Do we learn from the past?

Or are we resistant to looking at our mistakes, and figuring out how to be better?

There are times I think that both as individuals and as a society, we continually make the same errors in judgement. We might change the particulars, but the essence of the problem remains the same…

For example, we preach on how we should accept all. Yet, we still have problems with people and we still find groups to marginalize.

We still find reasons to “hate” based on appearances. To be fair, society still has a problem with attractiveness, or lack there of. We might scream body and face acceptance, yet kids still get bullied for being too thin or too fat: too short or too tall. Plastic surgery, fad diets…these things haven’t gone anywhere. In fact, people in their twenties are getting plastic surgery. Why? Because we are still judged on looks.

We don’t need magazines or ads to make us feel inferior: we have pinterest and instagram and a host of other social media platforms…we can feel bad about our imperfect looks 24/7/365…

Has our society become less judgemental?

Do we want to?

We openly mock people of opposing political parties.

We mock those who aren’t as enlightened as we pretend to be.

We mock those who live in cities, or suburbs, or rural communities.

We mock those who pray, or those who don’t pray.

We mock those who have a different socioeconomic class than us…

We pigeon hole into a once size fits all, forget that we all have individual quirks and traits

We are still looking down on people.

Is this the only way we can feel better about ourselves?

Do we actually want to be “better”?

Or do we just want things the way that we want them?

Are we any better than the Puritans that put that scarlet letter on Hester? Do we still want to burn people at the stake? Is it only our targets that have changed?

I find it funny when someone reads something like Pride and Prejudice and wonder how people conformed to societal standards, when we continue to have social standards…the particulars have just changed.

You must go to college.

You must cancel this person.

You shouldn’t eat that.

You should do things “this” way.

Do you think as humans we are any more enlightened than years past? Or do you think we haven’t learned a thing from history?

Do you think people want to grow and change?

Discuss

63 thoughts on “Live and Learn

  1. We definitely have more technology than ages past, but the more I learn about history, the more I wonder whether we’re really more “enlightened” as human beings. For sure, a lot of things are better– we don’t have miscegenation laws (in the US), and it’s not illegal to be an openly LGBTQIA person (in some countries, anyway)- but in a lot of ways we’re not that much more advanced than people were in whatever time period you want to name.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. In a lot of ways, we’re a lot better at being humans (depending on which country you live in). I may enjoy learning about the medieval era, but I wouldn’t want to live there. I, for one, enjoy having access to antibiotics and vaccines, and being able to be a single woman who can live alone without the entire village wondering if I’m a witch.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. I’m glad I live in this era. However…I wish people would stop judging…though I guess I’m judging the judgers…

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  2. On a “How judgmental are you?” scale of 1-10, I think I was about a 6 when I was younger. You’d never have known it though because I usually keep things to myself. Now that I am older, I would rate myself at a 1 . It’s a combination of I don’t care, live and let live, judge not lest ye be judged and pure fatigue.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Mmmmm. A good question, LA, as always. I think that people largely get stuck in a habituated way of being, and, unless they have someone in their life that will continue to disrupt their thinking, and they are also open to the conversation, they may stay that way forever, which is not a problem, it just it. And, that concept, is true for all time. I do think that in every age, humans have the ability to change, yet change and growth, which go together, are concepts and practices that humans typically shy or even run, away from, because they don’t always feel good. We are in many ways pleasure-seeking beings, so disrupting our patterns, or habits, takes awareness and hard work. Judgments come from a lack of awareness that all the things “we” judge in others actually live within ourselves, and because we don’t like that they live within our own selves, there is judgment. When we understand this truth and accept it as part of being human beings, we have an opportunity to accept our own shortcomings and those of everyone else. Lots to say….stopping now. Have a great day!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Yes, I think people want to grow and change (for the better ie. less judgmental etc). At least those that I hang around with do! 🙂 But then again, there are those who are staunch in their beliefs, right and wrong with no grey areas and ignorant to listening. Just because someone *says* something, it doesn’t make it true though.
    As always, great question to make us think…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are moral absolutes, such as not killing. See the ten commandments. Loving God and neighbor is an even shorter list. We are obligated (see “divine command theory”) to obey. The “shoulds” are important.

    We don’t learn much from history helpful though it may be. Nor do we get much of importance from therapies or drugs. Nor does much change occur from intellectual arguments. We can only profoundly change through the Holy Spirit.

