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is the human race getting lazy?

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Old 12-10-08, 03:42 AM Thread Starter   #1
Firey_chasm
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is the human race getting lazy?


So I was just reading the post on trying to stop a wow addict playing and a point was brought up that each generation is getting steadily lazier. I was just going to reply there but thought id create a new thread since it is quite off topic. (this post is copied straight from my reply to that thread so I appologize if it seems out of context)

One thing you have to realise is that the younger generation are always going to rebel against the older, and you forget as you grow up your perspective changes.

as you grow up your generation becomes filtered. i.e. school - you are there with every shmuck and the average student will feel very smart. You leave school and go to University. most of the complete idiots are removed (this is not saying it is just idiots that leave school, some go on to run their own business etc and some just apply their energy elsewhere before I get arguments I didnt go to uni and did just fine!)

Now going to work after university you are thrown back into the mix again and so will be working alongside the 'same' people who left school. (However with a degree under your belt you will probably climb the 'promotaion' ladder faster) Now as your job becomes more important you will be working with more and more people of your 'type' i.e. hard workers so this then becomes the 'norm' to you.

so then when general smuck joins the company and slacks off this appears nothing like what you now picture your generation to be, but suffice it to say his mate, who is doing a good job etc and turning up (who will be undetected by you as this is just the 'norm') will feel the same way you do in 10years time.

similar principle to natural selection.

Please note this is a very opinionated post so I urge people not to take it personally. I am just inderested in peoples views on this. Are the new generations lazier and less reliable that the generations 10...20...100? years ago?

EDIT: meant to post in general discusion section of the forum woops, reported to try and get it moved

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Old 12-10-08, 06:45 AM   #2
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I pretty much agree with what you said.

Your perspective changes as you get older. You work harder, you tend to work with hard working people, you hang around reliable people..etc. And as you get older, your memory starts to break apart. And not in the Alzheimer's type of way. The human memory is VERY fallible, and fragile. It doesn't take much for a person's memory to become skewed, and distorted.

Mix those together, and it's easy to see how people from a previous generation feel as if they were harder workers, and more disciplined when they were kids, when in reality, most of them acted exactly the same way the newer generation acts.

The means by how one acted lazy/juvenile has changed each generation ( due ot technology, economy, and such ), but the same attitude wasn't much different.

And people tend to forget, that the previous generation ( my parents. I'm 24 ) tended to have 1 working parent, and 1 stay at home parent. Allowing the kid to be disciplined better, have more quality time with the parents, able to be taught by the parents, as well as the teachers. In my generation, I don't really know anyone my age, that i have personally met, that has only 1 working parent. Pretty much every kid i went to school with, everyone i am friends with now, all have BOTH parents working. That's how it was since they have been born. Which doesn't allow the kids to have the parent/kid quality time that used to be much more prevalent.

If there is a degradation of today's youth, I'd say it has more to do with the economy ( both parents having to work to make ends meet ), then it does with technology, or any other factor. That is, IF there really is any major differences in the youth of each generation.

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Old 12-10-08, 07:55 AM   #3
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i think we are lazy more so in the senses of of letting technology do everything for us, i recall they did one quick study a while back of asking university kids what is their parents phone number and they all had to check their cell phones, i remember growing up i could remeber every phone number of every person i know, now i cant even remeber my own phone number!

So in that sense i think we are becoming lazy, then look at the rate of obese people in north america going up and up and up cause we sit around all day in front of computers and tv socializing and do thing that we used to actually go out and do.

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Old 12-10-08, 08:07 AM Thread Starter   #4
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obesity is definatly an issue but thats isn't just technology, fast food etc. size of portions etc.

if you compare the average US 'family' meal now compared to 100 years ago, they would be in shock. That has more to do with obesity than lack of exercise.

as for phone numbers etc. Yes you dont remember them. However if you asked someone 20 years ago how many people they kept in touch with ( say, a minimum of twice a year) and compared that to now, it would be huuugely more.

With facebook everyone you have ever known is right at your finger tips pretty much. With mobile phones you have every number you might ever need right there. Sure it might be classed as lazy you don't remember them however learning them now is pointless.

As a consequence we might move around less but we probably accomplish more each day.

i.e. today at work I just did 90% of my xmas shopping, bought train tickets, having various discusions with people across the atlantic (this forum post :P ), doing a 9-5 job and its only mid day now. Compare that to even only 20 years ago and that amount of stuff was barely feasable even if you ran around like a mad monkey.

zex you bring up a fair point about working parents, hwoever when both parents work that means the child often spends time at a Nursrey, which means interacting with other children and general learning there too. So it isn't entirely a lost cause

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Old 12-10-08, 08:16 AM   #5
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i dont think learning them is pointless, it is using your brain, our brain cells die off literally if we dont use them for certain things, so by using computers for everything i think we are limniting ourselves


BUT on the other hand, we now have access to information we never would have, people we never could have met and many other options, i think there are plus and minuses to both, i just think we rely too much on technology to do everything for us.

