Discussion Is modern time superior?

Discussion in 'Novel General' started by Dizaster, May 29, 2021.

  1. Dizaster

    Dizaster Well-Known Member

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    I am sick and tired of transmigrated MCs boasting of modern times in ancient times. They make it seem as if all problems have been solved over timed and now we live in heaven.
    No doubt many issues were resolved and the quality of life has improved in certain ways but I believe we have many issues that are equally bad as those in ancient times.
    Every time period has it's own benefits and share of difficulties. People should stop promoting this superior feeling. And I am pointing this out because even if the existence of transmigration is questionable, the superiority mindset still prevails. People tend to look down on locals of certain region and regard themselves inferior to others.
    I wish authors would start promoting a healthy mindset through their works and I definitely am not trying to start a drama here or insult others or be 'the lady who calls the manager' but it's just a suggestion that's debatable. I understand that different characters are sketched out with different personalities and outlook, but there are many ways to describe if the author feels that he's right in that regard or not.
     
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  2. otaku31

    otaku31 Well-Known Member

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    Well, we do have democracy in most parts of the world now and, as you yourself pointed out, relatively better standards of living and healthcare. Again, it's also true that to the modern mind old age superstitions and practices might seem illogical and self-defeating; hence, the superior feeling. But are modern people happier? I can't really say. And shouldn't that matter most of all?
     
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  3. Oddmoonlight

    Oddmoonlight Well-Known Member

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    I think the superior feeling they give off is just the authors shallow understanding of emotions and lack of depth when writing through these things. Sure there are benefits we have now compared to what was it like back then, starting with education. Even now in many poor countries some people never learn their multiplication tables and how to read and write. But back then what people were busy with was trying to see the next day, not having the time or energy to better themselves like we are able to now. What is on the people mind even to this day is how to survive first and foremost. I forgot from where this originates from, 'If you want people to act civilized you must first give them their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter'.
     
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  4. Dizaster

    Dizaster Well-Known Member

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    As a citizen of a democratic country, the only choice I feel given to me is between worse and worst. And unfortunately, currently we're stuck with the worst cause we felt he might be better. But again many a times while choosing politicians it's not about who'll work for us more but more like who'll suck our blood less.
    Just like in ancient times, we wait for a good leader to emerge from amongst the black dyed ones. Not all of them are bad and similarly not all of them were bad.

    Agree.
     
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  5. kkgoh

    kkgoh Well-Known Member

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    Quite agree with your perspective.

    You can't compare different eras because It's comparing apples to oranges.

    If a transmigration MC went back in time to a less advanced society, he/she would just be as hamstrung in every aspect.

    The sense of modern superiority in these novels shows up in many ways. Oftentimes, the MCs are written as introducing a futuristic idea/Eureka moment which suddenly brings about great change, because the ancient people were supposedly ignoramuses and couldn't figure it out on their own. I think authors tend to forget that any "modern" advancements do NOT exist by themselves, but are built on the backs of other social/technological improvements.
    Tons of examples.

    - A modern doctor can't go back in time and reinvent medicine, even if he had knowledge of penicillin and anesthesia. Both require fine-tuned industrialization and specialized tools to manufacture and administer. You can't just throw a bunch of home-made stuff and then tadah the patient is cured.

    - A modern isekai MC can't push about democracy in ancient times when the culture, technology and geopolitics are entirely different. Modern man went through millennia of political systems and revolutions to get to where they are today ... AFTER seeing most of the failures of earlier systems. How's an ancient population supposed to just accept a new form of government, just 'cos MC says so?
    How do you even communicate political ideas easily in an era of messenger pigeons and when the LITERACY RATE OF THE POPULATION IS IN THE SINGLE DIGITS?

    People back then were so busy just trying to feed themselves that they don't have time to listen to your BS. And that food problem relies on agricultural revolution (modern farming practices + machinery + bioengineering high yield crops + animal husbandry and selective breeding), which relies on safe and stable borders (less conflict, more farming), which relies on some form of military deterrence, which relies on military advancements and a strong sizable army (metallurgy, food yield improvements, chemistry, strong economy), and so on.... how many years/decades/centuries would that take??

    - Every MC with some foreknowledge always warns people about some impending disaster but nobody believes him. When sh*t happens, there's always an i-told-you-so moment and somehow the victims are to blame for not believing the MC.
    If you were the victim, why the hell would you believe some quack who claims he's from the future??

