HOW DIFFERENT IS THE WORLD NOW THAN IN 1980?

Blogging Insights – FORTY-ONE YEARS

Even though the time interval between 1939 to 1980, and between 1980 and 2021 are identical, the differences in the world are not even close. Technology has made huge changes in our world, but the biggest changes were already in place by 1980. We’ve done a lot of refining and upgrading since then, but the changes in the world are not comparable.

Computers have gotten faster, email is more reliable, online shopping more prevalent. More people own computer in their homes. But in 1980, I was already working in a high-tech environment and learning how to develop a database.

I had a home computer early and a cell phone early, too. Garry needed it for work. Computers have gotten faster. Monitors and TVs are sharper, but software is not better unless you’re talking about games. Computer software for “doing work” has not changed much and what has changed was not an improvement. It’s different, but not necessarily better.

We’ve had more societal change in the past 6 years than we had between 1980 and 2015. Not even remotely an improvement. I feel like society, manners, intelligence, education are all worse. A lot worse!

My mother was born in 1910 and died in 1983. I think in her lifetime she saw more change than anyone I can think of — other than the others who were born around the turn of the century and lived to see men on the moon and computers invading homes. I know my mother didn’t see the changes as good. Quite the opposite.

She was cynical about the world, the people who run it, and where humanity was heading. I thought she was overly cynical. These days, I think she was right on the money. I doubt she’d be at all surprised at the way the world has turned.

I remember when she told me what was going to happen in Vietnam. She said (and this is a quote): “We’ll lose the war, declare a victory and leave. That,” she said, “is what we always do.”

The big difference between Vietnam and Afghanistan? This time, we did not declare a victory. We admitted defeat — and then we left. Like we always do.



Categories: Conscience and morality, transition and change, War and battles

Tags: , , , ,

20 replies

  1. This is interesting about the history of our world from the past.

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  2. Very thoughtful and thought-provoking. I’m not cynical about change and my view is that some changes are for the better and some for the worse, but when you’re in the middle of them it’s difficult to see which is which. We often need the perspective of history to understand that properly. But I do worry when I hear people say ‘everything was better’ in the past. It’s too easy to remember the things that were worse – the diseases for which we had no cure and now do, for instance.

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    • Maybe everything was better in the past if you were well-to-do and white — but even then, polio could snag any child and medicine was far, far behind. It’s so easy to remember the past as good especially when you aren’t willing to REALLY look at how those days went.

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  3. Word processors got better as soon as they started auto-correcting spellings by underlining in red, so you didn’t have to “run spellcheck.” Also, business computers were always greenscreen or occasionally weird tones of orange, or whatever. Basically black and white, and you do need colour, for example, if you want underlining in red. Having said all that, I still think a lot of stuff was better in the 80s … and in the 90s. It just was.

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    • Better, absolutely, especially most computer-based stuff. But it wasn’t INVENTED in the 80s and 90s. It already existed and we made it work better, faster, cleaner. The difference is that between 1939 and 1980, all the stuff we use now for everything hadn’t been invented or was used only for major corporate environments. We saw a huge jump in private ownership of computers and other devices in the past 40 years, but none of it was newly invented. It was all improved. Sometimes hugely improved, but not really new. I’m sure more “new” stuff will come, but it hasn’t gotten here yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We used to have a children’s TV character in Britain called Morph, a little man made out of clay, “claymation” as they call it. I was totally fascinated by Morph. Anyway on one episode Morph was using a “word processor” and I remember asking my mum what that was. She said it was a computer and I left it at that.
        I first actually saw a computer in my last year of primary school. It was a Sinclair ZX81, a black and white home computer which loaded programs on oldfashioned cassette tapes. I was absolutely fascinated by this computer. I’m guessing this was the year 1983, so I would have been 11. The games were like the basic bat and ball that we had built into a black and white TV set at home… stuff like that.
        I take your point about things being ***invented*** earlier. There was a thing on TV about how much effort the American government put into developing the atomic bomb and what else could have been achieved. Wouldn’t surprise me if they could have launched home computers back in the 1940s instead of having a useless bomb! Imagine how the world would have changed!!!

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        • They had computers way back. What they didn’t have were solid-state chips to make the huge machines small enough to FIT in a home! Once they got all the tiny pieces lined up, marketing took over and the rest, as we say, is history!

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  4. Thank you Marilyn for this post, you are beautiful in your photo.
    I’m very sad about “Afghanistan is so painfully similar to Vietnam”, my Country.
    I’m alway thinking of my Country still under the control of communists. Very sad and pour my Country!

    Love to you and your family, Marilyn.
    From QT.

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    • And yet so much of our good are made in Vietnam. Garry spent 9 months there (as a reporter) and remembers it very fondly. Fortunate for him he was NOT fighting because at least his memories are not ruined by having to kill other people.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your mother had a lot of foresight.
    I wonder what she would have said about the pandemic.

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  6. A great summary. Thank you for this, Marylin! But you forgot a very important thing. Even thoufh the Monitors and TVs got sharper, some of us (including me) are now in need of glasses. Lol Have a beautiful week! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t see close up either — which makes getting a sharp shot on the camera a lot harder than it was. I really have to depend on auto-focus. If I’m not wearing ANY glasses, I can see edges better, but I wear my computer glasses most of the time because they give me the most vision for a single pair, from relatively close (not reading close, but I can see the monitor most of the time) to seeing the television (but I can’t read the crawl or menus). My son at 51 has the exact same problem as does my husband whose eyes were fixed via cataract surgery. But eyes are ever-changing, so he ALSO has bifocals.

      I can see surprisingly well without glasses these days and sometimes forget to put them on — which is weird because I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 9. But myopic eyes “improve” over the years, while the far-sighted get worse. I don’t know why. Someone has explained it, but I still didn’t understand 😀

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