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Old 12-10-08, 08:26 AM   #6
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Well, my question is how much of your current opinion is due to bias and how much is due to actual reality? I see teenagers these days as immature and stupid, but I'm sure that's exactly how adults saw me when I was a teenager.

That said, things change. Computers are one of the big breakthroughs of the latter 20th century and it's affected the way we do things. Here is an example:

Educators can argue that learning mental arithmetic and other bits of mathematics is less important for kids today than for kids a hundred years ago. Today, one can grow up not having learned long division: it's just as easy to plug a few numbers into a calculator and get the answer. Does this make the new generation lazy?
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Old 12-10-08, 08:38 AM Thread Starter   #7
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Government, that is true if you don't use your mind on other activities. However I thi nk by removing the need to learn phone numbers you are leaving 'space' to learn other things.

Goose, there is no doubt arguments like this will be influenced by our own Bias.

I do however believe mental arithmatic is very useful. 90% of the time working out real life sums (maybe calculating a budget, or shopping cost, or change (I always like to know what change I should get so I can check it there and then)) Long division is slowly becoming more and more redundant though

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Old 12-10-08, 08:54 AM   #8
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Old 12-10-08, 09:07 AM   #9
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Humans have always been lazy, at least in terms of 'achieving a desired result with the least reasonable effort.' That's only sensible, why work more than you have to?

The only difference is that nowadays it's a lot easier to get good results with fairly little effort. Going to the library and looking through books for a research paper? Pfff... Look it up online, get the same information. There's all sorts of examples like that.
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Old 12-10-08, 09:50 AM   #10
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It all depends on how you define lazy. A horse drawn plow can only work for 6 hours, then the horse needs to be stabled and rest for the day. But a man on a tractor can and probably does put in a 12 hour day.

Americans in particular have been reporting less and less time in leisure activities. The number of hours of work it takes to house a family has essentially doubled. Only a minority of households has one working member. Only 60 short years ago, most households were single income. This hasn't changed. In fact it's gotten steadily worse.

Technology has certainly made life easier. I can do more with less effort. But the expectations have also increased. Checking the mail 6 times a week doesn't cut it anymore. You better check your email, vpn into the work server and go through your cell phone messages... all eating your microwave dinner because you don't have time to cook anymore.

In essence, we are being transformed into out of shape workaholics. The longest vacation I've had in 10 years was my hernia surgery. I got 8 days off.

I don't think the proportion of lazy people has changed over time. But it used to be that you could tell the lazy people a block away. Now they might be 'working' on that blackberry. They eat too much because they have nothing else in their life that brings them pleasure. What was an office a hundred years ago, is now a ratty fabric covered cube the size of a closet. The secretary that used to take dictation is now a PC on his desk.

My daughter is 19, and has an excellent work ethic. Her friends all work harder than I did to get the same results. So I will have to say, No. I think each succeeding generation will be more and more plugged in, with higher and higher expectations. Soon the difference between home time and work time will probably be indistinguishable.

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Old 12-10-08, 10:10 AM Thread Starter   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oakstave View Post
Soon the difference between home time and work time will probably be indistinguishable.
I personally make sure this doesnt become the case for me. I have seperate phones for work and private, seperate emails everything. I am available if something desperate occurs, however I don't answer my emails once iv left work for the day or am home for the evening.

I just hope it doesn't reach the point where you cannot get certain jobs because you cannot give them 24/7 commitment :/ that would be bad

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Old 12-10-08, 10:42 AM   #12
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for me i am on call 24/7, but i can also choose to work from home if i want, for $500 more a month, sure! but ya i am excpect to check email and phone, i am on "vacation" yet i get msn'd and email daily about items, but i also can extend my vacation if i choose if i think i did too much work.

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Old 12-10-08, 12:10 PM   #13
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Old 12-10-08, 12:17 PM   #14
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I would say Americans are getting lazier, I wouldn't say that for other countries though. A service based economy with a heavy emphasis on technology and automation just promotes laziness, pure and simple.

Anyone see Wall-E? Yup that's pretty much where we're heading.

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Old 12-10-08, 12:52 PM   #15
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Hmm. I remember reading in my history textbook that at the turn of the last century, people spent on average about 50% of the time we do today on cleaning. Sure, we have modern conveniences such as vacuum cleaners and laundry machines and such, but our standard of living has risen even faster than our technology.

It used to be that 1 person in the household working 40 hours a week at an average pay job could support a family. Try to pull that off in today's world.

This kind of reminds me of those people who pass around tests from the last 1800's, as proof of how ignorant people of today are. They say, "can you imagine a high schooler of this generation taking this test? Boy would they fail." Well, they probably would, because the stuff from last century isn't necessarily relevant to today's world.

