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Why have Western societies become soft?

By Charlie H. Cooksey

I can’t help but notice how societies, certainly those in the West, are becoming weaker. Never before have people been so “offended” or “hurt” by words and feelings and made so much noise about it. I say this because “problems and issues” we face today, are unfathomable or even laughable to those perhaps from the 20th century.

Turn the clocks back and imagine the life of someone born in 1900 — WW1 breaks out when you’re 14 and ends with 22 million deaths. Shortly after, a truly deadly pandemic breaks out — Spanish Flu — it kills 50 million. If you come out of both of those alive, you’re still only 20. Then at 29, you face the Great Depression — causing worldwide unemployment, hunger and inflation. At age 33, the Nazis take power and at 39 WW2 kicks off, with around 60 million brutal deaths. Those who even managed to survive any of these wars lived a life of hunger, living on rations and often not knowing where the next meal would come from, watching loved ones die, and every other possible grief you could imagine. In fact, we probably can’t begin to imagine quite how hard life was in those times.

Yet, people today complain about everything and nothing — whilst having electricity, a roof over their head, a fridge full of food, hot water, phones providing instant communication… much of this didn’t exist before. We don’t know what real hunger feels like, and I’m not talking about just skipping breakfast or dinner. We live in a truly rich society.

Is this what happens when societies and times become so rich and lack real problems and hardship? Is it our human nature to look for things to complain about? There are more cases today of depression and mental health issues than ever before.

So then, what will happen when we have to face genuine hard times and we have another war, great economic depression, genuinely deadly pandemic, how will people of today react to that? Where does this end up?

There should be stronger efforts made to teach the younger generation our history and how tough things really were, how we got to this great place we are, the freedoms we enjoy and how the world we live in today is if the fruit of generations of hardship.

…and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to be less selfish, stop complaining, and show gratitude for what we have.

I will end this with two beautiful and relevant quotes:

“Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made by singing “oh how wonderful!” And sitting in the shade, while better men that we go out, and start their working lives by grubbing weeds from garden paths with broken dinner knives.”

Rudyard Kipling

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

Greek Proverb

Charlie H. Cooksey is a British expat living in Bahrain and has a keen interest in media & communications, travel, cars, house music, weight lifting, learning and investing. He likes to write about things he’s learnt/pondering or whatever he’s stumbled upon in his travels.

IG: @CharlieHCooksey


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