> Given the choice between being a hunter gatherer, or working in the English
> coal mines in the 1800's, which would you choose between?
Hunter gatherer. Life would be short either way, but the h-g existence would be more fun then coughing up my lungs in an English coal mine.
> Granted this is a false binary, since you might choose to live in 1800
> England over living in Africa a 50,000 years ago, and you might prefer to
> live in the US in 2000 most of all.
I don't think that many people really understand what h-g existence was like. If they did and they were given this question, I suspect that quite a few would pick h-g.
> But the point is, as Carrol said, the notion that things are getting
> monotonically better every day for everyone is false. Even the assumption
> that overall things are generally improving for most is untrue. There is
> no inherent tendency towards progress. Had the Cuban missle crisis led to
> nuclear war, you would definitely wish humanity was still hunting and
> gathering. It didn't happen, but it might have, and might still.
Exactly. It must be a unique form of consciousness for First World white people to be able to believe that human history has naturally led to the stage of existence that they enjoy. Never mind that several billion people are hungry and living miserable lives.
Shit, a werid thought just struck me. Maybe modern America is like one big Truman Show experience for most of the middle and upper classes.