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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> is your generation smarter than your parents?
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12/10/2008 03:47:16 AM · #1
do you think that your generation smarter than your parent's generation?

Message edited by author 2008-12-10 03:48:34.
12/10/2008 03:50:53 AM · #2
Street wise, yes
12/10/2008 04:13:55 AM · #3
Originally posted by JulietNN:

Street wise, yes

you mean like, how to survive on the streets?
12/10/2008 04:28:43 AM · #4
No I think that these last few generations are more savvy when it comes to life in general, we have had to evolve into a new culture pretty much every 5 years, the leaps in technology is amazing, just in our generation. Oh the good old days with no computers and only a stick and ball to play with ! =)
12/10/2008 05:12:42 AM · #5
I think that is a somewhat complicated question. I believe it is about the same, however, different.
I believe today's generation is more knowledgeable about a great number of subjects. With instant and often free access to a world of information.

However I believe this generation in general has lost a good degree of humanity, knowledge of how to treat others and why. I believe this generation has also lost its knowledge of parenting, not just how to parent but the value of proper parenting (and I don't mean smacking the crap out of kids, I mean sitting down with them to read a book instead of renting a video game to get some free time). I must sound like an old man by now, in my day we didn't speak back to adults, yada yada...

In earlier times, not so long ago before the internet, people primarily interacted with one another in person. Just as they have for most of human history. They were exposed not only to the body language of who they dealt with but also experienced the same environment. If you hurt someone or helped someone it was a personal thing. You were exposed to the aftermath whether good or bad.

The popularity of the internet shook this up. Suddenly it became possible to interact with thousands of people with no real connection to them. People in such different life styles or cultures to boggle the mind but such details aren't required nor often requested, just as long as they have a keyboard. Emotes replaced body language however the human brain was never wired to understand :) and :( like it was in actual human faces.

The sheer number of these anonymous meaningless people on the internet I believe diluted the empathy and thought that people used to put into relationships to the point that actual relationships have suffered. People have been forgetting how to interact with one another, and haven't been learning any benefit from personal human interaction.

I've heard stories of the old days. A time before cellphones, before video games, before oil was bad, and when bacon was still health food. A time when neighbors knew the people in their neighborhoods, not just faces, but names and interests and merits. Neighbors used to borrow each others tools just to lose them, but somehow kept interacting anyway.

There was the occasional fight, and the once in a while bad neighbor however they weren't the norm.

However nowadays most people don't even know what color car their neighbor drives, let alone their face, name, job, or anything else that differs them from a cardboard cutout. People are too busy with their lives for slow meaningless communication with what are probably jerks anyway. However everyone has time to check their email.

So I think the general intelligence has remained the same, however the knowledge has shifted from personal topics to ones of isolation. Some things are learned over time, are or should be part of growing up, part of life. However these things are often rushed or omitted these days, they are either never learned or learned much too late in life.

So today's generation has knowledge of events from around the world, textual knowledge of dozens of cultures and countries, however it seems to lack the basic knowledge of what it means to be a human or to be around humans the majority of the time. I think that is a tragic thing, since most likely the majority of people these days, don't even care.

Just my 2... hmm, would you accept an I.O.U.
12/10/2008 05:57:58 AM · #6
On paper the next generations get smarter and smarter.
In reality we become more stupid.
Forgetting natural wisdom and the importancy of social behaviour.


12/10/2008 07:10:15 AM · #7
Originally posted by crayon:

do you think that your generation smarter than your parent's generation?


Smarter is a quantitative word and, as such, my response is yes. The knowledge required to live today is more complex and more varied than in previous generations. The knowledge is different than in previous generations and one is required to 'know' a lot more to get by than in previous generations. But, knowledge is not intelligence. I think, as a general rule (and it seems everyone here is generalizing) people have not gotten more intelligent. There is a difference.

As for social knowledge, the scope of that is changing also, and to state that people today don't know their neighbors and that means they're not smarter is misguided. People meet and interact differently today than they have in the past; to deem that it requires less knowledge or that the people are 'dumber' because of it is to assume that face to face interaction requires more knowledge and is somehow 'better.' 100 years ago one knew their neighbors and maybe members of their church, but not much beyond that. 50 years ago, the scope expanded and the circle grew bigger, but not such as it is today. Just take a look at DPC. People here interact with people all over the world; a person in Omaha can be friends with a person in Sydney. Today's technology allows one to 'choose' their neighbors and forge friendships despite the oceans between them.

