repairs ( shade tree mechanics ) for computer based automobiles .
    We gave up barber shops for hair styles .

    I guess i could go on and on , from my stand point it's just life, things change .
    I like inflated rubber tires and metal wheels verses wooden wagon wheels .
    Yes I have rode in a wagon with wooden wheels .
    Horses do eat grass ,gas is expensive .

    Mp3 players much better than an 8 track or even a cassette tape .( google it )
    GOOGLE search faster than the encyclopedia .

    I am going to stop .
    I think life is just getting better I know I feel younger ,smarter ,am more physically fit definitely more computer savvy and some would say better looking ,( not sure about that ) than five (5) years ago .

    Go figure.

    Great question ,and debate .
    thanks for letting me ramble on ...
    one of the prizes of getting older .
  • Apr 28 2014: I think the world will end just like the wall-e movie
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    Apr 26 2014: It depends on what we consider 'better' means. Lifespan is longer, education is (in average) better, health, lifestyle, sports, clothes, glasses, technology, and all this stuff is better than fitty or than five hundred years ago, for example. Quality of food, means of transport, weather forescast or e-books; a lot of things are better than years ago.
    However, human behaviour hasn't changed so fairly. We can be very violent and develop bad behaviours if we want to, just like in old ages, and on the other hand, it's true than we haven't invented politeness now.
    My answer is: Yes. Things are now better than when I was a child. Undoubtedly.
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    Apr 26 2014: I think that things are going on.
    In the future, we can use our past experience, skip past mistakes, but there will be a plenty of new situation, so things are getting more different, and there will be enough space for learning more. :)
    And, of course, things are the part of your perception- and the way we see them (good, bad, ok...) creates your view of the things. Everything can be good, if you want to view it that way.
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    Apr 25 2014: i think things are getting better because we learn from the past. Plus the average lifespan is increasing
  • Apr 24 2014: Gee Dan, If I could date things. We all got had, Today. April 23, 2014.
    I think things "may not" be getting better...

    I took the bus today to see my doctor. A new sight inside the bus greeted me.
    7 or 8 Bumper Sticker sized signs permanently fixed in place.

    Yes, there was a Camera pointed towards the passengers.
    The Driver may have felt better protected, but I felt a bit George Orwellianized...
    I've never read or heard of a bus in my county being hijacked, nor any Drivers
    mugged. The discussion between passengers turned to the NSA. I have to
    admit I started that conversation.

    The bus I rode home on, had no stickers yet, nor cameras. This is brand new.
    Face it folks, the US government has been usurped while we have been sleeping.

    Biggest Budgets are for the national defense, and for Prisons. A revolving door for
    politicians and staff members to become Lobbyists, and then back to campaigning,
    and money raising.

    NSA and CIA Spying and Surveillances world-wide of 96% of the world's
    populations with all those 150+ Leased US Military bases inside foreign nations.
    Haven't any of you ever wondered why we lease so many locations?
    Okinawa ask us to leave over the last 5 years, but we still have Military bases there.
    The DHS and FBI have identical Spying and Surveillances within the US, Nation-wide.
    We Americans are innocent victims making up the 4% of the world's populations.

    Our common sense seems to have been shunted aside by Hollywood's news media that
    sold us Obama for two terms, and plan on selling us the aged Hillary Clinton, or Jeb Bush,
    for a couple more. John Kerry might try again, and get the job, with the right PR firms.
    This is the same media that sold us Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, and Cheney.

    The Democrat and Republican party leader's kept the media selling them all, to us.
    We drank like guppies. While they lowered the axe.
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    Apr 24 2014: First, I would like to say that it's quite obvious that things are getting much better, but I'd like to talk about the factors that go into the modern perception of the world.
    First is 24-Hour News. With news networks running out of things to talk about, they do what they do best, which is to take small, harmless stories completely out of context in order to sensationalize them because these networks get the greatest amount of views when the population is panicked. As a result, the only news pieces that really get any worthwhile coverage are either fluff pieces or moral panics, such as violent video games. Did you know that we have a potential cure for HIV? I found that out from a non-fiction comedy website that cites reputable sources, rather than any news network out there.
    Of course, if we are looking at factors that contribute to negative perception over positive reality, one cannot ignore one's own tendencies. For instance, when we think of ways the world could be better, we don't compare it to any realistic thing, we instead use a false ideal in our head that couldn't possibly be real. We also complain about how the rich never seem to give to the poor when in fact that does happen, it's just in our case we're the rich ones giving jobs to the poor in places like China and India, who are just starting to be on a level of wealth that we're all on. It's really weird, I know, but it's a part of human nature, and we just need to accept that we're doing good, whether we like it or not.


