Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

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Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Jorpho » Thu May 10, 2012 2:13 am UTC

It seems reasonable to suggest that it is easy to come up with a grim outlook of the future in general at this point: ruthless bipartisanship in the US, financial meltdowns, global warming, fossil fuel depletion, ignorance ruling the day, and so on and so forth.

So, a question: did things seem was it comparatively easy to see things as just as utterly hopeless back in the 80's? Reagan in the White House with his wife planning things by astrology, the looming threat of the Cold War, Iran-Contra, the Savings & Loan crisis, and probably a whole bunch of other things that I was too young to appreciate at the time?

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 10, 2012 2:27 am UTC

I think old people in power have gnashed their teeth and beaten their breasts at the wretched state of affairs since well before Christ, just to pick an arbitrarily 'long fucking time ago' date.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby EdgarJPublius » Thu May 10, 2012 3:15 am UTC

My theory is that it's the extrapolation of nostalgia. Nostalgia tells people the past was better than today (regardless of whether that's actually true, or even if they thought so at the time). Then they draw a line from the past to the present and it looks like everything's going down the toilet, even though really, the past was mostly terrible and the present is probably slightly less terrible.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby poxic » Thu May 10, 2012 3:18 am UTC

I recall the whole Cold War everyone's-gonna-die-of-nukes thing from the '70s and '80s. No personal experience from before then, but there have been wars (inter- and intra-national), depressions, and assorted shitty things every few decades or so. People just gotta crisis, from the looks of it.

And many of the crises do in fact happen, at least for some people. And then life goes on, in some fashion, for those who survive it.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Wodashin » Thu May 10, 2012 3:23 am UTC

The 80s weren't exactly a depressing malaise for the most part. 60s, 70s, sure. National morale was low then. Reagan was voted in by a huge margin. There was nowhere near the level of partisanship in the 80s. I would certainly say there wasn't a sense of doom pervading everything like there is now, what with people thinking Obama's presidency will be the end of the nation, and others thinking Romney's election to the presidency would result in the end of the nation.

Though, I attribute this to the Clinton impeachment attempt. I pin a lot of the current atmosphere on Newt Gingrich.

But yeah, the 80s was an economic boom. People were making money on the stock market. It was a get-rich quick plan. I don't think people look back on the 80s as a time of doom and gloom.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby poxic » Thu May 10, 2012 3:29 am UTC

The '80s were a fairly frightening time for people who weren't part of the boom, though. Those who had been part of the counterculture during the '70s saw Orwell's "1984" everywhere they looked. It was the rise of the slick, content-free, marketing-fuelled yuppie schtick and the near-worship of wealth as absolving all personal sins (and, arguably, responsibilities).

Not a world-ending thing, perhaps, but certainly a cultural crisis for many.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Wodashin » Thu May 10, 2012 3:44 am UTC

There's always a counter-culture that's upset with the current way things are going, and there're always people who see 1984 happening right then. Sure, it may have been scary for some people, but it's always scary for some people. I mean, the government can now detain anyone for any reason, forever. 1984! The government's too big so we must Tea Party! The corporations are too strong, so we must OWS! Look at all the psuedo-Newspeak that the other side flings around!

I'm not saying these aren't legitimate, but I am saying that this stuff is almost always there, so that stuff during the 80s wasn't anything special. And I think calling it a "cultural crisis for many" insinuates that it was a cultural crisis in general, and I don't think the cultural crisis of the 80s could even hold a candle to Vietnam War era cultural unrest. The 80s, after the turmoil of the two decades preceding it, seemed pretty swell to many I think. "Morning in America" and all that. It was a pretty "hoo-rah, 'Murrika" era. Which some people may not like, but it kind of negates a "pervasive sense of doom", since that wasn't the national feeling at the time.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 10, 2012 1:15 pm UTC

I wager this is possibly made up, but:
Socrates wrote:The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.


People having been bitching about the changing times and loss of 'the good 'ol days' since way before the good 'ol days. I cannot roll my eyes hard enough at people bitching about how 'bad things have gotten' or 'how things used to be better'.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby HungryHobo » Thu May 10, 2012 1:25 pm UTC

"I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on
frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond
words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and
respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise
[disrespectful] and impatient of restraint" (Hesiod, 8th century BC).

