We have quite a few lessons telling us about the sharp contrast between the two ages.... like previously people were physically fit, close to nature, and quite independent whereas this generation is very advanced technologically, yet totally dependant. So in your opinion which age was/is better?
I'm going to take another approach to this topic. In previous times, children had to work hard for what they wanted. Now we live in a day and age where many parents provide whatever their child's heart desires. This is not bad in itself, but if work ethic, respect for self and others, and other previously socially important factors are taught, then we risk raising a generation full of self involved humans with a skewed perception of entitlement.
I think they both have their advantages. When we were less dependent on technology we were more physically active and better fit. We have been able to increase life expectancy through science, but so many suffer from different diseases, some due to our inactive lifestyles.
The main benefit of the modern age has also been the main drawback: the advent of modern industrial production techniques and the technological advances that accompanied it. Our lives, lifestyles and life expectancy have all been improved because of the advent of the modern industrial age, but pollution, climate change, labor exploitation, etc. have been very difficult for us to live with, and it has also contributed to an unsustainable population growth.
I suppose it depends on how far one goes back to define the two ages of which you speak. It's true that people today are not as fit and are more dependent on things outside of themselves when compared to, say, pioneers who crossed the country in their stagecoaches. However, our life expectancy is higher, our standard of living is significantly improved, and we have more opportunities for things beyond working to stay alive. To that degree, this is a better life.
I think there is also a weakness to who we've become, though. We may not always have the fortitude or strength of will to just do what must be done to make sure we can live. There are just too many options outside of working hard, so working and producing often become a last resort. In all, I'd still choose today; however, I do yearn for a return to the willingness to work without whining or complaining which I know we once had.
There are enough parallels between this twenty-first century and Huxley's Brave New World to warrant the concern about the effect of consumerism and the advancements of science affecting independent thinking, etc. Added to the myriad and huge economic, social, and world problems that are in this time, others do, indeed, seem better.
With respect to the United States and the times in its history, there are few in which America was not at war. So, if one goes back to the "old days," one has to find the hiatus in which there was peacetime. Probably the best era for America's economy was the 1950s in which there was virtually no inflation, there was not much crime, families stayed together more, and the educational system of the U.S. ranked above all other major countries in the world. These were especially good times for some; however, among the yet disenfranchised there were many impediments to their opportunities to live happily.
Still, the "greatest generation" did have a strong work ethic, good morals, and a life in which they could be proud of their country--and baseball was the American sport with greats such as Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris....and one truly could leave the doors of one's house unlocked and not worry.
To me, I would much rather live in modern times. I grew up on an island that was much more like the "old days" and I do not think living like that is all that great.
On the island where I grew up people were more physically fit. It was partly, though, because they didn't have enough food to get fat. Sure, they were closer to nature, but that meant that nature could hurt them way more than it can hurt us (try living in a thatched hut during a hurricane...). The standards of sanitation and of medical care were very low.
I think that we only look back at the old days nostalgically if we never had to live in them. I would never trade the modern world for the "old days."