life, philosophy

Longing for Simpler Times

Man is an overcomplicated organism. If he is doomed for extinction, he will die out for want of simplicity. ~ Ezra Pound

little lori bw wm

Life is different today than it was in my youth, and it doesn’t seem to have improved. Daily life is more stressful, complicated, and quite frankly, corrupt. A type of innocence is lost.

I understand that life is not just black and white like the photos on this blog post, but humans tend to make things way more complicated than necessary.

It’s satisfactory not to be responsible, or even pay bills. In fact, having values or morals, whether related to religion or not, seems to be treated as passé or unenlightened. Traditional values have disappeared to the point where even the traditional family is looked upon as small-minded.

Many believe we need to change, or progress in order to evolve.  This is well and good, I’m all for change, but why must it mean we need to give up our values? Isn’t standing by our values and being honest about them called “integrity?” Or, is that passé too?

Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity. ~ Thor Heyerdahl

When I speak of morals, I’m not necessarily referring to religion, although those who are devoted to a religion are belittled these days too. Someone like Tim Tebow is made out to be some sort of freak, or unintelligent, because of his faith. I don’t consider myself the type of Christian Tebow is, but I don’t understand why living a wholesome life of faith is a bad thing. He isn’t hurting anyone, yet he’s treated like he’s a low-life who is beneath our society. This is progress? His type of character used to be held up as a role model.

Aside from religion,  I was raised to have virtue. I was taught to “be a lady,” respect myself and my elders, be polite, greet my loved ones with a kiss and a hug, be there for each other, even though we argue (and we Italians do argue). I was taught that I was responsible for my own actions, which meant dealing with the consequences whether they be good or bad.

Don’t even get me started on reality television. However, such TV shows are pretty blatant indicators of the degradation of our society, which includes being pigs in public, disrespectful, uncaring, selfish, rude, irresponsible and even violent with one another.

I read somewhere that there are fewer inventive people in our world today. Much of the youth doesn’t know how to create things with their hands. They get a trophy just for showing up. They are taught that competition is a bad thing because it hurts someone’s feelings. So, where do they gain self-confidence, and what motivates them to thrive?

If there exists no possibility of failure, then victory is meaningless. ~ Robert Schuller

We talk about taking away guns from people, most especially disturbed people, but how are they getting disturbed in the first place? Perhaps this “village” (society) that is supposed to help raise a child is misleading our youth. In the real world, when failure hits, they think it’s the end of the world. Maybe this is why so many behave as if they have nothing to lose, because they feel worthless. If there are no winners or losers, where do we set our standards? What do we have, if not dreams to reach goals that we’ve seen made possible by others?

I’m not saying that simpler times means that the “Leave it to Beaver” world exists. God knows, I’ve dealt with my share of dysfunction. It’s what much of my writing is about, but it’s also about overcoming such dysfunction.

I long for simple times like these:

A grandson adhering the advice of Grandpa.

A grandson adhering the advice of Grandpa.

When accomplishing something felt good, even if someone else lost. We were taught to be good sports. Someone else’s achievement was held up for us to aspire to reach. We learned it was possible for all of us if we put our hearts and minds into it.

piezon ribbon bw wm

Those of us who had less made the best of things. We gathered with family and friends in unfinished basements, to have the space to celebrate special occasions. If someone else was rich, the word “fairness” didn’t cross our minds. We weren’t angry and didn’t feel sorry for ourselves. Those with wealth gave us possible goals to reach, and we were grateful for what we did have. It seems like gratitude is a thing of the past too.

early years bw wm

We found ordinary, inexpensive ways to have a family night with entertainment.

Courtesy of Wikipedia commons.
Courtesy of Wikipedia commons.

booth bw wm 3

We hung out and laughed with friends over a malt.

I am a person who needs balance (I am a Libra after all). The pendulum is flying way to far to the other side for me to feel comfortable these days. I know there is a way to evolve into a more educated society without giving up our values and keep life simple.

This is the longest post I’ve ever written, so I will step down off my soapbox now, and go back to keeping them under 5oo words (most of the time).

The goal of life: simple, but not empty. ~Terri Guillemets

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22 thoughts on “Longing for Simpler Times”

    1. At times there doesn’t seem to be enough of us to make a difference. But, it doesn’t stop me from doing my part. Thanks for reading this, and for your input Miss A.

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  1. You are so right! Society has definitely relaxed its standards over the years. The reality shows in particular grate on my nerves. MTV promotes young adults who know nothing of working for a living, stretching their minds, or behaving respectfully. The public wants to see the limits pushed and so they are pushed to the extreme. Where are the role models who can teach our children to be the best kind of person they can be?

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  2. This is NOT the longest post. Is it? 🙂 Reading it went by pretty quick! The price we’ve paid for comfort and progress and “success” has no doubt been a selfishness and “monetization” of the human soul unfortunately. Although your values are not the values of everyone else and you still have the right to live the way you want, it sure the hell isn’t easy when we look around society.

    You have to fend for yourself best you can.

    I’ve chosen the zen route which isn’t easy when you have to “cloister” yourself and ignore most of what’s out there. Which is sad because when I (we) was (were) growing up we fully participated in society. (I apologize for that sentence and my response here I’m only on my second sip of coffee). Although I know we glamorize our upbringing nowadays as most “older” generations do, there’s so much fact in it as to be maddening.

    We have to live our faith in the day to day which you know means spreading the love best we can while standing firm in what we believe no matter what, like big Time does! 🙂 No matter what the cost. That’s how I see it anyway.

