History, like time, is an ocean, not a river, it never goes from point A to point B.
We do imagine we are more compassionate today than in the past because like most ages, we believe ours to be the best of times, even with as many problems as we envision for our age. If we do not see ours as the best of times, we might just opt for the flip side of this and conclude that it is the worst of times, another way of saying the same thing as the best, superlative conclusions seemingly opposite really only ever side by side. Flipping coins has been one of our favorite past times; heads or tails, opposites on one coin, a single minting, the same metal (mettle?).
Flipping these or playing ping pong has become a favorite past time, but do not allow the extension of ping pong in distance when compared with flipping coins fool you into believing they are different when they are the same, in their paradigms, anyway. But you can see how we do this day in day out, flip coins, skip from box to box in hop-scotch, in the ways we carry on our personal conversations, by the ways we inquire in order to avoid getting answers; in the ways we avoid questions by talking endlessly and senselessly about what is supposed to be the most important things in our lives, socially, politically (exchanging sound-bites the best we offer); or in the ways we allow the media to speak for us, to speak authoritatively to us, the ways we look to the media to find out what we think and why we think it. There is no society more intricately controlled than ours; no society in history better managed by bread and circuses.
What we think of as history is another illusion, one nearly equal to believing we are actually settling ideological differences in our Presidential elections. We do imagine that history is progressive, which is what we infer by thinking ours is the best or the worst of times; progressively better, progressively worse. If ours is the worst of times, this means history is degenerative, which means it can become progressively worse, which is not something I have disbanded with in my belief, but I simply have disbanded with the notion that there has ever been a Golden Age or that this Golden Age could be now. I certainly have disbanded with the idea that a Golden Age could be in the future, which is really at the heart of every communist revolution.