"The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of
today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for
parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as
if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is
foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest
and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress."
~ Peter the Hermit in A.D. 1274

we can only imagine how incredibly polite and modest the young people of 3000 years ago must have been since apparently they've been getting steadily worse since then.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby induction » Thu May 10, 2012 3:25 pm UTC

I can't speak to the 'national feeling' in the past, just my own feelings. In the eighties, I was pretty fearful that the world would end at any minute via global thermonuclear war. If that didn't finish us off, pollution would destroy the ecosphere (or neonazis would seize control of the country, or the rapture would come, or the bacteria that breaks down insect exoskeletons would become extinct and all of the chitin would be trapped in huge mounds of dead bugs everywhere) and we would all die anyway. I feel much better now.

There have always been things to be afraid of and there will always be people willing to profit from that fear. Once I started to recognize the motives of most of the news programs/talk shows/social prophets/schoolteachers/screenwriters, I calmed down a lot. I also gave up the idea that the world (especially the government) is full of morons who can't see obvious threats to the continuation of the species. Of course there are still social and environmental threats and problems (and stupid politicians), but there are also plenty of people working on those problems, many of whom are much smarter than me (even in the government), and my sense of doom and dread is much, much lower than it was 30 years ago.

I sometimes think that the sense of doom correlates with youth. After a few decades of the world not ending or degenerating into Road Warrior, I relaxed a little. Of course I live in America, where the apocalypse hasn't actually happened. Some parts of the world haven't been so lucky, but in my lifetime, I have seen drastic reductions in bigotry, poverty, and violence. Bipartisanism seems to have recently increased, but mostly in the media, not in the people I actually interact with who seem more willing than ever to tolerate and accept different points of view, and whose opinions are not governed by the proclamations of political mouthpieces. Maybe I just hang out in better neighborhoods than I used to.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby setzer777 » Thu May 10, 2012 6:48 pm UTC

I mostly agree with the point about nostalgia, except that things have increased in scale. However bad wars got in the past, I don't think there was ever any risk of destroying the entire species via warfare.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Роберт » Thu May 10, 2012 6:56 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:I mostly agree with the point about nostalgia, except that things have increased in scale. However bad wars got in the past, I don't think there was ever any risk of destroying the entire species via warfare.

There was in the cold war... The OP is talking about relatively recent past, after the development and USE of nuclear weapons.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 10, 2012 7:11 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:I mostly agree with the point about nostalgia, except that things have increased in scale. However bad wars got in the past, I don't think there was ever any risk of destroying the entire species via warfare.


I don't think that risk currently exists. It would take a very calculated effort of every military on the planet to eradicate the entire species. You could drastically reduce the population of humans on the planet, but this whole 'we can destroy ALL the things!' fear is wildly misplaced.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Роберт » Thu May 10, 2012 7:15 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
setzer777 wrote:I mostly agree with the point about nostalgia, except that things have increased in scale. However bad wars got in the past, I don't think there was ever any risk of destroying the entire species via warfare.


I don't think that risk currently exists. It would take a very calculated effort of every military on the planet to eradicate the entire species. You could drastically reduce the population of humans on the planet, but this whole 'we can destroy ALL the things!' fear is wildly misplaced.

Well, it wouldn't be an immediate, in a day the human race is wiped out kinda thing.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Wodashin » Thu May 10, 2012 7:45 pm UTC

Nuclear weapons have saved so many more potential lives than they've ever killed, so I don't even see how people can be upset about 'em. You don't see the kinds of wars that plagued Europe over and over anymore. You just don't see huge infantry units going against huge infantry units, with men dying in droves. Technological improvement of the tools of war have saved potential lives. It does start becoming an "all or nothing" situation after a while, but MAD basically served us well in the Cold War. Sure, there may have been fear, but the wars at the time were mostly small. Nothing like what probably would've happened if we didn't develop nukes. Japan would've hunkered down for a multi-year brawl, and would've killed all POWs if the Americans landed on their shores. And the Cold War probably would've had a lot more direct fighting. Nuclear weapons saved the lives of many Russians, seeing as, before nuclear weapons, their strategy was "throw men at the enemy until they run out of ammo".

