Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: People are more friendly in the past than today.
Some will say that the past is unduly romanticized as a friendlier time—that people couldn't have been much better-disposed than they are today. But I’m not so sure. There are a number of reasons why people may have been more genial back in the day.
For one thing, people in the past interacted with each other in person more than we do today, and this naturally resulted in a comparatively higher level of friendliness. The reason people interacted more was because they had fewer technological distractions. Back then, it was both routine and enjoyable to shoot the breeze with others while waiting for a trolley or sitting on your front porch after work. Socializing face to face with complete strangers was commonplace. Nowadays, however, people have all sorts of devices like smart phones, e-readers, and iPods that draw them into their own private worlds even while out in public. While taking the subway to work, you’ll rarely see two people strangers talking unless it’s to yell at each other. More likely, they’ll be totally absorbed by the miniature screens in front of them.
For another thing, the pace of life today is much faster than it was in the past, and as a result, people today are much more hurried and much less friendly. Those living in modern society tend to have little patience for idle conversation, as they are always on their way to do something or see someone. The leisurely daily rhythms characterizing past eras have been replaced by a frantic rush to accomplish as much as humanly possible. This has led to friendliness, and often even courtesy, taking a backseat to efficient and mechanical interactions.
Granted, people today are also much more connected via non-traditional mediums than they were in the past. Thanks to computers, the internet, and social networking services like Weibo and Renren, people can keep in touch with each other no matter where they are in the world. However, this type of connection is a poor substitute for face-to-face inter action and does not necessarily encourage friendliness. In fact, it may make us even colder towards others because we become accustomed to viewing people as remote, disembodied data. The shallow interactions facilitated by technology may actually deepen the divide between us rather than bring us closer together.
People in the past moved through life at a more leisurely pace, and they didn't have the technological distractions that we have today. Though technology is often seen as a tool that connects people, it may in fact have the opposite effect. For these reasons, people in the past were probably friendlier than people today.