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    1. Heya, Pete. Commenting on only your second sip of coffee? Yikes! I’ve read your blog, I know how you are with your coffee. Hee, hee. I guess this isn’t my longest post if you count my short stories. I’ve only put a few of those up and consider those different, almost like a short kindle read.

      You mentioned older generations glamorizing our pasts. I suppose I do to some extent. But, perhaps it’s also that I’ve overcome it. I’ve seen how we can overcome instead of playing the blame game like so many do today. It’s the pendulum thing I mentioned, swinging way too far for me. The zen approach is good. I use it on occasion, but it’s difficult for me to stay in that zen spot. Sometimes reading your zen-ish blog reminds me. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading this. I always appreciate your input.

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  3. It’s a challenging time we’re living in now. The pendulum does seem to have swung far to one side and will hopefully be moving back toward balance. It feels impossible to change the world, but more possible for each of us to realize that deep inner I AM that you wrote about, the place which deeply changes our perspective. Thank you so much for posting this.

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  4. Great post Lori. It prompted me to think back to some wonderful moments. The winning part can be taken both ways. One being the axiom “it’s not whether you win or lose but rather how you played the game”. The other is the old quote “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. Magarita’s statement that change IS the norm is sadly true, but it’s so hard for those of us who lived with the Greatest Generation. And one last point is a correction to Purplebough’s comment that Lincoln never won a single political race until he ran for President. Lincoln was elected four times to the Illinois State House of Representatives and once as Congressman before being elected President. In this day and age does anyone think Lincoln could be elected today?
    .

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    1. Hey Patrick. 🙂 You made some wonderful points. It certainly is how much effort we put into playing the game. It’s better than sitting back and not trying at all out of fear. Thank you for clearing up Lincoln’s elected offices and thank you for your input.

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  5. Finding many thoughts embedded in this post to comment on, I want to single out the comment on winning and losing, particularly in sports, where everyone is given a trophy for showing up so they will not feel bad.
    Notre Dame: I would think they knew they had lost the “game”; the coach did not get the crystal ball; but they also knew they had not lost the ability to play another day and maybe play a little harder; with more heart; and perhaps win that trophy. Do you think all those guys where given trophies as kids when they were playing? If so, would they have been as gracious in their loss to AL? or would they have all been angry that there was no crystal ball for their coach?
    In real life people win and people lose in whatever setting they find themselves; however losing a game or a blue ribbon does not make “them” a “loser”. It makes people stronger to lose. Abraham Lincoln never won a single political race until he won the presidency. What if he had called himself a loser and dropped out? Albert Einstein only finished the third grade; he was not a loser.
    I agree with Lori that our children have become desensitized to values like honesty and integrity and I, too, long for that simple life. We were not wealthy; yet we knew wealthy people and were not jealous or envious of their wealth. We were grateful for what we had and we certainly showed respect to each other. Perhaps we were bullied in school but without FB it was usually handled by family members and not escalated into a national problem. Families took care of family members….and yes, I did have a village to raise me, for better or for worse.
    This is a thoughtful, insightful post. Thank you, Lori.

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    1. Well, you’ve pretty much said it all, Linda. But, of course, I have one more thing to say, as always. Here is a quote I love on “failure” by Robert Schuller. “Losing (failing) doesn’t mean someone is a loser (failure), it just means they haven’t won (succeeded) yet.”

      Ever notice how “underdog” movies are so popular? Because it shows us all how someone who loses still has the potential to win, and reminds us that we all do too.

      Thank you for reading this long post and for your wonderful input.

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  6. This with taking guns away from disturbed people, who will decide who is disturbed or not ???? Are you going to be sent through some kind of metal detector???
    I agree with you that we – the society – has to take our responsibility for what is going on – we have to be the ones that shows the way for the young – being the proud example that they can refer too. We have teach our kids to respect everybody – doesn’t matter what skin color or religion. But we also show kids the respect too – no beating and abuse, physical or mental – treat them as we would like to be treated. Let them be children so long as possible and let them believe in Santa, soon enough they grow up and have to take on real life. We have to show love, affection and protect them. We have to start at home.

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    1. Ha, ha, we need a mentally disturbed detector. I sometimes fear that the movie Minority Report will come into reality one of these days. Loved your comment, Viveka. Thank you for your input.

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  7. Perhaps it’s not about giving up our values, Lori. Perhaps it’s about how to continue expressing them as we change. Change IS the norm, much as we’d like it to be otherwise. It is not the FORM of the value we call Respect, both for self and for others, that is important; it is the essence of the value itself that’s important. For example, in my view, there can be no winners and losers, for when one of us loses, we’re all losers. Conversely, when one of us wins, we’re all winners. So, how do we go about all being winners? I think it’s about being supportive of one another in our efforts and remembering that while we’re all equal, we’re not the same. Much as I enjoy sports, I do feel that the emphasis on winning creates a polarization that we can well do without: no one wants to be thought of as a loser, and, sadly, if strength and might are perceived as winning then we do teeter on the brink of a more combative environment. So glad you brought this up for examination, my friend! xoxoM

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    1. Hey Miss M, thank you for reading this long post. For me, it’s a matter of perspective on how we see losing. I personally don’t perceive someone who lost as a loser. Heck, putting themselves out there in the first place is a big win in my book. I see loss as temporary, and an opportunity for growth. Perhaps this more optimistic language could be used when a loss occurs. Maybe it would help someone not feel like a loser. I appreciate your insightful input.

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      1. Yes, Lori, I agree, perhaps it’s time to re-assess our understanding of what these words communicate and use them more mindfully. In the human world, everything is temporary. We forget that! xoxoM

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    1. I tend to lean toward anxiety when things are out of balance. Though I’m working on that. Thanks so much for reading it, Millie, and for the nice comment.

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