/offtopic

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Роберт » Thu May 10, 2012 7:51 pm UTC

Wodashin wrote:
Spoiler:
Nuclear weapons have saved so many more potential lives than they've ever killed, so I don't even see how people can be upset about 'em. You don't see the kinds of wars that plagued Europe over and over anymore. You just don't see huge infantry units going against huge infantry units, with men dying in droves. Technological improvement of the tools of war have saved potential lives. It does start becoming an "all or nothing" situation after a while, but MAD basically served us well in the Cold War. Sure, there may have been fear, but the wars at the time were mostly small. Nothing like what probably would've happened if we didn't develop nukes. Japan would've hunkered down for a multi-year brawl, and would've killed all POWs if the Americans landed on their shores. And the Cold War probably would've had a lot more direct fighting. Nuclear weapons saved the lives of many Russians, seeing as, before nuclear weapons, their strategy was "throw men at the enemy until they run out of ammo".


/offtopic

<offtopic>
Spoiler:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate_over_the_atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki#Militarily_unnecessary
The 1946 United States Strategic Bombing Survey, written by Paul Nitze, concluded that the atomic bombs had been unnecessary to the winning of the war.

</offtopic>
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Wodashin » Thu May 10, 2012 8:34 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:<offtopic>
Spoiler:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate_over_the_atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki#Militarily_unnecessary
The 1946 United States Strategic Bombing Survey, written by Paul Nitze, concluded that the atomic bombs had been unnecessary to the winning of the war.

</offtopic>


Spoiler:
keyword: winning

Also, "This conclusion assumed that a conventional fire-bombing attack would have continued, with ever-increasing numbers of B-29s, and a greater level of destruction to Japan's cities and population". So, instead of nuking them, we could've just razed their cities and bomb them to submission? If I remember correctly, the nukes did in the very least save the lives of all the POWs in Japanese hands at the time. Not only that, I'm pretty sure there was a coup that could've happened to take power from the Emperor since he did seem likely to surrender, even before the nukes were dropped. So it's possible they could've surrendered without nukes, and we could've just bombed them tons (which isn't much better). Or Japan could've hunkered down. We still would've won either way, but both of those don't seem any better than the nukes, and an invasion would've been worse. The Japanese government might've been leaning towards surrender, but the military did not seem so. Seeing as those were the guys who were willing to throw their planes into boats, a suicide last-stand doesn't seem too out there.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby setzer777 » Thu May 10, 2012 8:51 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
setzer777 wrote:I mostly agree with the point about nostalgia, except that things have increased in scale. However bad wars got in the past, I don't think there was ever any risk of destroying the entire species via warfare.


I don't think that risk currently exists. It would take a very calculated effort of every military on the planet to eradicate the entire species. You could drastically reduce the population of humans on the planet, but this whole 'we can destroy ALL the things!' fear is wildly misplaced.

Well, it wouldn't be an immediate, in a day the human race is wiped out kinda thing.


Yeah, my understanding was that with enough fallout (in the right places), the human race could be at least reduced to small enough numbers to make extinction a real possibility.

Oh, and I made that comment in reference to people talking about distant ancestors talking about how bad things were. I suppose 30 years ago there was more of an existential threat than today.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby BattleMoose » Fri May 11, 2012 1:07 am UTC

"We didn't start the fire,
It was always burning,
Since the Worlds been turning"


The world always appears to be in crisis. Surely some crises will be more critical than others but whatever crisis we are focusing on, the world is in crisis.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Ikillu » Fri May 11, 2012 1:59 am UTC

I'm not one who has experienced the attitudes of past decades, but I'd reckon that recent times have had an exaggerated sense of negativity. I'd believe that there were similar feelings in the past, but I think two factors have made recent times different.

1. Recent financial downturn: From my education I'm lead to believe these are bound to happen, but for some reason it seems people are blowing this out of proportion. Especially since many of the people who complain of a bad economy hold themselves to have a very high standard of living. (But if you don't have enough money to get the iPad 2, the world HAS to be going down the tubes.)