And btw - all it takes to change a person's attitude is to say, "Hello." Try saying hello to everyone you meet for a month, everyone you pass in the grocery store, walking on the street, pass in the cafeteria. You would be amazed at the number of people willing to stop and chat, to open up, to become friends. Maybe it isn't others that lack social knowledge, maybe it is. But it is easy to change that with a simple, "Hello." It is amazing how people react when you simply smile at them. Not a fake, "I'm in a hurry and don't have time for you" smile, but a genuine, "I'm lucky to meet you today" smile.
12/10/2008 07:43:04 AM · #8
I don't know. My father once scored 110% in a maths exam. That's not something that happens very often for anyone.
12/10/2008 07:45:56 AM · #9
Techno-wise, I would say that my generation is miles ahead. For finding solutions to complicated problems with limited resources, I would say my parents' generation has us beat by lightyears. People learned to bootstrap all kind of solutions. I'm amazed at what my Dad, uncles and grand-father were able to do with their very limited resources.
12/10/2008 08:31:07 AM · #10
My father used to say, "I've forgotten more than you'll ever know!"

It occurred to me that if that were true, the sum total of human knowledge would be diminishing. I tried to share that with him, but apparently one of the things he'd forgotten, by that time, was how to listen to anyone younger than him expressing an idea.

I think questions like this are impossible to answer. The world changes so much from generation to generation that the context for the discussion is always evolving. It becomes a little like comparing apples and oranges.
12/10/2008 09:22:37 AM · #11
Originally posted by crayon:

do you think that your generation smarter than your parent's generation?


We've gotten here so far, haven't we? Learning from one's parents or the generation before us is primordial to our survival on this planet. We've been doing it ever since the beginning of mankind. So yes we are, whether we notice it or not.

Message edited by author 2008-12-10 09:23:17.
12/10/2008 09:57:22 AM · #12
I guess that depends on how you define "smart".

In terms of basic intelligence, I think not. If so, it's at evolutionary speed, and is likely too small to be measured generation to generation.

In terms of specific knowledge and technological development, sure, the latest generation has developed the capability to do incredible things that were unthinkable to the previous generation. It's been that way for a long time and that development seems to be accelerating.

Of course, many of those technological developments have hidden dangers that were obvious to generations past. One good thing to look at is the development of agriculture, since people have been growing food for thousands of years. Through technology, the latest generation has boosted efficiencies and crop yields to unbelievable levels, yet, many people are starting to realize the true cost and that those yields aren't sustainable long term and are looking to the wisdom of their grandfathers for how to farm.

Message edited by author 2008-12-10 10:34:30.
12/10/2008 10:03:35 AM · #13
Book smarts Yes, Common sense No!
12/10/2008 10:05:46 AM · #14
Considering there is little room for genetic evolution from one generation to the next, I would say that there is almost no difference in native intelligence from one generation to the next.

One generation may be more educated on a given subject, than the other. But to say one is smarter than the other, is likely false.
12/10/2008 10:38:49 AM · #15
Originally posted by Azrifel:

On paper the next generations get smarter and smarter.
In reality we become more stupid.
Forgetting natural wisdom and the importance of social behaviour.


bold added

Agreed!!!
12/10/2008 01:34:27 PM · #16
We have access to much more information more easily. But we choose not to use that access to educate ourselves, in most cases. It's more tempting to use that technology to play war games and isolate ourselves. And on the whole, at least in the US, we are getting lazier, both physically and mentally. So no, i don't think we are smarter.
12/10/2008 08:34:19 PM · #17
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

In terms of specific knowledge and technological development, sure, the latest generation has developed the capability to do incredible things that were unthinkable to the previous generation. It's been that way for a long time and that development seems to be accelerating.


i've been thinking along the lines you mentioned above lately. what if suddenly, all the books and records of the past (manuals, instructions, history, howto's) are destroyed along with all and everything man-kind had ever invented, leaving humans in a barren land of yore - trees, lakes, rivers, seas, mountains, wild animals. how quickly (if at all) do you think it would take man-kind to rebuild everything back?
12/10/2008 09:54:03 PM · #18
One of those fun questions.
My grandfather invented one of the first aircraft engines. In 1910.
My father was a machinist who built submarines in WW II and
helped design and build machine parts for the engine that went to the moon.
Me? I can use a digital camera and almost can cope with Vista.
No, there's nobody that comes after me.
12/10/2008 10:09:25 PM · #19
Originally posted by crayon:

Originally posted by Spazmo99:

In terms of specific knowledge and technological development, sure, the latest generation has developed the capability to do incredible things that were unthinkable to the previous generation. It's been that way for a long time and that development seems to be accelerating.


i've been thinking along the lines you mentioned above lately. what if suddenly, all the books and records of the past (manuals, instructions, history, howto's) are destroyed along with all and everything man-kind had ever invented, leaving humans in a barren land of yore - trees, lakes, rivers, seas, mountains, wild animals. how quickly (if at all) do you think it would take man-kind to rebuild everything back?


