Was There A Dimensional Shift After The Turn Of The Century?

rasputin

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I don't know if anybody else feels like this but since around the turn of the century/9/11 it feels like everything seems different in a very negative way. I am sure the huge changes in society brought about by technology/the internet have contributed massively but it feels as if some horrible Pandora's box was opened (on 9/11? or at the turn of the century) and everything has become extreme. People seem less human, society is extremely polarised, politics is a complete mess and the future seems depressing and the world seems alien.

The time before all this (the 80s and 90s) was somehow quite magickal and although we didn't have all the things that make life supposedly easier now, there was a sense of positivity - that the future would be brighter (and then Blair got elected :mad:).

Does anybody else feel like this? Could we be living in a different, darker dimension, accidentally (or otherwise) opened 20 years ago (like the Upside Down from Stranger Things)?
 

catseye

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I think it may have to do more with you ageing (sorry) than with actual events.

I've found, as I get older, it's far easier to slip into a negative 'nothing is as good as it used to be' frame of mind.
 

MissViolet

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Yes, the 90s seemed fun and optimistic; towards the end of the decade, it felt like everything was finally alright.
Except it wasn't. There was so much below the surface that I just wasn't aware of because I was in my 20s and easily distracted by shiny things. Now, I have a bigger and more experienced worldview; it's not that things have gotten worse, rather that I can see more things.
Also, whilst there is much horror, there are tons of ways that life is much better. Society is more accepting in many ways (I speak through experience). Technology means that (to just use one example) a child I teach has access to media and data covering thousands of years.
Every single generation feels this way sooner or later. I've read pieces from the 17th and18th centuries that express just the same fears.
 

Shady

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For me the 70's 80's and 90's were magical, when you are young you have the world at your feet, and mostly you do not give a toss, as you turn older you have the weight of that same world on your shoulders and damn, it is heavy, so age is the factor i think
 

rasputin

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For me the 70's 80's and 90's were magical, when you are young you have the world at your feet, and mostly you do not give a toss, as you turn older you have the weight of that same world on your shoulders and damn, it is heavy, so age is the factor i think

Yes I am sure a lot of it is to do with aging and the fact that when you are young, everything is a new experience and therefore novel and exciting. However, I can't help but feel everything is more polarised. For example, I don't remember there being so much "identity" politics in the 90s. Of course there were disparate groups but now everything seems so hostile and aggressive and there is so much censorship of opinions that are deemed slightly wrong. I find it quite Orwellian at times and much more so than the 80s or 90s, even though everything is apparently fairer and more equal now...
 

EnolaGaia

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I've been through multiple such cycles of "things shifting into a darker mode", starting with the Sixties.

As others have already noted, at the individual level much of the pessimistic impression relates to growing up and shifting from blithe naivete to shouldering responsibilities and learning the world isn't just a playground. Some folks are traumatized by this life lesson, some never learn it at all, and some go on to a lifelong denial of its implications.

One key aspect of this shift relates to accruing things (possessions; status; empowerment). Once you've obtained something you've got something to lose. In my experience it seems this accrual of stuff that's "yours" inevitably causes folks to start getting defensive about where they stand, avoiding loss or retrogression, and even getting paranoid about their relationships with their environs and other people.

Here's the one thing that (IMHO) makes the current era's malaise arguably worse than previous cycles ...

The proliferation of "tech" (e.g., the 'Net and ubiquitous access to it) has had two major effects.

The first is to expose everyone to practically everyone else, and this exposure has not been employed in the manner those of us involved in developing and deploying it had envisioned. The guiding objective 3 to 4 decades ago was creating the ultimate resource supporting responsible action and interaction for all. The outcome has instead been more akin to handing out megaphones to morons intent on promoting themselves.

The second effect has been to migrate much of daily life (interactions; transactions) into a virtual realm accessible at a relatively high cost. The former aspect forces everyone to engage with the realm, and the latter enables institutionalized entities to squeeze money out of people in entirely new ways.

The combined effect is to increasingly force people into spending their work and leisure time grappling with a barrage of stimuli inside an echo chamber. It's a circus - a circus it's increasingly difficult to evade or escape. This situation induces a sense of powerlessness more acute than was the case in prior decades. Powerlessness is the key factor in generating destructive personal stress.
 

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I’ve said this here before but I reckon as we were building the Large Hadron Collider, scientists in another dimension were also putting the finishing touches to their Large Hardon Collider. In that dimension, everything was pretty shitty and bodged together without too much attention to detail. Without decent planning or much of a budget and working with substandard materials and concentrating more on Twatter than what they were supposed to be doing at the time, they switched theirs on at exactly the same time as ours.

The result was the creation of a rift across the dimensions where we essentially swapped places. With a sudden new insight, they investigated, realised what happened and quickly dismantled the facility and are now happily enjoying healthy social lives, disco dancing, original and engaging entertainment on top of a more positive approach to the future. Oh and Star Wars just got better and better.
When you’re looking in the mirror, you’re now seeing a sadder, less witty, unhealthier, more put upon Crapmagnet version of what used to be the real you.
 

INT21

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Life was always change. One just rolls with it.

