GRE Issue Essay 55
“People are mistaken when they assume that the problems they confront are more complex and challenging than the problems faced by their predecessors. This illusion is eventually dispelled with increased knowledge and experience.”
Whenever we face any problem, it seems to be the biggest and the most complex situation. As long as the problem is not over, it hovers over our minds. It seems that others are very comfortable and happy and the problem we face is the biggest ever faced by anyone. In the same way, we feel that people in the olden times lived simple lives and thus faced fewer and less complex problems. However, this is not true. I think this is only an illusion since we tend to ignore the seriousness of problems faced by others. This illusion is broken only when we try to put ourselves in that situation and study the real nature of the problem.
Complexities and problems are basic to humanity. If we face major problems in today’s age, our predecessors have had their share of difficulties and problems. The only change is the nature of the problem. While the nature of the problem has changed than what it was in the older times, the complexity and intensity of a problem is independent of the time it is faced in.
If we face serious problems like pollution, population explosion, scarce natural resources etc. today, there have been other issues in the olden times that have been causes of worry. A problem faced by our predecessors may seem simple today but it would not have been the same in the olden times. There is no doubting the fact that people lived simpler lives, but all times, olden or modern, have their own complexities and problems. People in the olden times were highly dependent upon nature. Any natural calamity would hit the masses to the extent of destruction. For example, a famine or lack of rains would wipe out many villages together when there were very few means of irrigation. Similarly, the condition of floods was also grave and flooded towns would remain completely cut off from the rest of the world. Today, we have found solutions to these problems. This does not mean that there was never a problem like this before.
Today, our lives have been made easier with modern technology. That is the reason that we underestimate the difficulties faced in the past. It does not seem a great deal to travel long distances today. However, in the olden times, this was a journey that would take days or even months together. In the olden times, the means of transportation were not as developed as they are today. People had to walk long distances and would sometimes be assisted by bullock carts. In such times, if they had to carry heavy loads to a different place it would be a huge task. Further, if they were to face the ravages of nature like rain and cold, it would make their task even more difficult. Today, we have forgotten the days of bullock carts. We never even think about the climatic changes while traveling. Transporting heavy loads is no problem for us. Nevertheless, when you study such a problem faced in the older times, it seems to be larger than anything.
Similarly, the health of people in the olden times was a subject to destiny. There were very few educated doctors and only few ailments could be treated with the medicines they had. Thus, people were left to their condition in the lack of proper health care. Today, there is a solution to many of the ailments faced by people in the olden times. However, it is also true that with the advent of times we are faced with newer problems. If there was no cure for a disease like tuberculosis earlier, today we are faced with problems like AIDS. There are problems to which solutions have not been found yet. Scientists and researches are working towards finding a solution to these problems. Nonetheless, I would like to support the stand that it is only the nature of the difficulties that has changed with time, not the intensity and complexity.