    - A modern man who goes back to "ancient" wars somehow comes up with "amazing" war strats out of his ass. While everyone else is a supposed dumbass. This despite the fact that "ancient" armies had a pretty good grasp of engineering, logistics and statistics. How do you think Roman armies had engineers for bridge crosses, etc?
    I can guarantee you that if a modern man used to living in a big city is dropped in the middle of a jungle or desert, he will immediately get disoriented and panic within 5 minutes, while the "ancient" man won't have a problem with it.

    Some novels that do try to detail the difficult processes involved is "Release that Witch". Even those advancements got hyper-accelerated thanks to the plot armor/convenient powers of witches.
    Or the manga "Doctor Stone", which also kinda simplifies the process somewhat because somehow all the world's chemical and manufacturing knowledge is crammed into 1 genius.

    Maybe all of this would be solved if authors just play 1 game of Civilization.

    From a novel perspective, I've been come across a few recent works (can't rem the names) where the modern transmigrated MC has a healthy amount of respect for ancient learned people. There are often situations where MC introduces a relatively modern idea/technology, and it's quickly understood/debated by the ancient scholars on its practicality.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2021
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  6. reizleigh

    reizleigh A Not-So-Well-Known

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    +1
    +2 Agree
     
  7. otaku31

    otaku31 Well-Known Member

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    Democracy is not only about the right to choose representatives but also the fundamental rights that we so take for granted now. And even if all the leaders in the basket are rotten, you still get the power to choose among them; it is not just about the end result, but also the act of exercising your choice that makes it so empowering. There is still difference between mistakenly choosing a bad leader and having a bad one foisted on you because you had no say in it. That said, as I mentioned earlier:
     
  8. Alvastar

    Alvastar Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this. It's similar to when you hear people reminisce about the past and complain about how society is going downhill. Was the time that they lived in a Golden Age? Not really. It had its own flavor that some enjoyed and others found unpalatable.

    I will say this, if I'm ever transmigrated/reincarnated into a less advanced society I hope they have indoor plumbing and air conditioning. Even when going camping in the woods I bring a roll of toilet paper. I don't think I could last long with leaves.
     
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  9. Dizaster

    Dizaster Well-Known Member

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    :aww::blob_plusone::blob_plusone:
     
  10. Lissi

    Lissi 『Queen of Lissidom』『Holy Chibi』『Western Birdy』『⚓』

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    I mean... while modern times isn't 'heaven', I would still say it's better than ancient times and there have been lots of great improvements since then?

    Like... better public sanitation, or better medicine or technology (not just for electronics, but also for how to farm, make food, etc.)

    So I don't think having a superiority complex is completely invalid (like pride for being from a time that is "technologically superior"), though I think if I transmigrated to ancient times, rather than feeling superior, I'd probably just cry because I have no knowledge to make my life better despite living in modern times lol
     
  11. Dizaster

    Dizaster Well-Known Member

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    That's true. I have always have a subconscious thought from watching all the turmoil that the biggest gain from democracy or just the advancement of civilization is the right to have opinions and choices. Just having a way to oppose a wrong is a big blessing in itself. Even if correcting an issue requires bloodshed and riots, atleast we can fight for what's right. Many times in past and still in present in some countries (*cough* you know who) you are hypnotised to blindly follow orders and have no opinion or beliefs. You will be killed even if you whisper a doubt about an insignificant issue. Atleast we can have debates today if not more.

    Others are okay but I think sanitation at that time might have be better because all products in thise times were natural and decomposition was easy. And from history we know people always knew to keep their surroundings clean. It's only with the introduction of several non biodegradable products that started littering. Its just like a process and can't be regarded as better or worse. Plus in my country sanitation is still a questionable existence. Also a lot of other countries achieve sanitation by littering other countries and places which is abominable
     
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  12. Lissi

    Lissi 『Queen of Lissidom』『Holy Chibi』『Western Birdy』『⚓』

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    Um... um?? Have you read those horror (or at least, it's pretty horrifying to me) stories about "public sponges on a stick as toilet paper" or "the content in chamber pots being dumped out the window into the streets" or "having to go outside to go to the bathroom in a freezing night because all the toilets are in an outhouse"...?

    Granted, that's more of a Rome/England thing or something, but depending on how far back you go... like, no plumbing or sewage system or soft toilet paper or even regular baths.

    I mean... all these biodegradable objects might be good for the environment, but I definitely wouldn't call it a plus for the people living there. :blobsalt:

    Edit: Well, I know that's not what public sanitation is all about, but yeah I think I went off on a tangent sorry >.>;;
     
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  13. Halcyon Observer

    Halcyon Observer Full stop

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    The average modern-day human has no idea how to survive on their own, because all they have learned is theory. They may know the basic principles of agriculture, but the average human likely has no grasp on the full extent of modern sciences. Likewise, how many people know how to survive in the wilderness? How many know how to hunt, not with a firearm, but with cold weapons?

