We Live Like Kings

A few days ago, I was on Facebook, and someone posted a photograph of their family. The picture was of their grandparents and their children before they left for California during the Great Depression.

The kids were grinning and having a good time posing for the picture. The adults looked weathered and grim-faced. They were obviously apprehensive about the journey.

The family’s move to California was arduous, but turned out well. They grew and thrived. Living through those times made people stronger. It gave them a sense of character and responsibility, mostly.

Being forward-thinking helped make society improve.
For the last 90 years, our civilization has progressed at a rate unseen in human history. We have gone from a millennium where horses were the primary source of power to where we are today with a multitude of power sources.

What seemed unfathomable to the family in the photograph is now commonplace.

For example, we have taken it for granted that we now have medicines that can wipe out maladies that have plagued people since the beginning of time. We are better equipped, but COVID has proved that we have to remain ever-vigilant.

We have been places that prior generations feared to go because of superstition.

Controlling the previously uncontrollable with technology has taken what was deadly to a level that has eased suffering. We live better today than kings of the not-so-distant past. The palace of Versailles was torturous compared to a modern apartment.

The palace didn’t have heat or air conditioning. French King Louis XVI bathed in perfume because water was an excellent source of cholera.

According to Investopedia, where I live in the U.S., there are twenty million millionaires.

Many of those have leveraged technology to achieve their financial security. They work hard and are as frugal as past generations, but they work smarter.

It’s the largest concentration of wealth in human history.
Most people today live in a place that has access to hot and cold running water, plumbing, electricity, and the internet.

There is a private room where we can go to relieve and clean ourselves. Some of us don’t do a thorough job of cleaning ourselves, but let’s move forward.

We have ways of transit that are relatively inexpensive. Crossing the country today takes only a few hours compared to many days of slowly traversing the landscape in a Model-T.

Speaking of cars, they have progressed from the driver having to be a power weight-lifter to turn the steering wheel, to power steering, to now, automatic steering. Power windows and being able to unlock and start the car remotely would’ve been considered supernatural only a few decades ago.

So much has changed for the better since the family in the picture set out westward to make a better life.

After being disciplined and after going through unimaginable hardship, after being tempered by war, realizing that they never would allow themselves or their families to go through those experiences again, the world has become a better place because of their efforts. We today are the beneficiaries.

But, let’s not get too distracted and screw it up.

As if there wasn’t enough distraction, there is now the Metaverse to contend with.

During the days of kings and queens and the royal court, only the wealthy had music to take them away.

At one time books were our greatest diversion. A world where we could escape whenever we had the chance.

Radio combined the two and advertisers added politics to the playlist. The media became a way to amuse the public and also control them.

Movies and television introduced a new level of media into households. One in which there was no escape from the influence. The Romans had the Colosseum and the circus. We have sports and television shows to pacify the masses.

The internet arrived to provide information, but it seems to be mainly to provide many forms of pornography. Fourteen-year-old boys’ attention spans would never be the same. The impulses are completely out of any sensible control.

Now, through the magic of technology and Mark Zuckerberg, the Metaverse is a single platform that is worn covering the face. It overtakes the senses like a casino. We’ll never leave our couches in the future.

Outside forces that we’ll never see will dominate our senses. Artificial intelligence will do the work for us.

In just a couple of generations after the family in the picture, we now live like decadent and distracted kings. Humans have never had it so good. It’s a golden age that can be a curse if we let it.


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