I can do long division by hand. But, when I'm working on an advanced calculus problem, why should I bother? The goal is to solve the answer, the method is much less important. And when I'm working on a physics problem, and need the area under the curve for some function, whether I manually integrate or just run an approximation through my calculator, it doesn't matter.

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Old 12-10-08, 01:14 PM   #16
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I didn't read your post, or any of the subsequent posts, but, yes. Yes, the human race is getting lazy.

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Old 12-10-08, 01:20 PM   #17
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Quote:

It used to be that 1 person in the household working 40 hours a week at an average pay job could support a family. Try to pull that off in today's world.
*Pries self of couch, puts down beer can*

I think a lot of it has to do with what is considered a socially acceptable standard of living. If you were willing to live in a shack you built yourself with no running water or electricity (as many people did in the 19th century), you could probably support 10 people on a single 40hr/wk minimum wage job.

The thing is, you are not even *allowed* to do that in today's society. It would be illegal to rent out an apartment complex with no running water/electricity. There is no free land left where you could just build a shack. CPS would probably take away your kids if they found they were living in a dirt-floor shack.

But there are immigrants in the US today who *are* supporting entire families on minimum (and even sub minimum) wage jobs who live in countries where you can still live at the most basic level.

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Old 12-10-08, 01:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
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*Pries self of couch, puts down beer can*

I think a lot of it has to do with what is considered a socially acceptable standard of living. If you were willing to live in a shack you built yourself with no running water or electricity (as many people did in the 19th century), you could probably support 10 people on a single 40hr/wk minimum wage job.

The thing is, you are not even *allowed* to do that in today's society. It would be illegal to rent out an apartment complex with no running water/electricity. There is no free land left where you could just build a shack. CPS would probably take away your kids if they found they were living in a dirt-floor shack.

But there are immigrants in the US today who *are* supporting entire families on minimum (and even sub minimum) wage jobs who live in countries where you can still live at the most basic level.
Well... point well taken, but I think the average middle class homeowner in the 1940's and 50's had electricity, appliances, running water, and they supported it all on Dad's factory job. Not any more. The cost of housing as a percentage of income has gone up through the roof. Food costs have actually gone down, but are on their way back up again.

I have a good paying job. Not great, but good. But there is no way I could afford my house without my partner also having a good job, and also paying for half. If either me or my GF lost work for an extended period, we'd lose the house. Not so for my parents. (We had electricity too.)

Yes, the standard of living has gone up. But so have the expectations. Americans are working more to maintain a middle class lifestyle. But physical work is increasingly being done with technology.

I agree with the comments that every generation thinks the next generation is lazy. I just don't see it. Edit: Especially if you consider the fact that almost no one retires anymore! My grandpa retired with a pension at age 60. My father is almost 70 with no retirement in sight....

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Old 12-10-08, 02:37 PM   #19
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Hmm. I remember reading in my history textbook that at the turn of the last century, people spent on average about 50% of the time we do today on cleaning. Sure, we have modern conveniences such as vacuum cleaners and laundry machines and such, but our standard of living has risen even faster than our technology.

It used to be that 1 person in the household working 40 hours a week at an average pay job could support a family. Try to pull that off in today's world.

This kind of reminds me of those people who pass around tests from the last 1800's, as proof of how ignorant people of today are. They say, "can you imagine a high schooler of this generation taking this test? Boy would they fail." Well, they probably would, because the stuff from last century isn't necessarily relevant to today's world.

I can do long division by hand. But, when I'm working on an advanced calculus problem, why should I bother? The goal is to solve the answer, the method is much less important. And when I'm working on a physics problem, and need the area under the curve for some function, whether I manually integrate or just run an approximation through my calculator, it doesn't matter.
Good points. Another thing to think about is that my parents started at a relatively low standard of living when they were growing up in the 60s and 70s. Then they became pretty successful, moved to a good suburb, raised my sisters and I. My sisters and I were exposed to a very high standard of living for most of our childhood. Then when we started our lives in the real world it was such a drastic wake up call I almost wasn't ready for it.

I don't want to say my parents didn't prepare me for it, but how could they? When you're used to a certain standard of living and are forced to go down and provide everything yourself, it's not easy. That is where I think a lot of the slack is coming from, a lot of kids just don't want to do it.

Right now I need multiple room mates working full time just to even get close to the standard of living I was at before. I guess Americans have just been programmed to expect a certain standard of living that is really just too high. Most people simply cannot deal with the wake up call, and admittedly it was extremely difficult for myself to adjust.

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Old 12-10-08, 02:43 PM   #20
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It would seem that we can't even mow lawns anymore, unless INS gets involved... I remember when US citizens mowed lawns. Now we don't want to do hard labor, its left to the strong and wanting lots of money tax free people... So yes... Lazy would describe it well...
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