On thing that has happened, it is less safe to simply be a stranger in strange lands. No one used to bother travelers,
 

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It's easy to look back and believe things were more stable, but it's an illusion, I can remember plenty of times I enjoyed myself while younger, but I don't really have happy memories because they're all mixed up with the bad things that happened. I can think of plenty of aspects to 2019 that I like, as well as the stuff that I don't, and I come to the conclusion that we're always a step away from chaos whatever the date is. If you're pessimistic and cynical, the universe will never disappoint you. If you believe good times ebb and flow, then you'll be able to cope better. After that you get into clichés like every cloud has a silver lining and so on.
 

Cochise

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For me the 70's were amazing. But for a lot of people they definitely weren't. I think we all look at the past with rose coloured spectacles to some degree - while I lament a lot of things I miss I suspect if you were to somehow research the whole world there is an overall improvement in the condition of humanity. The zeitgeist in the West seems to be to be fearful of everything - that's not true of the rest of the world.
 

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Certainly the medicine is better, more people survive life-threatening illness, for instance. Then again, measles is a problem in the UK because of anti-vaxxers. So the Lord giveth, and he taketh away.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Subjectively, I recall that the late 70s/early 80s were utterly fantastic, because I was young and living the carefree, hedonistic student dream.

Objectively though, they were dreadful times: Cold War paranoia and the threat of nuclear war were at their height, we had frequent power outages, there were Winters of discontent, rubbish wasn't being collected and the dead went unburied.
 

INT21

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Sounds like a good time to be a zombie.

I got married early seventies; next best thing.
 

Ermintruder

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This is a worthwhile thread, which I welcome with some degree of unwilling recognition.

I struggle to encapsulate the related hypothesis I'm about to attempt to convey: I think there is an identifiable (or, at least semi-perceptable) before-&-after timeline differential, in respect of the, at least, the western world's collective cultural experience.

For the purposes of my exposition, let's presume that The Past was substantially-more nuanced/sophisticated/elegant than The Present, which I'm going to characterise (utterly-subjectively) as being simplistic/reductionist & farcical. Let's also accept (again for the purposes of this thesis) that the break:bend-point) for these two palpably-different realities did occur during our own collective experience.

It's not (just) cliché to blame the explosion of megamedia and the internetwork itself as being formatively-influential upon our individual&collective themes&dreams, it's inescapably, inarguably, unavoidably the case.

Perhaps the world's politicians now look like fools, not because they have become such, but because we now eternally walk with them, in their shoes & shadow. The veil of sophistry is ripped away, and presumption of capability largely-based upon a traditional absence of first-person intimate insights and personal perspectives is no more.

There may be a lot more to this (or less) than I'm saying- my unshakable conviction that the vast majority of the reported world is simply a woven work of semi-fiction can easily collapse into a oroborus of ontological self-parody.

Some of us perhaps tend to neglect McLuhan and really, he should be consumed every day...like fibre:

The medium is the message

We drive into the future using only our rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future

The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village

Advertising is an environmental striptease for a world of abundance

The age of automation is going to be the age of ‘do it yourself’

We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us

In the future, everyone shall be unique- especially those that are identical to each-other

(Did McLuhan predict the future, interconnected insanity that is the internet? Or did the technology that delivers the internet somehow have his destinations already in its mapping apps?)
 
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INT21

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It can be summed up with questions like..

When did you last write a letter to someone ?

When did you last get some piece of equipment repaired (as against simply replacing it).

How long since you went to the cinema on a regular basis ?

There are many similar items that have slipped into the past.

INT21.
 

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Look. I grew up under the threat of a 4 minute nuclear warning and Protect and Survive ads on TV. Then we had The Prisoner which taught us to mentally kick back against all the shit we were being fed and to make up our own minds. All this amid a hippy counter culture of stony music and crappy drum solos. No Facebook. No Twitter. In many houses, no phone. We just arranged to do stuff, met up and had great times.
The difference is, purely and simply, we were what we were. We didn't botox or troutpout or make ourselves camera ready. We just went out and engaged with each other as individuals. It was all local. We knew each other, we didn't need masks. We knew there were ‘special cases’ among us but we accepted them in the gang as they were just part of ‘us’. We all grew up to be equally uncomfortable in our own skins and accepted that life can be brilliant and shitty in turn.
Now everyone wants to have an amazing life and become disappointed when their imagined ideal falls short. What they need is a healthy dose of Gettingafuckinggrip. In my opinion.
 

Cochise

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Certainly the medicine is better, more people survive life-threatening illness, for instance. Then again, measles is a problem in the UK because of anti-vaxxers. So the Lord giveth, and he taketh away.

The Lord giveth and the hysterical media taketh away perhaps would be closer to the truth? Absolutely nothing is without a downside, but the media these days will ignore the benefits and emote about the occasional problems. I myself am a softie about suffering and would prefer that nothing and no-one dies - I get upset when i tread on a snail - but sometimes it is true that for the protection of (literally) millions the risk has to be taken of an occasional casualty. I hate that it is so, but would we really rather have the deaths, blindness, deafness, impotence and disfiguration that were very frequent consequences of the so-called 'childhood diseases' ?
 
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