2. The prevalence of media: With the widespread use of the Internet, people are receiving loads of information about their world in an unprecedented fashion. Unfortunately, bad news seems to make better headlines, so everyone is constantly hearing about the ills of this world, moreso than earlier times. When people hear so much bad news, they tend to think things are going downhill.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Jorpho » Fri May 11, 2012 4:08 am UTC

induction wrote:or the bacteria that breaks down insect exoskeletons would become extinct and all of the chitin would be trapped in huge mounds of dead bugs everywhere
Wow. Was that really a Thing? (I do hear that the risk of rampant overpopulation was apparently freaking people out for a while back then.)

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Inglonias » Fri May 11, 2012 1:39 pm UTC

Ikillu wrote:I'm not one who has experienced the attitudes of past decades, but I'd reckon that recent times have had an exaggerated sense of negativity. I'd believe that there were similar feelings in the past, but I think two factors have made recent times different.

1. Recent financial downturn: From my education I'm lead to believe these are bound to happen, but for some reason it seems people are blowing this out of proportion. Especially since many of the people who complain of a bad economy hold themselves to have a very high standard of living. (But if you don't have enough money to get the iPad 2, the world HAS to be going down the tubes.)

2. The prevalence of media: With the widespread use of the Internet, people are receiving loads of information about their world in an unprecedented fashion. Unfortunately, bad news seems to make better headlines, so everyone is constantly hearing about the ills of this world, moreso than earlier times. When people hear so much bad news, they tend to think things are going downhill.


I feel that reason 2 may also contribute to the political deadlock in Washington. People don't know how to handle the privileges that the internet has given them quite yet. So far, what people with internet access usually do is speak their mind. This is good, but so many others do the same that they have to yell or do something outrageous to be noticed. People, including politicians are trying to be heard, but all they can do is become louder and/or more outrageous to stand out from the crowd.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby induction » Fri May 11, 2012 3:02 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
induction wrote:or the bacteria that breaks down insect exoskeletons would become extinct and all of the chitin would be trapped in huge mounds of dead bugs everywhere
Wow. Was that really a Thing? (I do hear that the risk of rampant overpopulation was apparently freaking people out for a while back then.)

I 'learned' that in an ecology class at university in 1993-ish. The professor said it would kill the carbon cycle. I'm not sure if anyone still thinks that, but google turns up at least one [url=http://www.columbustownhall.com/index.php?topic=1674.msg%msg_id%]page[/url] where 'missing chitin' is used in an argument attempting to debunk global warming because it sequesters carbon.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby setzer777 » Fri May 11, 2012 3:08 pm UTC

The weird thing is that unless we are vastly misunderstanding the nature of the universe, eventually some generation somewhere (maybe not Earth) will be justified in saying "holy shit, we are the last members of the species* that will ever exist."

*And eventually someone will be able to say the same think about being the last sentient life to ever exist.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby weasel@xkcd » Fri May 11, 2012 3:24 pm UTC

I can't say that I've felt any 'sense of doom' and in fact I feel hugely optimistic about the future.

People are living longer than ever before (more than half of children born today will live past 100) and we've a far greater quality of life, the internet is bringing people across the world together and putting unprecedented power to communicate in the hands of anyone who wants it, I'm living a life free from absolutely any credible fear of war, the 'financial meltdown' was barely a ripple over here, tolerance is gradually being extended to more and more groups within society and well frankly life just seems brilliant.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Derek » Fri May 11, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:The weird thing is that unless we are vastly misunderstanding the nature of the universe, eventually some generation somewhere (maybe not Earth) will be justified in saying "holy shit, we are the last members of the species* that will ever exist."

*And eventually someone will be able to say the same think about being the last sentient life to ever exist.

Actually I think it's far more likely that the last humans/sentient life will be unaware that they're the last. I think most likely they'll think that believe are other groups surviving somewhere out there.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby EdgePenguin » Fri May 11, 2012 8:47 pm UTC

Its easy to say that any pervasive sense of doom is just the same pervasive sense of doom that was unfounded a generation ago, but that is inductive and not necessarily correct. What makes me suspect this crisis is different from a run of the mill depression, is that there was a crisis, there was the response from governments and markets, and now 4 years later none of it worked. The mechanisms the western economic system had to deal with this problem have quite publicly failed, and it seems like the post cold war international order is out of tricks.

A global change might not be bad on paper, but we have all be trained to function in the current system, getting on the property ladder, buying stuff with our credit cards, working extra hours all the time etc. A sense of doom could be from the perception that there is real change in the air, and that we will be poorly adapted for it.

