Prompt 100: In Or Out Of The '70s
100. If you were sent back to the 1970s, what would you miss the most about living in the present day and why? Would there be aspects of today you'd be happy to be rid of? Why or why not?
What would I miss the most about life today that would be unavailable or unattainable in the 1970s? Hmm.
I think the only thing I would miss were I sent back to live in the 1970s would be a good cuppa coffee. I have a friend who has his own coffee shop and coffee roastery. I don't think he would be able to do something like that back in the 70s, and although I have no idea how to test out this theory, I think that's the only thing that wouldn't measure up in terms of quality to what's available today.
Film, music, other entertainment, racial equality, human rights, armed conflict between nations, living standards, job opportunities, consumer protections, bicycling, environmental protections, accessibility/affordability of quality healthcare... As I stop to consider it - at least, from what I know now - I'm not convinced that life has really improved much in terms of other measurable vectors. Of course, today life is a nightmare. So maybe the rose-coloured glasses through which I view the 1970s are somewhat impossible to remove, at least for the moment.
Perhaps some philosophical and/or ethical writings and literature hadn't been conceived yet. That would be something I would miss. Radical feminism, for instance, was just finding its legs in the '70s. Considering how its fared leading up to today - and how "fun feminism" and even the radical trans agenda and the Men's Rights Movement have either co-opted or vilified radical feminism - I wonder if the movement would be better or worse off at its nascent beginnings. Anti-natalism and true critical examination of consumer culture hadn't seemed to have made much of an impact as of yet in the '70s. Environmental movements were still dead on arrival.
Of course, the entire neoliberal economic thrust of politics and government really didn't find its footing until Reagan became the president. Its beginnings were in the '70s, however. You could even argue the case of it starting the decade before that.
What would I be happy to leave behind from the present day? The Internet. Far and away, that's the clear "winner."
Sure, I'm using the Internet right now to post these thoughts, for example. Maybe people all across the world will read them, maybe not. But they wouldn't have access at all without the Internet, and wouldn't know what they were missing. I think the Internet - with its meshing of technology, communication, and consumerism into one amorphous, decentralized mass of wants and indulgences - represents everything wrong with human culture. I've read it elsewhere and I agree with it: the advent of the Internet to the masses was a net negative. It does more harm than good. The rise of narcissism, junk science, bullying, pornography, human trafficking, and even the promotion of consumerism... All these things have been boosted by the Internet.
Imagine living in a pre-AOL world again... When only the egghead scientists had the Internet and email. When Google didn't exist. Twenty years before Amazon started selling even books.
I'd miss a good cuppa coffee, and maybe being in touch with my penpals. But that's about it.