    Feel better?
    • Apr 23 2014: Don't give up, try anyway, it will give you something to do. What about a poem that contains the word "DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!"? You could be creative like this: "D:O(:O(:O(M!"
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    Apr 22 2014: Condition of modern civilization, past, present, and future.
    Condition of individual, past, present, and future.
    Internet exposes worldly knowledge and news. This does not mean have to consider whole world when living day to to day life.
    Being able to observe progress of world as a whole, and progress of individual, as 2 separate things is valuable; Because considering worldly information and knowledge can be daunting, when considering progress made by individual.
  • Apr 22 2014: I believe societal fragmentation is increasing........the degree to which we feel separated from one another, whether as individuals or nations. There is a part of me that believes the increasing trend is a GOOD thing for we humans really do not transform until the poope' really hits the fan. We've run hard and long on FAITH. Doubt is beginning to creep in in heavy heavy doses.....doubt in leaders, doubt in borders and boundaries on every level, doubt in our Walmartish tendencies, doubt in rugged individualism, doubt in the American Success Story, etc etc etc.

    It is possible that extreme doubt will lead to a greater and greater refinement of what is truly to be Valued in life. To take another's values and run with it is easy reflect on what one Truly values, we turn INWARD. The vast majority of folks continue to look OUTWARD. The pendulum will swing.......or it will stop altogether.
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    Apr 22 2014: Things are just the way they are. Not any better, not any worse. It is human beings that gives the world its character; not technology, not inventions.
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    Apr 22 2014: Things are just the way they are. Not any better, not any worse. It is human beings that gives the world its character; not technology, not inventions.
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    Apr 21 2014: If "Moore's Law" rings true for the next ten years... things will inevitably get better! And not just in the developed world, but for humanity as a whole.
  • Apr 21 2014: Our expectations has increased faster then our knowledge to use technology and wisdom. Every one wants better life by others giving them better salaries or Government helping them or others helping them. We have become beggars and cry babies.

    If you are on hard time there is two road can take. One try his best to get work that he can get at a time and place. Or He can turn into beggar. We have created a society of entitlement. To go through hard time is the way often character and knowledge is accumulated,

    When I was young one wise man gave me a poetry by Kipling titled, :"WHEN NATURE WANTS TO MAKE A MAN.:" It has been very helpful to me to keep my compass in right direction no matter when I was homeless or when I had lots of money.

    I wish every one can learn we can live on less , much less then we think we need to live. That is the other way not to feel poor. People in third word do it all the time and keep their sense of being.
  • Apr 20 2014: Nope, nope, nope. Everything is getting worse and has always been getting worse since the first appearance of modern humans over 100,000 years ago. Everything since then has been completely downhill. Human society, culture, and civilization all reached their zenith back then and nothing has ever been nearly as good ever since.

    Just ask anybody who's become lazy enough to allow themselves to get bitter and old on the inside.
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    Apr 14 2014: Hi Dan,

    Your question is vague; so it can only be answered on the same level, ie: vaguely (by subjective general impressions).

    On the other hand, one could posit the theory that Mankind is slowly evolving to a higher state of consciousness but you need a time-scale of 1000s of years to justify this - a 50 year blip is insufficient.

    So that leaves one with faith in order to answer your question. My "faith" is that the universe is essentially benign (rather then malevolent), and therefore very slowly "getting better" despite apparent evidence to the contrary.
  • Apr 14 2014: I think if we work towards getting people out and detoured from prison we could save millions and work to rebuild our country
  • Apr 14 2014: I can only speak for America. Things are stagnant.
    The Elite 1% is back in control, where they were in 1929.

    Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

    And today, the Military's Intelligence communities are almost at the take charge point.
    We continue to fund them with almost unlimited black budgets. 850,000 world-wide.
    Congressional Oversight is 15 Senators with an 80 year old chairwoman running things.

    Today, only 10 men select who runs the Government. They pay for change, and pay well.

    Sheeple are bleating, but quietly. I'm feeling a bit edgy folks.
    • Apr 21 2014: Frank:

      No country I know fears more than USA. And I have traveled widely and talked to ordinary people.

      Secondly we think our way is right even often we have sharp disagreement in USA.

      We think people of other nations are stupid and we are smart. A fallacy.

      Our democracy is not perfect and it has not worked for many countries to reach their goals.

      When world was poor we can walk with dollars in pocket and thought we can buy anyone and anything and we bought lots of head of state or armies of foreign nations.