Not to worry though; there is always a new generation coming up that won't know any different, and can quite happily operate whatever variation of the global economic system comes out of all this, whilst we sit on our porches and moan about things not being like the 'good old days'

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Jonesthe Spy » Fri May 11, 2012 10:49 pm UTC

I think there has been a "pervasive sense of doom" for awhile now. 30 years ago and further back it was the Cold War fear of nuclear annihilation, nowadays it's fear that nuclear terrorism is inevitable combined with environmental collapse.

Say what you want about nostalgia and false imaginings of "good old days", but it's only been the last few decades that humanity has literally been able to destroy ourselves and take the rest of the planet with us. That's kind of a game changer in terms of feelings of forboding and impending doom.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Ikillu » Sat May 12, 2012 1:25 am UTC

Jonesthe Spy wrote:I think there has been a "pervasive sense of doom" for awhile now. 30 years ago and further back it was the Cold War fear of nuclear annihilation, nowadays it's fear that nuclear terrorism is inevitable combined with environmental collapse.

Say what you want about nostalgia and false imaginings of "good old days", but it's only been the last few decades that humanity has literally been able to destroy ourselves and take the rest of the planet with us. That's kind of a game changer in terms of feelings of forboding and impending doom.


The part on nuclear annihilation makes sense when you talk about the attitude during the cold war, but that is 20 years removed from now. There seems no risk for a full-blown nuclear war, and even nuclear terrorism seems like something that goes unnoticed outside of first-person shooters. There are definitely those who feel doomed by effect which we have had on our environment, but I think that most people today aren't really processing this. Materialism seems more prevalent when people complain about going from an affluent lifestyle to an ever-so-slightly-less-affluent lifestyle (at least in my personal experiences). It seems that to most, political balance and global balance often take a backseat to bank balance.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby c_programmer » Sat May 12, 2012 1:34 am UTC

It depends on the exact sense of doom. The first one I see is the sense that everything they know will collapse. Looking at things as history in motion almost necessarily requires that cultures and nations fall and rise. This sense of doom is better called change. This is why some social conservatives see homosexuality as an impending doom on their society; it is the complete change of a tradition they hold sacred. Even if the western economy collapses it will be bad, but it will go back up again -- perhaps with many changes.

The other type of doom is actual doom; our species being wiped out. Many religions have predictions of how this will happen and many believe that it will happen in their lifetime. I see the feeling that we are in the end times to be a human condition; we are very finite beings and I think it bugs most of us that we are just a drop in the ocean that will be forgotten (give me the name of your great, great, great grandfather on either side of you think I'm wrong). I think people subconsciously want to see the world come to an end soon so that something else moves as fast as they do.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Jorpho » Sat May 12, 2012 2:01 am UTC

weasel@xkcd wrote:I can't say that I've felt any 'sense of doom' and in fact I feel hugely optimistic about the future.

People are living longer than ever before (more than half of children born today will live past 100) and we've a far greater quality of life, the internet is bringing people across the world together and putting unprecedented power to communicate in the hands of anyone who wants it, I'm living a life free from absolutely any credible fear of war, the 'financial meltdown' was barely a ripple over here, tolerance is gradually being extended to more and more groups within society and well frankly life just seems brilliant.
Hmm, Australia, eh? You should take a gander at Jared Diamond's grim outlook of the continent's environmental conditions in "Collapse". Or not.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Zamfir » Sat May 12, 2012 12:12 pm UTC

Then again, Limits to growth was published 40 years ago this year. The particular sense of doom you see in Diamond definitely existed 30 years ago, in at least the same strength.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Mambo4 » Sun May 13, 2012 2:45 am UTC

I was a teenager in the 80's, and I'd have to say yes. MAD(Mutually Assured destruction) akak"deterrent"was the defacto Nuclear Strategy of the day. Most of my High School friends maintained the nihilistic belief that "they" (those in power ) were going to blow up the world eventually. Consequently, we partied a lot.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Diadem » Sun May 13, 2012 4:16 am UTC

I always get the impression that the period following the second world war was a very optimistic one. People were rebuilding and looking forward to a bright new future. Specifically the 60s and 70s, when most of the actual rebuilding was done, and living standard were shooting up.

