This is a saying that I've been questioning all my life. "Things were better", they say. "When?" and the answer is always "Back then." So, as a child I took it without any further consideration and I believed that things were better before- and we live in a world that is full of innovation that has actually led to the worse.
How did this paradigm even started?
As I grew older I know none of those things are true. As I learned about history, or it doesn't even have to be history per se. Knowing what it's like in the past, having a depiction, a correct image in the past, so you don't refer in to just the past. You can't just compare things now, with somewhere in the past. Like, when in the past? Where in the past exactly? Most of the time they cannot answer. Or, they'd answer with a wrong reference. For example, saying the environment were better in the 18th century. Where in the 18th century exactly? Certainly not in London though right? (seriously? it was a living hell to be living on a big town in England when the industrial revolution happened. Pollution were all over the place, that's also the reason why englishmen wear hats everywhere) or just having a really false conception about an era of a time and place.
Things weren't better in the past.
It's just the same- or worse.
So, I found the main problem: people don't study their history. They don't know what it was like then, so it was easy to pin point to the past. As my founding father Soekarno said, "Jangan sekali-sekali melupakan sejarah" or translated as "Never even once you forget history". Because, ignorance about history, can make you believe someone of their false words about the past. You can easily fall into someone ideals because you didn't know any better.
And I believe that things are better now. We should really change a conception about blaming the way things are now. If we find a fault of the current condition, why don't we improve further of the current condition instead of just reminiscing to the past. Even if it were actually better.
My point is, "things were better" paradigm is a very harmful one. It's a point of view that will keep us stuck in the past. When we do see a fault, we'll only regret it instead of making a change. For an amount of time, suddenly everyone will stop trying to improve for the better. And it will break my heart and the kinds of me.