      I am a great admirer of Hillary Clinton. But for her to go to foreign countries and give lecture on the subject of their poverty on issue was ridiculous. She should have look at her own situation and Bill's behavior. An then we have Gore and Gary Hart and Edward. And then we have statistics and lately lots of confessionals by famous women. Why not lecture here and confront each and everyone who played women.
      • Apr 21 2014: Raj, What I am going to write I cannot prove.
        Things happened many years ago. When I was doing business in stocks.
        I know that a Broker can churn and burn clients, making money for some,
        and losing money for others. Hillary made a small investment and got
        a huge return in a short period of time. I am of the opinion that Hillary Clinton's
        Broker defrauded his other clients so Hillary could make money in the market.
        Hillary, no dummy, knew. That makes her a thief. My opinion. I am in the
        minority to hold her in such disrespect.

        Such people as this are today running our nation, into the ground.
        The reason is greed, and they do it because they can.

        Voters have needed to clean house for many years.
        But the powerful Democrat and Republican party Leaders meet behind closed doors
        and select our new State and Federal geographical government Leaders.

        Because of the past moral indiscretions, selections are carefully Vetted, before final
        selection for future campaigns. The 2 parties solicit monies and pay a well controlled
        media to enhance their selections to the voters. This is how highly paid professional
        campaigns are run. Later, Conventions allow the most popular selections to campaign
        against one another. After the elections, and the Voters decide, the winners head for
        State and Federal governmental offices.

        When those elected do well, they become very Wealthy, and upon their retirement, they
        can sit at the Democrat and Republican Leader's tables, and meet behind closed doors
        to select the new Leaders of America..

        In America, the 2 Political Parties split the running of our geographical government.
        Neither party's Leadership cares who wins. They decided long ago who was available
        and controllable.

        You don't have to believe me. But, you ALL know it is true.
  • Apr 13 2014: In the short term: much better

    In the long term: we are approaching a terrible precipice.
  • Apr 13 2014: In my opinion,things ostensibly are getting better,however,if we consider it as a sustainable world,things just get worse and worse.

    I am a nostalgic person,I always thought how harmonious and perfect the world will be if we live in pre-history forever. No pollution,no nuclear weapon,no discrimination at all.
  • Apr 13 2014: "If a hundred bad things are coming, ninety nine will vanish and you can handle one"- Keith W Henline
    "God does not give us more than we can handle, we do"- Keith W Henline

    Better is an individual thing, if you think things are better, that becomes your reality as surely as the night follows the day. Our reality is created first in our mind and then played out like a skit.
    "The mind is a stream of images that we act upon as if they were true"- Keith W Henline
  • Apr 12 2014: Every coin has its two faces . one is good and other is bad. if todays technology makes our world better then on other hand it also causes world wars . people start hating each other, trying to kill every one.
    so we cannot say that world it better , it is same as it was , just the risk and comfort level increases.
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    Apr 12 2014: What would change if we knew?
  • Apr 12 2014: And this is why I mostly stay out of TED, there are 34 comments here and many have been TEDsters for very long. So they should know better than their comments suggest.

    There are plenty of TED TALKS!!!!!!!!! That demonstrate that the world is getting better. But I've shared those so many times on here with people commenting and it still hasn't sunk in so I'll just give you the 4 minute version since people here seem fit in not taking in information but just advancing what they already believe.

    I present you with the most prominent TED speaker Hans Rosling:

    "Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - The Joy of Stats - BBC Four"

    And here's his speaker profile, check the 9 Talks.

    And now I will leave and wont return in a year, this place continues to stay it's course of unthoughtful opinion spewing.
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    Apr 12 2014: Dan,
    This topic question has been round and round many times. As you insightfully say...information is a click away. One CHOOSES what s/he wants to click on and how s/he will use the information.

    You are the judge for yourself, as we all are, regarding forgetting, evaluating our personal moral compass and common sense, and believing that the world is better now than ever before.....or not.

    One thing that I am aware of, is that abuse and violation of human rights thrives in isolation. Our communication systems are now allowing us to expose abuse and violation of human rights in various parts of our world, and I think/feel that is a good thing because we cannot change situations without knowing about them.
  • Apr 12 2014: Things getting better are an Illusion, The reality is that things are getting worst.

    In what ways we have evolved ? Have we evolved in a good way or a bad way . By merely saying that we have evolved does not means that things are getting better.

    Cut throat competitions has increased . Family system is disintegrating , its heading towards the destruction . MONEY has taken the central role for everything .

    MONEY Is the new GOD.

    Here is the prayer for Money.


