It's no doubt that the life we are living now has changed compared to the past regardless of whether we are talking about minor changes like the passion and love of people towards music and art or major changes like transportation or communication. In any case, we must acknowledge that we live in a different world and that as time passes by, it will continue to evolve, with nothing we can do but appreciate that everything is changing for the better. So what has changed throughout the decades or centuries? We’ll cover the evolution of time with topics ranging from technology, communication, lifestyle and mindsets.
According to Aaron Frank, technology is one of the most significant advances in human history over the last decade. If you were to compare phones from ten years ago and the latest iPhone, you could fill in an entire A4 sheet with their differences. Technology has made our lives so much easier, according to Alaoui Mohamed, travelling around the world has never been easier or more comfortable thanks to aeroplanes, ferries and automobiles. Travelling from one place to another in ancient times was only possible with camels or other animals such as horses or donkeys.
Photo from: Old Indian Photos
Let's talk about the Internet. With faster connections and Wi-fi, watching videos and downloading files has never been easier. Back in the early 2000s, downloading games or songs can take up to a day or more! A lot of people back then have been through the frustration of your device popping the download error notification after downloading your file for almost a day. But in comparison to now, you’ll be irritated if your youtube videos take longer than 30 seconds to load.
Besides making our life easier, the improvement of technology has also helped a lot in terms of saving lives in the medical industry. With advanced technology, we can identify a patient's body condition painlessly. With the help of mechanical organ transplants and mechanical prostheses, more people can live a normal life despite lacking some parts of their bodies.
In terms of communication, we have cell audio and video calls, messages and social media that can quickly connect you to your friends and family. No more letters or mailings; everything is now just a few mouse clicks away.
Here’s an example that can help you see the bigger picture. Everyone knows about the Black Death right? According to Mark Cartwright, the Black Death was a disastrous plague caused by a bacillus bacteria that happened in the 14th century. It spread through Europe in 9 years and killed over 25 million people. Now imagine the Covid-19 pandemic but it took place in the 14th century. Without televisions or online media, we wouldn’t be able to learn about the virus right away, and everyone would go about their lives as if nothing had happened even though the virus had already spread.
Photo from: Bloomberg
It's already tough to convince people to change their lifestyles and lock themselves in their homes to stay safe. But trying to do this without the help of the internet or any audio and video media is even hard. So what will happen in the end? The Covid-19 virus would have had the potential to wipe out the entire world in a matter of months.
Now, let's say you're convinced and everyone stays home. What's next? Without any internet or calls, it's pretty hard to reach out to your friends and relatives if you want to check on their condition. The quickest way is to send mail, but because it’s a lockdown and we expect everyone to stay at home, your mail might not get to them as quickly as you think. Chances are that the mail would only arrive when the pandemic is over. See how the leap that humans made has helped out many people during the pandemic now?
What about lifestyle? How different is our current lifestyle compared to the people who live in the past? Let's rewind to the past 100 years, which is the 20th century.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about the 20th century? Most people would say World War I and II since both these wars were huge marks of history that occurred back then.
Before we discuss who would win if another World War was held tomorrow, which is something we would like to prevent from happening, here’s a little throwback to World War II when the United States nuclearized Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. According to Alex Wellerstein, the power of two nuclear bombs had already taken a total of 110,000 lives in Japan and that happened in the 1940s. Now let's take a look into modern times and imagine what would happen if World War III was held tomorrow and who would win? According to Hans M. Kristensen and Matt Korda, there are approximately 13100 nuclear weapons in early 2021. If unfortunately, World War II happens again, it's safe to say that no one would survive the war. It will eventually escalate into a nuclear war, and you will either die when the bomb explodes or as a result of the radiation. The world we are living in today is peaceful in most places, at least we don't need to go through wars and conflicts. Studying and graduating from college are our life goals instead of fighting on the frontlines.
Photo from: dfnc.ru
Let's move on to a lighter topic, work and studies. With video and audio calls, we can hold meetings or classes virtually. Without needing to head out of our house, we can see and hear the person we want to. It is not only more convenient, but it also allows us to spend more time doing what we want, and time schedules are more flexible. We have more time now since the time used to travel is reduced significantly.
Not only that but with the internet, there is no need to waste time by spending hours in the library just to find that specific information. Projects and research are much faster and easier because all we have to do is type the question or keyword into Google and billions of answers will appear in no time!
At present, equality is getting more and more common for everyone. However, in some parts of the world, there are still people being treated unfairly but at least we can see that everyone is given the same opportunity to live their lives. No more slavery, no more men are better than women, no more being gay is a crime. Although they're still some people who like to publicise their toxic opinions against certain communities, these are the people who have been there since the beginning of the world. So if you think about it, we are lucky enough to say that we don't need to start again from zero.
We have three waves of feminism that were created to protect women’s rights. The first one happened in the mid-1900s where 300 men and women stood up for gender equality in 1848. This was primarily about women’s voting rights. The second wave of feminism, which occurred from the 1960s to the 1980s, was more concerned with issues of equality and discrimination. The third wave of feminism began in the 1990s, responding to perceived failures of the second wave while also examining issues related to women’s lives on a global scale.
We have the Anti-Racist Movement which was held in 1998 in Europe. It's a movement that advocates racial equality among all races. We then have the "Black Lives Matter" movement which started in 2013, protesting against some incidents of police treating black people violently. Besides, there's also the "Stop Asian Hate" movement which happened in the year 2021.
Photo from: Teen Vogue
Now if we lock back at it, movements that fight for equality towards a certain community that was being treated unfairly just because they were "different" to others will always attract attention that the whole world knows about. We are lucky enough to be living in this year where our ancestors had already done most of the job and we are enjoying their victory for them. I'm not saying that we should be happy and stop here, but with all the hard work our ancestors had paid to create a better future for us, we need to try our very best to do whatever we can to create a world without hate.
From the past to the present, a lot of things have changed. Everything is going well and we should be grateful for what we have today. We live in a peaceful world where you can pursue your dreams and do what you want. Although there are still certain changes in this world that need to be done, that doesn't change the fact that we can enjoy our own life the most!
By: Soong Eason