Today’s daily life is very much different from what was a normal daily life barely a few decades back. Today, due to the recent developments in spread of electronic media, democracy, and migration to cities, large sections of people are being swept away by the developments. They have become habituated to living an unstructured life and popular TV programs watched by the masses breed in-sensitivities and distort facts. Plus, latest developments are reaching to people in a flash, this never happened before. It is possible that when Ashoka reigned over North India, there were many villages in South India that did not know about his existence in their entire lifetime. Now, if there is a earthquake in Chile, people in remote villages can see the images from there in their daily news bulletin by evening!
This is similar to a Tsunami – where giant waves of water hundreds of feet high pour water into several miles of land. A brutal force which destroys everything in its path. A human being who is caught in this tide is just swept away with no chance of standing against it.
In the earlier days, people’s lifestyle and jobs were different. Due to a mixture of the lifestyles, social norms, rural economy among others, life was pretty boring by today’s standards. Life also moved at slow pace and did not involve much change.
Work Involved High Physical Exertion
The types of work they did for living was farming, blacksmithing, weaving etc that involved high physical exertion. As a result people did not have extended evenings, they needed a good day’s rest to be back at work the next day.
Day Light Centered Lifestyle
In the early days, there was no proper lighting. The cost and the insufficient light from oil lamps and other such technologies made it difficult to work or be comfortable in the night. This made the people to finish their jobs in the daylight. As there was no significant work they can do in the dark, they slept early. This is the reason why, they were outdoor oriented and daylight centered.
Social Scrutiny Of Individuals
Customs and social controls were also high. In rural areas, everyone knew everyone. If anyone do anything stupid, every other villager would know quickly. Also, it was easy to find if a person is working or time passing since all work was outdoors and in farms you could have a view for several hundred yards or even a few kilometers away. If a person is working or fooling around, it was clearly visible. It was difficult to hide. So, there was a fear not to standout for the wrong reasons in the village. This social scrutiny of individuals made them to be more disciplined and structured. Even though the motivation was external rather than internal, but by and large it worked.
Entertainment was sporadic, unsophisticated and weak. Any sophisticated entertainment was Inaccessible and restricted to the royalty.
Entertainment was unsophisticated, sporadic, and weak for the general public. Public entertainment was occasional, mostly during festival celebrations. Rest of the time, life was very uneventful if not simply plain boring. In olden times, it would be very normal for a person to have never glimpsed or seen an image or painting (in his entire lifetime) of the famous entertainers of his time who typically served the kings and the royalty.
All the above factors meant that in the past people were generally sensible either for lack of too much external influence or because of the social/work environment. The upbringing was adequate to the situations they typically encountered.
In the next part of this series, we will cover how lifestyles have changed in the modern era and how society is struggling to deal with the explosion of mass media producing low quality programs and movies that like opium are slowly but surely destroying the people who take in the steady doses of this slow poison.
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