    You are my father,
    You are my mother,
    You are my nurturer,
    You are my caretaker,
    You are my relationship Builder,
    You are my GOD,
    You are my GURU,
    You are my everything.
  • Apr 12 2014: Brave New World is closer than you may think. One soon will be a drone in the colony of honey bee.
  • Apr 12 2014: Well i think that, from humanity´s point of view chaos is worse than order and based on science and entropy, the universe is always growing to chaos and so does society, so we´re bound to get worse.
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    Apr 11 2014: Dan
    I am not so sure that things are getting better, I know it's a personal perception but as I look back over the last 50 and more years and just looking from my little corner of the world what do I see....
    Well, although the allies declared victory in WW2, the pushing and shoving between the participants is still going on... the Berlin wall has moved from Germany to the Ukraine among other incidents... not such a satisfactory conclusion,
    In America, we formed vast bureaucracies and laws to solve a number of social ills... We established a Department of Education and our public education level has fallen behind 30 other countries. We set up a Department of Health and Human Services and Americans have become less and less healthy, A Department of Housing and Urban Affairs and have Detroit, South Chicago and East Los Angeles as shining examples. A war on poverty and there are more poor then ever. A war on Drugs? Sure, that went well.... A civil rights law was passed.... ask the beneficiaries if they feel less discrimination...
    None of these social actions were attempted out of malice, they are just an acknowledgement that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But here is why I contend that things are not getting better... My country continues these programs expending more funds, growing the bureaucracies and making matters worse.
    But, too many of my fellow countrymen who want these concerns addressed, continue to support those leaders who perpetuate the status quo... things are not getting better....
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    Apr 11 2014: for me, right now, the world is perfect.

    I agree with C Dennis, it's all in the mind of the ponderer.
    • Apr 12 2014: Which world is perfect ? Because there exists many worlds on this planet earth.
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        Apr 13 2014: i'm referring to my world. it's the most relevant one to me and it's the one I'm the most well versed in :)
  • Apr 11 2014: What 'things'? Technology is advancing making life more comfortable for many. Conversly, we've lost our human 'nature' to these comforts and its making us sick in both mind and body. Our attempts to 'correct' this lack of harmony has created abominable distortions of ourselves turning that which is noble and beautiful in us to grotesque mockaries of life, love and power. Humanity uses tools, we aren't obliged to BE tools. We can't cure all the diseases. We shouldn't. We've already murdered all of our other preadators. I'm not voluntering for the Spanish Flu, but there are simply to many of us. We can't sleep because the lights are on all night. Generations of electric buzzing birthed a brood of young incapable of percieving the world around them over the noise. Are we getting better? Are things getting better. Social media is 'bringing people together' unless they are a family at the dinner table conversing with someone on the other side of the globe because they can't stand the person 3feet from them. There's more food for some than there has ever been and its killing them as surely as famine. Metabolic ailments and a stress not seen in our species since the stone age kill us. And in return we got cable. Yes, things got better. The problem is we didn't.
  • Apr 11 2014: If you think, things are getting better, be sure, some things are getting worse.
    The world is perfectly balanced.
    • Apr 12 2014: To create BALANCE is the key law of the nature. That's why the nature has created most of the things in pairs.

      Up=Down,Love=War,Death=Life and so on .. . . .
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    Apr 11 2014: Our lives have certainly become more public due to technology. That same technology has given us access to huge amounts of information. We can truely stand on the shoulders of giants but some times it might be a rickety old wooden box.

    Part of me longs for the simpler life I knew when I was a kid ( in the 60s).
    • Apr 12 2014: Although technology has given access to huge amounts of information. But, information is information it cannot substitute for other human aspects like love,compassion,caring,nurturing,emotions, emotional support,intuition.
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    Apr 11 2014: It is the best of times and the worst of times, as it always has been and always will be, forever and ever.
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    Apr 10 2014: IMO, it's a little bit over-simplified question (I think also you are actually saying this in your opening remarks). Surely many things are getting better because of our mental evolution and the scientific & technological development. But then the next questions are jumping straight forward.

    Are our mental, scientific and technological developments creating new challenges and posing new problems in front of us ?? Are we handling properly these new challenges ?? May these new challenges jeopardize the entire human existence in an unprecedented manner due to the unprecedented power the humanity gains over the nature through the Sci & Tec development ?? Are we capable to handle our mental evolution successfully and keep it coherent with the Sci & Tec evolution ?? Because if not, the higher prospects are that the Sci & Tec evolution is going to cause as much damage as benefits.