    But many of us in our wisdom don’t even believe the Holy Spirit exists. We would find aliens, unicorns or anthropomorphisms like Mother Earth more believable. We have slammed the door on the only source of meaningful change or enlightenment. It’s been that way from the beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good questions. I believe our youth are much more judgmental than when I was their age. But maybe it’s just my kids! I think we are evolving and more accepting, but also stuck in our little subsets and groups. I think a lot of the problem is the news we consume which is so divided.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t think people want to grow and change. I think they want others to conform to their ways of thinking. We have become a divided society because we’re feeding off media and allowing that to decide what’s right and what’s wrong and who’s right and who’s wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what another blogger commented to me recently…that people don’t want to change, that we don’t want to grow…it’s sad

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  8. I think the internet has pushed a lot of people to extremes in a way they couldn’t be in the past. My parents were judgmental, religiously conservative people who had certain views about how girls/women should act. However they really didn’t know people in our church or parents at the Catholic school I attended who were as extreme as them. With the internet parents of today with similar views about how young women should be raised can find a home and judge people 24/7—they are out there and I have read their blogs.

    I do think that if we would have had another Republican as president, say Mitt Romney, maybe we wouldn’t be so polarized. When your leader doesn’t conduct himself with any sort of decorum it isn’t a good example for the general public.

    You can find the most baffling things on the internet—people who say that those who wore masks/get vaccines are “virtue signaling”, are sheep, or cowards. As we are beginning to crawl out of the devastation that was the coronavirus—-I just don’t understand this at all.

    My nephew is gay and married. I’d like to think the world is a better place for him and his husband.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s a funny thing about life. If I don’t accept and love myself first, warts and all, how on earth am I supposed to love and accept others, including their warts and all? I think we have to start with the microcosm of self or perhaps we start with God and then move outward. Since everyone is on a journey of some sort or another, everyone is going to be at different points in their journeys. Add into that mix the basic human instinct to discern. If we don’t learn to discern and then actually discern, we die because we won’t be able to make good judgments. If we learn to discern, then we discover, too, we have bias; and having bias, we are judged for that. In being judged for that, I learn to judge those who judge me. Then I learn to judge others, who, in turn, will judge me for judging them. There’s no getting around it. To be alive, no matter at what place or time in history, means that you are ultimately, existentially alone and you live in a flawed system where each person is trying to figure out the best way to survive. Only, in the end, each of us dies. There’s no way to fix “the system” without killing it. And who wants that?!!!! In other words, we just have to do the best with what we have and learn to live with the consequences. Okay, now I’m freaking depressed, LA! Ugh. Mona

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You can discuss until doomsday, but human nature is still just a stone throw away, from launching smaller rocks at one another while hiding behind bigger rocks.

    The beat goes on. The measure just changes.

    So give the drummer some. This digital tom tom has been fully weaponized. As we all are now subject to the kick drum of individual cancel culture or collective attacks of ransomware.

    But buyer beware of the bit and byte has been on the menu for some time, LA,… instant communication and opt-in anonymity ain’t a recipe for any community comity casserole.

    Food for thought, LA. Did you ever go online with a dial-up modem? Pre-internet? Did you ever get a chance to experience that magic?

    Everything old, is hopefully, new again.

    I wonder if we’ll all regret our participation in this iteration of on-line personal interaction. If we fed the folly? Fueled the easy answer. Empowered calorie free content. Masked our message to massage current muscle.

    I say this, cause I think you truly write for, and with a sense of community. And while ya Queen Bee it on occasion, it’s normally honey dipped.

    So, what say you on how to take back the damn internet.

