What we as humans get most wrong most often is assuming we are better than those who came before us simply because we have made changes. In some ways, we certainly have made changes for the better, but change in general does not automatically indicate betterment but only difference. We may choose different paths than our predecessors, but these do not necessarily move us forward. Instead of picturing progress as a straight line, it is perhaps more of a circular maze. Humanity started out at the very center, and we find ourselves now in the midst of it, striving to reach the outside. Any choice we make could simply be running right alongside prior choices, retracing our steps – if we have not left markers behind and remembered them – or turning us around completely to send us back toward where we started. We truly do not know where we have been until some time has passed and we can look back on it from a degree of distance. However, even if we have made progress, that progress can always be lost later on, by ourselves or by others.
Despite our attempts to reach whatever pinnacle we have, in our lifetime, dreamed up to exist, there really is none. There will always be more to learn, explore, and understand, yet each generation believes itself to be the best simply because it is furthest along the linear timeline, forgetting that the timeline will inevitably continue on. And on and on. From our vantage point, history also demonstrates cyclical tendencies, as those who did not work directly for any actual progress made understand neither the true struggle and sacrifice it cost nor the duty to maintain it. Instead, these people, incorrectly equating change itself with progress, revert back to paths already overcome, neglecting the markers left behind, the history already lived. “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it”, and those who tear down history likely do not really know it. Dealing with bad things that happened in the past by trying to erase anything that may potentially have possibly been somewhat maybe distantly related to the bad thing is either a malevolent act with ulterior motives or a childish response to discomfort.
Someone, somewhere, needs to get done whatever gets shirked by childish personalities, and someday maybe (hopefully) such people will decide just not to do it anymore. As much as we want to provide all the assistance, care, and understanding in the world, we all have our limits. If we do not reevaluate how we dole it out, we will find ourselves perpetually used up and for nothing. Those who would create positive returns with what they receive, those who truly need the help, will not get it, as it will continue getting swallowed by the black hole of those willing to exploit generosity for their benefit alone. While we can, then, we must look at adults who act childishly – throwing tantrums instead of working toward a goal, always demanding but offering nothing, and expecting anyone and everyone to cater to their whims – and recognize when they have had enough time, enough opportunity, enough chances and have simply wasted them all. We need to be stronger, more resolute. Enough is enough, and for so many, it is beyond time to grow up.