    So even we suppose that things are getting better in the present, this cannot assure anything about the future. The reality is always dynamic and so the answer to source question is also dynamic.
    • Apr 12 2014: How we are experiencing Mental Evolution ? Could you please explain ?
      • Apr 12 2014: Growing knowledge.
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        Apr 13 2014: Growing experience, growing knowledge, growing understanding of things, growing insights which lead all together to the expansion of consciousness. The expansion of consciousness is the fuel for mental evolution. What path this mental evolution takes -- good or bad -- is dependent on the choices and decisions we make.
  • Apr 10 2014: Yes things getting better but our life might still be more stressful today than it was years before, things doesn't effect on our happiness :(
  • Apr 10 2014: "What you think you become"- Buddha

    Better is a relative perspective.
  • Apr 9 2014: Billy Joel in the song, "Keeping the faith"

    You know the good ole days weren't always good
    And tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems

    I think we like to think everything is a straight line growth but it is actually a wave form with up and downs hopefully with a trending line that goes up.
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    Gord G

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    Apr 9 2014: I believe life is in constant flux, and better or worse is a value judgement open to interpretation. That's why I think what we need to ask ourselves is… are we becoming more compassionate?

    I feel open communication helps us recognize our common humanity. Which in turn allows us to make decisions based on mutual understanding rather than fear and ignorance.
    • Apr 12 2014: The day we human beings will do open communication without fear, ignorance,ridicule, and understanding each other and understanding each others situations and circumstances, then that day will be the beginning of the things getting better.
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        Gord G

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        Apr 12 2014: Absolutely. Unfortunately the sentiment is often rhetoric phrased in the editorial "we". I think it's sometimes forgotten that kindness and tolerance is an individual choice that constantly challenges us in our day to day lives. I know I struggle at times. I'll find myself in traffic after a stressful day and a perceived infraction will cause the anger to rise. Or I'll have an encounter with someone who is in a bad mood, and I'll have to stop myself from engaging in a negative confrontation. It's not easy.

        I think it's more difficult when there's a feeling of disconnection. World politics is complex, where trust is guarded at best. It can be overwhelming. I affect some change, but ultimately many decisions are beyond my reach (or my country's reach). So I try to be mindful of my immediate surroundings and do my best to remain open and kind. I'm not always successful but at least I feel I am trying to make a difference.

        The odd thing is… we're one thought away from world harmony. Of course the problem is, we have to act on it simultaneously.

        I'm going to keep trying to be better.
  • Apr 8 2014: Short term, I think yes our civilisation as a whole is slowly improving. But long term? I think there are some MAJOR issues that we refuse to even address. If not resolved, these could potentially be our downfall
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    Apr 8 2014: sure things are getting better. I read that the number of world population under the poverty line keeps decreasing.
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    Apr 8 2014: It depends on who you ask:

    The middle-class squeeze is the situation where increases in wages fail to keep up with inflation for middle-income earners, while at the same time, the phenomenon fails to have a similar impact on the top wage earners. Persons belonging to the middle class find that inflation in consumer goods and the housing market prevent them from maintaining a middle-class lifestyle, making downward mobility a threat to counteract aspirations of upward mobility. In the United States for example, middle-class income is declining while many staple products are increasing in price, such as energy, education, housing, and insurance.

    Charles Weston summarizes the middle-class squeeze in this way: "Being middle class used to mean having a reliable job with fair pay; access to health care; a safe and stable home; the opportunity to provide a good education for one’s children, including a college education; time off work for vacations and major life events; and the security of looking forward to a dignified retirement. But today this standard of living is increasingly precarious. The existing middle class is squeezed and many of those striving to attain the middle-class standard find it persistently out of reach." This squeeze is also characterized by the fact that, since the early 1980s, when European integration got into full swing, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom have experienced strong real wage growth, while real wage growth in the United States has remained sluggish for the most part. From 1979 to 1995, hourly wages declined among men in almost every occupational category apart from the highest paid white-collar professions.

    As noted by the British historian and journalist Godfrey Hodgson, "On the basis of such evidence I myself have written that “by all statistical measures . . . the United States, in terms of income and wealth, is the most unequal country in the world.
  • Apr 8 2014: We are definitely better than we were 50 years ago, I certainly prefer the civil rights for everybody and the fact that we don't actively suppress socialists, etc. We are better than 10 years ago because the western world is not in the middle of a rage against Islam, other than that we aren't very different morality-wise. We are better off than 5 years ago because that's right after the start of a recession.

    The human story is the story of change, and improvement, everything improves with time. I don't see what social media has to do with it. It's not like common sense and morality have suddenly blinked out of existence either. The truth is we get off on being cynical because it feels like we know something no one else does - that the world is falling apart and that we're surrounded by sheep - when nothing could be further from the truth.