Many people claim that “The World Has Changed” when they see something they don’t recognize from before. This common phrase is a cliché. It is cliché that is used, and abused, without actual regard to gradual change or reflection of major influences. The most irritating resultant of this phrase is that it manages to provide little meaning, and prevents critical rebuttals. It is quite difficult to argue against the context in which this phrase is used. The phrase, however vague and meaningless, is not false, but it is not exactly true. Human civilization evolves, not necessarily in the biological sense, by taking existing ideas and improving on them. There are many who have claimed that they have created something that did not exist before, is that they are severely unaware of similar existing ideas, or of previous attempts.
The world has changed to attempt to bridge the content of one idea to another weakly connected idea. For example one could say: “People used to dig in the ground with stones, but the world has changed. Now people use backhoes [UK/AUS: diggers].” This phrase makes a statement that something that cannot be refuted. The phrase makes a magical leap to another similar connecting statement, similar to “hand waving,” that ignores the connections between the two phrases. The gap between the two phrases is not bounded. The amount of context connecting the two phrases could include wars, world peace, and space exploration. The typical westerner, with agricultural experience, would association the connection of digging with rocks to diggers to be rocks->sharpened rock->shovel->machinery/hydraulics->jackhammer->digger. However, the original intent [or persuasion] may have been to get the listener to open up to the idea of the gap being a magical entity creating the advancement [good for hyping up products and investment in organizations], or a massive leap in the human condition.
Clichés are phrases that are similar to slang, they are the disease of the everyday language. Easy to catch from another, easily spotted, and difficult to get rid of. These clichés are popular amongst cultures, and communicate generic feelings; however they also tend to hide realities. In summary, the phrase attempts to convince the listening party that humanity has drastically changed. Somehow, humanity can no longer satisfy their basic needs without advancements. Somehow, without the TV, humanity can’t feed itself, interact with others, or even reproduce without being directed. Inversely, it also implies that the notion that cultures which do not share the same opinion of the change are backwards and somewhat incompatible is inheritantly wrong.
Lastly, I leave with a visualization of behavior change in the last 10 years. Has the human population changed that much? Yes there have been minor changes in consumption of resources, but has the mobile phone really introduced communication as a new concept to human beings? Have we lost the same desires to interact with each others? No, we’ve been doing it for many years and will continue to do so.
Visualization 2000 vs. 2010 Behavior and Cultural Statistics