    Discuss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Completely did internet the old school way…😆the distinctive krrrrnz sound as you waited to connect….how do we take back the internet? I don’t think we can….it’s our gifted, long awaited child run wild. We don’t have the ability to discipline them…and I really don’t know if we want to…people seem to delight in seeing how outrageous they can get…how many boundaries…hot much outrageous….it’s hubris gone haywire…and sure, I like it just as much as anyone…my little hive…but yeah…at least I have a tiny germ of an idea as to the ramifications of all this free and open idea sharing…the problem is most people are unwilling to connect the dots

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think the reason it is hard to change because after you have knowledge of how you might change: it takes heart, discipline, and a little soul to make it a habit. Not everyone has it in them. Sometimes it helps if you live with someone who keeps you on your toes! have a good day.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I think most people want to grow and change, but it is hard when they always see themselves as right with no room for discussion. That’s a great thing about your blog. It attracts people who WANT to discuss–civily. (My apologies if there are errors. My Internet connection is bad and I can only see the top half of the characters I am typing, and one line at a time.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Errors? What are those?! I want and wish for people to discuss things…if we don’t talk…we don’t move on to the next round of the game of life…

      Like

  13. I don’t think we should mock others–but I think we all judge others in some way or other.

    I judge abled bodied people who won’t do the bare minimum to support themselves or think they are too good to work at a fast food restaurant. I judge people who don’t have the bare minimum when it comes to manners.

    I treat others with respect–but in my mind it is hard to grasp why some because of their political or religious beliefs don’t accept gay people—so I guess I silently judge for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely understand what you’ve said…I admit I’ve done my own silent judging on these things. It is hard to accept and understand those who have a path completely different than our own. But I guess if you see what you’re doing, you’re at i East learning and are aware

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  14. I think things have changed helped along by the fact that we now see it all. TV, social media internet etc is in our faces 24/7/365. We grow as a society and things get better but we will always have things to work on, we are human after all.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We’ve made some progress, certain laws, etc. but on the whole, no. In fact, I think people have become more “me” centered than ever before.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I tend to agree with you on the me centered people, but I have known people like that my entire life, I just feel that now we are more aware of everyone’s feelings because of the impact of social media and tv. Remember the Vietnam War really brought reality into people’s homes. People were faced with the horrifying reality of war, do you think people would have reacted differently if WW1 and WW2 were televised, might things have unfolded differently?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. To be fair, Americans didn’t want to enter wwii but Pearl Harbor and frankly, the depression put the kibosh on that. I don’t think everyone always expressing what they think is helping us. I think it’s making us more repressed. Right now, there’s little civil discourse. There’s I’m right and you’re wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I think some people are self-motivated to grow and change. Others are taught or encouraged in that direction. Still others prefer status quo. Each of these groups may judge the others as being elite or lazy or some other thing that’s “different”. If there is a such thing as human nature, differentiation is part of it.

    The good thing is that over the millennia people have developed more respect for life. Having better long-term health outcomes has helped. In spite of the media focus on bad things, our world is much less violent now than in just about any previous historical era.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Why does the media focus on the violent and the bad though? I don’t expect you to have an answer, but you know what I mean…why spend so much air time in hate?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, we eat up what they dish out. But I’d argue that most of us don’t see that sort of thing in our daily lives. It’s all the exception to the rule, so to speak.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The media determines what’s newsworthy. If I blogged about what my little local paper prints, or if I took pictures of what I see, it would be a very different feel.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Do we learn from the past?
    Some do, some don’t.
    Are we kind?
    Some are, some aren’t.
    And so on. I’ve begun to feel that these are the answers to any questions about us people, our attitudes, habits, likes, dislikes.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What Jaya says 🙂 In particular, I’ve observed there are people who’ve had experiences in childhood (or some other time/place of limited power) which they really disliked/found distasteful, and yet when it comes time for them to do unto others (their children or peers), they repeat the same behaviours. Some because they’ve convinced themselves it’s the right way to do it, others because they’re on some power trip & intend to make others suffer as they did, and those who are blissfully ignorant that they’re doing so – until you point it out. Fortunately there’s also the other section of society who make an active decision that if they didn’t like it, they are going to make sure they don’t do it to anyone else, let alone anyone they like or love.

    For a section of society, Change is actually the C word.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I think it might be instinctual? A survival mechanism from evolutionary times? Meaning we have to scan, judge, and evaluate everything happening around us to remain safe. Right? As a cavewoman I need to be aware about the guy two caves over who’s dangerous because he’s brawny and heavy on the club, or the crazy woman in cave 3B who keeps stealing my fish when I’m fetching water. Anyway, it must stem from a form of self-preservation but morphed into our universal sense of insecurity now that our caves have locks and we’re “civilized.” Great topic as usual LA, C

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah…I tend to think it’s a survival instinct. But…we will never progress if we don’t learn to see the best in others, or at least not to look for the worst…

      Liked by 1 person

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