Keep moving forward

Pilar Valdes, Assistant Pulse Editor

During the European Enlightenment of the 18th century, many new philosophical ideas emerged, including the idea of progress. The philosopher’s goal was to improve the human condition through progress in society, technology and politics.

Since then, every generation that has followed those enlightened thinkers has hoped to leave the world a better place than they found it for the generations that follows. Their goal is progress. Still, so many people in the present day are faced with a sense of nostalgia that makes them want to go back in time. Born in the wrong generation, they reminisce about “the good old days,” a time when life was simpler. By doing so, they are taking for granted all of the blessings of the 21st century.

The “good old days” were not really that great. They weren’t even “good” really. Aside from a lack of basic equality and a myriad of social issues, the technology lagged far behind what we have today.

For example, throughout the beginning of the 19th century, polio was a threat that many children faced. Now, this sometimes life threatening disease is almost eradicated because of advances in the medical field. Vaccines that are mandatory today for many diseases like whooping cough and pertussis have resulted in lower infant mortality rates and overall longer life expectancy. Beyond the medical field, technological advancements have been made that have impacted all aspects of our lives. From transportation to communication, technology has transformed our world. Where people once rarely left the community where they were born, now worldwide travel is commonplace. It once took months for a letter to traverse the United States. Now, electronic communication is instantaneous. In politics, increased access to televisions make it easier to watch debates and engage yourself in the political process. Societally, we can now communicate with people across the world, something that never before seemed imaginable.

The world we live in today is not perfect. But, we are progressing. In our lifetime alone we have seen and will continue to see technological advancements that better the human condition.

It is toxic to have the mindset of wanting to go back in time. If all you want to do is move back in time or live in a different era, then you are hampering your potential. Live in the now. Be thankful for that. The 21st century is a blessing. With so much at our disposal to better society, the only generation we should long to be a part of is one in the future.