Votaries of modern civilization will find nothing attractive: about the slow, leisurely life is lived in the past, say, in the pre-British days. Modern life is so different from old life that looks like a break between two epochs. Our entire life, physical, social, economic, intellectual or imaginative, is cast in a different pattern.
Science has been the main revolutionizing factor. Our forefathers lived in squalid villages, ignorant of the laws of hygiene and health, in dingy, ill-ventilated mud huts, which were little better than hovels, surrounded by heaps of rubbish on all sides. There was little or no sanitation and life, on the whole, was dirty. One sometimes wonders how they could be still healthy. But for fresh air, sun, and unadulterated foodstuffs, they would have ceased to exist long ago. There were no traveling amenities like aeroplanes, railways, cars or bicycles. Travelling was slow, difficult and risky and what made matters worse was the absence of pukka roads of the type we have now. Life was dull and unromantic, for their were no means of recreation like cinemas, radios, newspapers or social life in the shape of clubs and societies. As to things of daily use like tooth-brushes, tooth-pastes, the tale was no better. And what about education? There were no facilities for it, and to a large extent it was conducted in the home.
When we compare all this with our own life, we are wonderstruck at the contrast. Our life, we feel, must be better than life lived in old days by our forefathers. And yet it is not uncommon to come across people sighing for good old days.
Perhaps it is due to the fact that modern life, with all its glamour, is not conducive to what we may call real happiness which is more spiritual than a physical condition. Science has provided us all manners of luxuries and physical comforts and made life easy, interesting and colourful. But, notwithstanding all this, man is far from being happy. The appearance of a large number of books on the quest of the phantom of happiness is indicative of the absense of this bliss in present-day life.
The fact is that science, while it has done a lot for our body, for our materials welfare, has done little or nothing for our soul, for our spiritual well-being. Modern-day western civilisation pampers the body, but starves the soul. In good old days life was simple, and unostentatious plain living and high thinking was their motto. Modern life, with its hurry and racket, fever and fret, has become a round of vicious pleasures which fare ill in comparison with the simple and pure pleasures of our forbears. Not only this; modern life has deprived man of his mental peace by making life extremely insecure. The Atom Bomb, the Hydrogen Bomb and a score of similar deadly scientific inventions have given us a sort of fear complex and made us restless. We live constantly in fear of being wiped out of existence. What has man made of man, we cry.
Science has, by making us rational and critical, man agnostics and doubters. Religion has ceased to be a living force, and our old faith has gone. Faith is a great thing in life and its disappearance has played havoc with the happiness of the modern man. Life appears to be devoid of meaning and purpose.