MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 4
Article views: 390
Latest Badges:

View all Seansapien's badges.

The Past Unfiltered

02 December 2012, 18:17

I always lose a bit of respect for someone when I hear them express a particular suggestion. It comes in several forms but in my opinion these forms all elude to one similar opinion. I will list some of them but I’m sure they are not limited to the following:

1)    Society is the worst it has ever been

2)    The morality of the world has descended down the toilet

3)    There is no respect anymore between people, what has happened to the days of the past when people had respect for each other and treated each other decently?

Well, I would like to stress that it is my confident opinion that most South Africans believe these points above, more or less as they are described.

However, it is almost as amusing as it is saddening that we as South Africans don’t understand how untrue the above statements are. We as a collective culture have first-hand knowledge of what the history of the world has been over the last few hundred years. History has played itself out and left a lingering reflection of itself in clear HD format. We just need to jog our memories and for the more distant history, pick up a book (non-fiction) or even just Google it.

We always assume that if something bad is happening it’s a new thing to the world. We assume that crime is new – it’s not, murder is new – it’s not, rape is new – it’s not, tender fraud is new – it’s not, I can go on for ever.

Some of you are thinking at this stage that it’s the rate off occurrence of the acts or the brutality of the acts or the brazenness of the acts that make the world a worse place – well how do you explain World War 1 then? Or for that matter: Colonialism, slavery, the Armenian genocide, the Mfecane, Apartheid, the Holocaust, World War 2, and the Napoleonic Wars? We can go for years listing all the bad things humans have done to each other.

Some of you might still be thinking that those are exceptions to the rule. But are they?

We have to remember that force was the only way that discipline or rules were upheld in the past. Force was also the only way that people got there way.

Society was nowhere near as educated, literate and connected as they are now. People did not understand society. The ruling classes did what they want and could get away with it. They also knew that they would always get away with it unless they stepped on the toe of some other more powerful ruling elite somewhere else. And this shaped the ruling classes’ collective thinking into something we can hardly imagine even our worst politicians even contemplating.

Ordinary people had no option but to just fit in, fight in the war when instructed to and suffer the hardships. People’s lives were many times harder, generally speaking, than they are now.

Food was not as plentiful and as secure as it is now. Wealth was much more difficult to achieve for the average person. Education was reserved for the fortunate by birth and no amount of hard work would remove you from your life situation.

Now let’s think about the amazing abundance of freedoms, opportunities and possibilities that we have now.

Note: I am not saying that these things are here due to the selfless struggle by a percentage of our population and the resulting government; I am saying that we have these things in spite of our government.

We are not called up for 2 years mandatory military service anymore. We don’t have bombings anymore; we are not suffering under the yoke of slavery or colonialism anymore.

Why are the Zulus not giving everyone else a hiding anymore? Why are the Boers not sharp-shooting the sun-burnt Souties anymore? I don’t see women and children behind barbed wire in white tents being guarded by some Yorkshire Fusiliers. There are no more Whites Only toilets or park benches anymore.

I don’t see young men boarding ships in the harbour waving good bye to loved ones not knowing even what country they are going to or who they must bayonet in the stomach just because they are asked to by the King?

We don’t have to have 10 children anymore because we need support in old age, we can save money and have a pension. We can own our own land and property; it’s not all the King’s anymore.

We can work hard and actually uplift ourselves from our situation we are born into. I am far above the financial grounding my parents gave me. I studied my but off and weaselled my way into industry and now I am reasonably well off – I’m going to by my first house in the New Year! I work into the night several days a week and many weekends, I can, I must, but most importantly: I have the opportunity to do it.

My parents didn’t. My Grandparents certainly didn’t. My Great Grandparents were practically peasants, farming the land and fighting the wars for the bosses, on different sides I should add.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still major problems in the world. There are wars, famines, killings, crimes, frauds and inequalities. But let’s really think about it. The vast majority of the world is currently far better off nowadays. We have the United Nations and big brothers like the USA, Britain and others to help keep the peace.

Granted they might have their own agendas and may have dirty hands on occasion but for all that its worth, I am glad the Yanks anchor a Carrier or two off the coasts of troublesome shores. It reminds the world that the days of unquestioned rule by the elite are over. Just remember that the most powerful man in the world at one stage was almost toppled by a scandal involving a women and a cigar!

Humans have a tendency to always think they are in a bad situation. No matter what the past has shown them. Perhaps this is a natural thing to inspire them to achieve better things or a better life. Perhaps it’s a necessary function of the evolutionary process. I can’t say for certain, I am an engineer, not an Evolutionary Biologist or a Psychologist or a Political Scientist, but there must be a good scientific reason for it.

Perhaps we are meant to filter our memory of the past, that way we won’t get sick to our stomach when we try to understand how we have treated ourselves as a collective group of organisms with a common history and destiny.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Where are the whales?

Does anyone have an explanation or am I one-eyed and wrong? Read more...

1 comments 19 views
Submitted by
Nhlanhla Nyembe
Pistorius sentencing

The five-year sentence received by Pistorius just goes to show that there is different justice for different people.  Read more...

4 comments 577 views
Submitted by
Saskia Ferreira
Oscar's Punishment does not fit t...

When putting a murderer on trial one needs to disregard his social status. This in my eyes is something they didn't do. They should have treated him as "Oscar, the guy who killed Reeva".  Read more...

9 comments 459 views
Submitted by
Renee Viljoen
Oscar Sentence.. unfair !!

I do not believe that he did not know Reeva was behind the door... justice was not served!! Read more...

4 comments 194 views
Submitted by
Ivy Carter
Oscar is NOT responsible...

You may not like what you are going to hear about the OP trial here but someone needs to say it, so I will take the punch with your thumbs downs and the rest of it. Read more...

29 comments 1107 views
Submitted by
Dineo Malakoane
Oscar Pistorius: Unjust Justice

I am absolutely disappointed at the 5yr sentence that Oscar received. I believe that Gerrie Nel did a brilliant job and Judge Masipa should have found him guilty of murder in the first place.  Read more...

6 comments 444 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25



E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2014 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.