To adapt to a life that is seemingly better can be done with ease but to have to go the other way is often grueling. Something about evolution wants us to only go where we think forward is. Some people would rather choose an early death than go backwards.
For most North Americans they have historically done a little better than their parents. That’s not going to be so much the case now. The difference is the current young generation cannot easily do better than their parents. They can do better but there’s a lot more work involved now. You’ll often hear about how much harder it is now than just a few decades ago to make a good living. That might be true but it’s probably still easier than most eras in history. None of us are involuntarily shipped off to war or working in coal mines.
Regardless of how easy we have it, it won’t stop us from complaining and doing nothing much to better ourselves. Part of it is the dynamics on what this younger generation has to do compared to any other generation in history. Working the coal mines might be more physically difficult than attaining a university education(for some) but there probably wasn’t much of a choice. You either worked in that mine or you and your family severely suffered. The choice that people have now is to either seek higher education or possibly just survive. Not being able to buy a house and have a middle class lifestyle might suck but you can still live an okay life. And that’s the option many will take…the easy way out. People are often as tough as their options.
Evolution seems to be weeding out the unambitious people living in developed countries who were commonly referred to as the middle class. Seems wrong to let the majority of your population go to shits but nothing stands in the way of progress. You have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette, right? Whether or not this is progress or if we’re making a burnt omelette, we’ll have to wait and see. Our lives are just a small small step into the future. They could have never made a car without inventing the wheel first but no one ever saw the car coming.
It seems normal to expect a little better for yourself than what your parents had. But I also think we want something different. Evolution is not only progress but also change. Some of us might be disenchanted with the values that were once held. What was supposed to be the next step? Everyone was going to own 2 houses? Or is this whole system just going to break down and we’re just going to start over again trying to attain the white picket fence life?
Part of the disenchantment with being obsessed about having The American Dream is having witnessed it which takes away from the novelty. Much of what we think is happiness is not actual happiness but just an idea of what happiness is supposed to be.