Of course I could be wrong. I wasn't alive back in those times. But that's always the impression I get of those times. The 80s meanwhile sound somber. Vietnam, Chernobyl, depression.

Of course my perception of the past might be coloured. Also, it's from a Dutch perspective. Perhaps things were very different in the USA. In fact I bet they were, the war had much more shallow impact on US culture. Not that the war didn't have a big impact in the US, but here in The Netherlands it's all-defining.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby mosc » Sun May 13, 2012 6:22 am UTC

Holy fuck I got old. That's my general impression on this thread.

No, things are way better off now in the US then they were in the 70s. You couldn't get any gas and many people decided against having children because they believed the world would destroy itself before they would get to have a decent life. The financial crisis of the late 80s was pretty rough in the middle of 12 years of republican presidents raising spending, cutting taxes, and creating the expectation of deficit spending that lingers to this day.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Derek » Sun May 13, 2012 10:16 am UTC

Diadem wrote:I always get the impression that the period following the second world war was a very optimistic one. People were rebuilding and looking forward to a bright new future. Specifically the 60s and 70s, when most of the actual rebuilding was done, and living standard were shooting up.

Of course I could be wrong. I wasn't alive back in those times. But that's always the impression I get of those times. The 80s meanwhile sound somber. Vietnam, Chernobyl, depression.

Of course my perception of the past might be coloured. Also, it's from a Dutch perspective. Perhaps things were very different in the USA. In fact I bet they were, the war had much more shallow impact on US culture. Not that the war didn't have a big impact in the US, but here in The Netherlands it's all-defining.

Vietnam was a 60's and 70's event, it was already well over by the 80's.

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby lutzj » Sun May 13, 2012 1:28 pm UTC

Yeah, the postwar period is interesting for mixing an incredible sense of progress and optimism with the horrors of conflict and the constant threat of nuclear self-annihilation. Even the period right after the fall of Nazi Germany was sullied by FDR's death and the discovery of the full extent of the Holocaust.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby FierceContinent » Mon May 14, 2012 12:00 am UTC

Whether we find ourselves in the best times or the worst times it is always important that we do not give in to either despair or complacency.

eg. get the ******* local paper and see if theres anything happening in your area you can help with.
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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby Choboman » Wed May 16, 2012 7:42 pm UTC

Every decade has it's share of stuff to get bummed about...
1960s - Vietnam War, race riots, Cuban Missle Crisis, Kennedy & MLK assasinations
1970s - Vietnam continues, Watergate, Oil shortages, Stagflation, Japanaphobia, war in Middle East, Guyana suicides, massacres in Uganda, famine in Bangladesh, rise of dictatorships in Africa, Middle East, Asia
1980s - Recession, many wars in Middle East, famine in Ethiopia, rise terrorism (Beruit, Rome, Lockerbie, etc), Khmer-Rouge, Iran-Contra, Sandinistas, War on Drugs, Bhopal, Challenger, Chernobyl, Exxon Valdez, Aids, Aparthied
1990s - Balkanization, genicide in Rwanda, riots in LA, more terrorism (World Trade Center, Oklahoma City, Omagh, Buenos Aires, Manchester)

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Re: Did the same pervasive sense of doom exist 30 years ago?

Postby KestrelLowing » Fri May 25, 2012 8:25 pm UTC

The one place where I think there probably wasn't as much doom back then as there is now is in employment for younger people. There have always been issues with finding a job, but I think everyone can agree that right now is one of the worst times for a young person to find a job (although it has been picking up from say, 2008). A combination of the financial crisis, the fact that many jobs are being shipped overseas, the near requirement for everyone to have a bachelor's degree - even in unskilled jobs, and that people are staying in the workforce longer has made it very difficult for people to find jobs. (OT: Also the unwillingness of companies to train people. Seriously, if someone doesn't have experience with a particular programming language you use but know several others does not mean they're not qualified!)

My parents graduated college in the 80s and while they, like everyone else, had to really look for a job, the majority of people could find one where they were not horribly underemployed. Right now, they agree that they didn't have half the problems finding a job compared to my brothers who graduated in 2009.

So, my guess is that the doom has always existed, but the focus of the doom shifts.


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