Paragraph on Is life for us better than it was for our forefathers?

Outline:

  • Think back two hundred years ago.
  • Our forefathers had none of the modern inventions and conveniences.
  • In comfort, convenience, variety, health and well-being we are superior today.
  • But we are not happier, for all our great advantages.

To try to answer this question, we had better go back in thought about two hundred years, say to about the middle of the 18th Century; that is, before the great changes began that have made the modern world what it is today. Let us see what life for our forefathers in those days.

To get a picture of their lives, we must cut out many of the things which are so familiar and necessary to us today that we wonder how men could ever have got on without them. Take travel, for instance. In the time of our forefathers, there were no railways or steamships or aero planes no bicycles or motor-cars, or even good roads. They travelled slowly on horseback or in carts and carriages, and sailing ships. There was no postal system, so letters were rare and costly luxuries; no telegraph, no telephone, no wireless or steadriven machinery to manufacture multitudes of cheap goods. Houses were lit by candles or lamps, for there was no electric light or gas. Of medical science there was little or nothing, and public sanitation was unknown. In consequence dirt and disease were rifle in villages and towns. There were no fully equipped hospitals, no trained nurses, and but few qualified doctors. Education?. That was the privilege of the rich. Most of the poor could neither read nor write. Books were few and expensive. As to amusements, there were no cinemas and no gramophones. Life in those days must have been dull and slow.

So far, then, the answer seems to be an emphatic affirmative. Surely with all these advantages, and many, many more that cannot even be mentioned, our life today must be incomparably better in every way than the life of our poor forefathers. No doubt, in comfort, convenience, interest, variety, general health and well-being, we have the advantage.

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But is it really so? Are we really happier than our forefathers? I doubt it. In this mechanical age life is all noise and bustle, hurry and racket, roar and rush. There is a fever in our blood we are restless and unsatisfied, ever seeking for some new thing. We have lost the quiet, and the solid pleasures, of the old days. And the sense of security has gone. There is fear in our hearts. The machines our science has given us threats to destroy us. Bombing aeroplanes poison gases make war a terror. And war may be on us any moment: the WORLD WAR, that will destroy our boasted civilization. We dance on the crumbling brink of a volcano.

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