First there would be mass starvation, and disease. The population is too great for the land to support without modern technology. The wildlife too few to feed the starving masses. In certain lucky areas there might be a few who had the broader knowledge to rebuild. But other than that it would be small groups, and tribes that live apart today, and do not rely on modern technology. If there were no way to capture the current knowledge, within a generation or two at the most, most of the information would be lost. Not much time to teach how to build an airliner, while chasing the remaining available food.

With no records, no artifacts, I'd guestimate hundreds of years.
12/10/2008 10:09:48 PM · #20
Our generation has things waaayyyyy too easy, so less demands are placed on things like true creativity, inventiveness and resourcefulness. We have a surfeit of information and technology at our disposal, so much so that we would be lost without it. I think we are very, very intellectually lazy cause we're spoonfed so much.

My parents are as resourceful and frugal as ever, mostly cause they grew up during WWII. My Mum was in England, and had to leave London for the country when she was very young. At age 10 she had kill her pet rabbits for food. My Dad was training in Tiger Moths in Texas (try saying THAT 3x fast, lol!) when the war ended, so he missed getting blown to pieces by the bad guys. Even when he was in practice, he never showered us with material things, at least certainly not even close to the kind of over-expenditure I've seen in recent years.

Both my parents stressed frugality, and while many others whine about how much they have to give up, well, par for the course for all of us. As my line of work is very seasonal I'm used to scraping by on stunningly small amounts of $$, so things are just chugging along same as always.

So to answer the thread's main question: No. My generation is not smarter than my parents' generation. They have more gadgets and toys, but does that make them smarter? Uhhh...no.
12/10/2008 10:21:41 PM · #21
Academically, "my" generation probably knows a great deal more than my parents (technology, information highway, etc.)

Otherwise, though, it seems some things are being lost. The first example is perseverance. My parents married very young (17 and 22). They had their share of problems, but worked through them. Now, it seems, the younger generation is real quick to dismiss and move on. It also *seems* that people my parents age were content to go to work for many years -- working for places 20, 25 or even 30+ years. Now, it's move, move, move.

I know those are gross generalizations, but I think it may very well be that while this generation has more "facts" in their head, that may be the only way.
12/10/2008 10:33:44 PM · #22
i read (somewhere) people are no smarter no than 1000 - 5000 years ago
but we have adapted to store & categorize information better

i've also read that there existed a time in the 17th century(and previously) that a person could know everything that was known at the time
.... that is impossible now ....
12/10/2008 11:05:23 PM · #23
Originally posted by ambaker:

Originally posted by crayon:

Originally posted by Spazmo99:

In terms of specific knowledge and technological development, sure, the latest generation has developed the capability to do incredible things that were unthinkable to the previous generation. It's been that way for a long time and that development seems to be accelerating.


i've been thinking along the lines you mentioned above lately. what if suddenly, all the books and records of the past (manuals, instructions, history, howto's) are destroyed along with all and everything man-kind had ever invented, leaving humans in a barren land of yore - trees, lakes, rivers, seas, mountains, wild animals. how quickly (if at all) do you think it would take man-kind to rebuild everything back?


First there would be mass starvation, and disease. The population is too great for the land to support without modern technology. The wildlife too few to feed the starving masses. In certain lucky areas there might be a few who had the broader knowledge to rebuild. But other than that it would be small groups, and tribes that live apart today, and do not rely on modern technology. If there were no way to capture the current knowledge, within a generation or two at the most, most of the information would be lost. Not much time to teach how to build an airliner, while chasing the remaining available food.

With no records, no artifacts, I'd guestimate hundreds of years.


I was thinking more like thousands of years or if religions take over like the first time around maybe even longer.
12/10/2008 11:12:32 PM · #24
Originally posted by yanko:

I was thinking more like thousands of years or if religions take over like the first time around maybe even longer.

interesting you should say that, Richard. i just read an piece written by a doctor yesterday about how pagans/wicca are able to learn things much better than others due to their different approach to learning and understanding of how things work. and it is not magic or witchcraft related, it is pure science.
12/10/2008 11:21:53 PM · #25
I belive we are smarter and have a better all around knowledge, but we are lazier. With the advancement of technology, people do not work as hard as previous generations. A lot of things come easy and we don't have to work as hard as past generations which may sound like a good thing, but it isn't. I am speaking from a generation y perspective.
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