    There exist people in today's society that barely know how to cook. It is quite obvious that they consider the modern day to be better than ancient times, because they are severely underprepared for the situation. Had they been equipped with the same knowledge as a person living in those times, they probably would have gotten a chance to enjoy the cleaner air.

    I would say this is somewhat debatable. There is a reason why the bubonic plague could decimate Europe's population.

    Open defecation was practiced in ancient times, as well. Though admittedly, it still exists as an issue today.
     
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  14. otaku31

    otaku31 Well-Known Member

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    Reminds me of the fights for "the right to take the wall"... London was apparently such a cesspool that the streets could not be traversed on foot without having to wade ankle deep into sewage, so pedestrians would choose to walk the narrow strip near the walls where the ground was higher. We have it much better, TBH.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2021
  15. Halcyon Observer

    Halcyon Observer Full stop

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    If you are referring to the Great Stink, it was actually a lot more recent than you think, because it happened in the 1800s, the time of England's Industrial Revolution.

    The Thames River had essentially became the sewage system. And if I recall correctly, that river also happened to be a source of "drinking water." I could be mistaken, however.
     
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  16. otaku31

    otaku31 Well-Known Member

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    Nah, way before that, even tho it continued up to that time, until a slew of public health acts led to gradual improvements IIRC. The industrial revolution, unsurprisingly, had exacerbated it.

    And I do believe the Thames supplied drinking water.
     
  17. aShinyVaporeon

    aShinyVaporeon Well-Known Member

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    I think why a lot of novels feature that kind of superior mindset might be like cultural superiority. It has some basis, since a lot of medieval people had some not-too-smart beliefs and were not very open minded. Like, trial by ordeal, witch hunts, using leech therapy for absolutely everything, stuff like that.

    Well, people like that still exist nowadays (*cough*conspiracy theorists and pseudoscience believers*cough*), but overall such beliefs were far more common in the olden ages. Still, It'd probably be better for modern people to take this into stride and try to be open-minded about it, because circumstances meant that people in ancient times would be raised that way, and even in ancient times, there were probably at least some reasonable people. Also, getting a big head is not going to help your cause, anyway.

    Hmm, I understand your support for biodegradable products, but that's not what sanitation means. Non-biodegradable wastes like plastic and whatnot are less of a sanitation problem than biodegradable waste like food and manure, because food and manure breed bacteria and pests and generally unhealthy things--plastic waste is an admittedly big problem as well, but it's causing less disease than biodegradable sewage and disease. Sanitation's not just about keeping your surroundings sparkly, it's about public health and clean water, which was not readily available in ancient times, because most were more concerned with more immediate issues like having food for themselves and their family.
     
  18. asriu

    asriu fu~ fu~ fu~

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    well some modern rules are written by blood~ after blood spilled those rules made~ most maybe dunno why practice or rule create so we just accept it as normal~ when dive into cause and effect it will create understanding why such thing happen~ hmm when on rome do roman thingy?

    problem of modern person back to ancient time imo how "easy" they made change of thing~ its hard to change culture ya know~ ok lower down its hard to change practice for generation~ who the hell are you? reputation followed by merit ya know~ it not counting situation of the ancient era may really differ compare to modern one~ well not everyone have experience how headache to convince people to change practices~

    knowledge build upon many generations of trial and error, it just people tend remember the result rather than the process~
    take example the slave theme~ on history it tie with spoil of war, race superiority, crime conviction but some mc just think its bad cuz it is bad from modern pov without even try to understand why slavery exist on that world~ naive~
     
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  19. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    The authors who tout the advantages of the modern day are absolutely correct. it's not because the modern era is some sort of paradise but because it sucked living in the past. And if you've been reading books that are set in the past and can't figure this out then you've reading the wrong books.

    It's not even about modern conveniences and ideas, and more that things like basic survival can't be taken for granted. Hell, even having enough to eat can't be taken for granted. And as for things like sanitation or nutrition, are you kidding me? These weren't even concepts until the late 19th century in much of the world.
     
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  20. aintg

    aintg Fairy Queen of the Demonic Sect

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    Wow. I like this discussion thread. Watching this for my brain.

    Modern era, despite being more advanced in many ways, is still problematic. I suppose the same thing goes for the ancient times. Life in those times may seem less advanced to us, but it's not like we have more. What about extinct species? Besides, I think there are artefacts of ancient civilization that's proven to be as advanced as modern technologies.