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For-Better: Or Worse


This article was written when Brendan was seventeen year-old.

Highlights "..We fantasize about times past in which we could have used the knowledge and experience we have now, yet we are unable to recognize new breakthroughs, whether they be trivial or pragmatic.."

-Read the whole article.



I cannot recall the very first time I seriously explored my intellectuality, but I can recall the countless situations prior to that in which intellectuality would have been useful to have on hand. That's just it, isn't it? We humans are, in fact, not very imaginative creatures. We fantasize about times past in which we could have used the knowledge and experience we have now, yet we are unable to recognize new breakthroughs, whether they be trivial or pragmatic. I've recently begun stewing over an age-old debate that people everywhere and everywhen will probably never be able to solve: Is the world progressing positively or negatively?


I'm well aware of most people's gut reactions to this question. "Of course it is getting worse! We have terrorists, murders, teenage angst, the crumbling economy, 2012-" Whatever one's reason, it would be difficult to not be upset or concerned about the world. I myself remember being on my school's debate team in eighth grade, and being assigned to debate the moot point: The world is becoming a better place. Having bad karma at the time, I was assigned to argue that it was.


So what did I do? I wrote up a heartless, shameless, soulless argument. I think it went something like this: Well, ummm...technology is getting better-like...we have more medical...advances and cleaner energy...and ummm...we're becoming more developed, and uhhh...society is improving? Yeah. Being eighth graders with the intellectual maturity of a cockroach, we were obviously unable to think up something that wasn't trite, unoriginal, and utterly unconvincing. Throw in some toilet humor and I can safely say that we lost the debate.


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for-better | or worse | article | seventeen-year-old | point of view

For-Better: Or Worse -An Article from a seventeen-year-old's Point of View. ..We fantasize about times past in which we could have used the knowledge and experience we have now, yet we are unable to recognize new breakthroughs, whether they be trivial or pragmatic..



But now I look back at that debate and I think of what I could have done. "That's just it, isn't it? We humans are, in fact, not very imaginative creatures. We fantasize about times past in which we could have used the knowledge and experience we have now, yet we are unable to recognize new breakthroughs, whether they be trivial or pragmatic."


What humanity needs to realize is that all of these "bad things" happening to the world are just repetitions and variations of eternal themes. Greed, violence, idiocy, and dishonesty and trickery have been around since the dawn of civilization. These few themes cast a massive shadow over all the advances and refinements that this world has gone through over the eras. Imagine a grassy field, with a magnificent tree in its center. While there are millions of blades of grass, they are all ignored because all the of passers-by are fixated on the tree.


The good things are the blades of grass, and the bad things are the tree. It does not become a quantitative battle of attrition between good and evil; it is rather a field of human triumph and benevolence ignored due to an over looming shadow, a taint, a corruption. And the more attention people pay to the tree, the greater it becomes.


"We humans are, in fact, not very imaginative creatures." And the few who are do so to make the world a better place to live. Solving this debate about the direction of the world is immaterial; the important aspect is the approach to the concept. While many people stew in the shadow of the tree, just as many are attempting to escape it. Perhaps some insecurity is necessary; if we thought the world could only get better, it would only get worse. Progress must occur, be it out of fear, curiosity, or spite. All help us avoid stagnation. And in avoiding stagnation, we as a species will only travel in one direction: up.



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