The Best of People, the Worst of People

Charles DickensI have long thought that every generation believes theirs to be the worst, and every generation is right. But that does not mean that things only get worse. My experience of life indicates that things are ever getting different. And for conservatives souls, which all humans are, this is bad. I’ve long noted that when at the grocery store the day before the Super Bowl when there are 12 check stands open, that everyone would choose, if they could, to get into a single queue. The mad rush to find the best stand is not about getting ahead of others but only about maintaining their rightful place.

It is only reptiles and vicious beasts who will not share a kill that they cannot eat all by themselves. We are, at base, cooperative creatures that want nothing more than our due. And when we behave badly it is not because we are greedy but because we fear others’ greed.

If this time seems worse than times we remember, it is because we inevitably lose our connection to each other, and thus our belief in each other. But none of this really matters, and anyway: Dickens was right about our times and ourselves:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Don’t expect me to be so cheery tomorrow.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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