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Why do people keep complaining even if things improve?

When things change for the better, people automatically change their standards and then complain as much as before (or even more than ever)

These new sensitivities can also be interpreted in a positive way: They are the side effects of social progress. Our living conditions have improved so much in so many areas that today even the tiniest imperfections have become perceptible. The really serious social and political injustices have largely been abolished, therefore even small violations of moral norms have the power to cause uproar and moral indignation

When a problem is (all but ) solved, people automatically broaden its definition - without being aware of it. In one study, participants had to identify threatening faces and distinguish them from neutral and friendly faces. But when angry faces appeared less frequently, many participants subconsciously shifted their standards and suddenly found neutral facial expressions to be terrifying.

All this suggests that many social problems cannot be solved and that public disputes will never end. Not because difficulties never disappear, but because the coordinates of how problems are viewed and evaluated shift. German philosopher Odo Marquard once described this phenomenon as the "law of the increasing obtrusiveness of negative residues".

Matias 8 May 20

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I think because we evolved to deal with scarcity as a default state that we don't know how to handle abundance. There is something about human nature that just assumes that it is a lie, and actively rejects it. Never before in human history was the possibility of the virtual elimination of all human suffering ever as close as it is today, but people are just as sad and angry about it, maybe even more so if its so little that people are not desensitized to it the way they used to be.


Everything is relative to our current point of view.


I think H.sapiens evolved to exist in an enemy-rich environment, so if we don’t have animal predators or tribal competitors or food scarcity to deal with, we fill the void with challenging beliefs. It’s our nature to be fighting something.

skado Level 8 May 20, 2019

I am one who can't be happy with my blessings sort of speak when i see children in other parts of the world suffer my very blessings or innocent beings lose their rights to exist because I'm partaking in small or big portion in the problem which we all agree that whatever wer are doing is not enough to fix the problem once and for all
However i dare to constantly search and improve so i can be a better member of this unity on our planet and maybe the universe at large.. I can be grateful for my intelligence and success in my survival attempts to grow stronger not because of the sense of achievement or how it feels which this alone is great.. but resting to the fact that i dare to say at the end.. that i truly found the answer and saw it so clearly that gave me a big hope in us as humans to achieve a happy life together and make paradise for everyone... yes I'm still crushed because by the time we succeed in achieving our goal.. they're will continuously be damage and lives that we were too late to save..
That's why in not afraid to scream in tunde faces of humanitarian to sp bullshitting themselves undet political correctness and fight the tal real battle of freedom for all harmoniously..
And I'm not afraid to shout in the street even if alone till sometimes start listening.. i do have the answer and I'm ready to explain it to open minded people do they understand it and together wer build a strategy to make it happen.
The question not why the negativity .. the real question is....
Why we choose to close all access to us when we hear the sound of hope..

Neenz Level 7 May 20, 2019



I think a friend of mine said it well. He said that as people's situations improve, so (usually) do their expectations and standards for what they feel satisfied with as far as the conditions of their life. So their level of satisfaction remains about the same.


Some people just aren't happy unless they have something to be unhappy about.

GwenC Level 7 May 20, 2019

Is the level of complaining improving?
If it is, then there is no need to complain about complaining. If it isn't, then that's one thing that isn't improving, thereby providing something to legitimately complain about...


You're right. Women and people of color sometimes have the right to vote; what more could they want? Beyond that, I'm not really sure what has improved?


I don't think we should be overthinking this. "Improved" doesn't mean remedied, fixed, made right, or made up for.


Most things are relative.


Probably an internal, therefore subjective, dissatisfaction with their life. To wheel out the old cliche, if your happy in yourself you don’t need anything else! External projections such as belief or acquisition will always lead to unsatisfactory situations.


Go tell it to the homeless

Of course there are people who have good reason to complain . LOTS of people.
But my posts describes a common socio-psychological phenomenon


What I call "keeping the drama going" sad in a very negative way


Some people have a drive to find try to improve things and find flaws, or things that could be better. Some people are just happy with whatever they have and don't question things much.

MsAl Level 7 May 21, 2019

My ex was like this, always complaining about something.. hence why she is an ex. For her, and I suspect many others, it has a lot to do with how a person is raised and their experiences in life. Her mother is a complainer and from what I heard, her mother's mother was one too. My ex has a past that I am pretty sure created a narcissistic/borderline personality disorder in her as well, which gives rise to a lot of negativity. When you're so used to being told negative things while having negative things happen to you, it'll rub off on you.

I also believe that when a person experiences traumatic event, they either disconnect from their ego to avoid the emotional toll or connect more with their ego to over compensate the emotional damage. For some, this is a permanent change and for others it's temporary. Those with the bigger connection to their ego will complain more as there is less to appease their ego.

So I'd say big egos and a person's nature/nurture play a huge factor in the amount of complaining they do.


People many times complain with a belly full. It's also part of human nature. Silly but true.

@Antidronefreeman, what I meant was that people complain sometimes without reason, although what you described fits in in a more detailed view.


There are always those that are in the "don't worry, be happy" camp. Unfortunately, things are not getting better for very many and that number is going up. Sure, if one considers material comforts things have advanced beyond our wildest dreams. But the really big picture item like the crash of the environment and our political system things are going downhill very fast. No matter how 'wonderful' things are right now (for some) many of us look to the future and see where we are headed. It's called reality not denial.


Not all the people, just the losers. Lazy, unemployed, nagging complaining people.

zesty Level 7 May 20, 2019

Not really... Tea Party adherents complain about all those "takers" that sap the economy; Conservatives complain about "moral decline"; Trump and his fans complain about immigration and "fake news media", bosses complain about too much red tape... and so on

@Matias Thete is a difference between criticism and nagging.

@Matias Unfortunately, there is a real problem with excessive population growth and that growth in the western countries is mostly from immigration. The conservatives use hate, xenophobia and fear tactics which only make matters worse ans the 'liberals' feel the need to counter with 'love' and bring them in. Missing is a evidence based reality on this situation.

@JackPedigo Civilized western countries need automation, advanced robotics, just like the Japanese House Nurse. Much more useful than uneducated idiots from undeveloped countries. Cheaper, too.


I'll give a go at this and say a lot of it comes from the ideas of a heaven. It's something that's better than we now experience so no matter how good we have it, there is always something better waiting for us. If we were taught by parents and teachers really how good we have it then possibly people could change and enjoy what they have.

gearl Level 7 May 20, 2019

It's because society is structured to favor the corrupt. Until we build a self sufficient community that reflects our animal nature, we will complain. We are simply far away from where we should be and refuse to change our situation. We may secretly want utopia, but we are trained to fight for a broken system. We won't be happy, because we are programmed to be unhappy. Like other animals, we have an instinct to follow the leader. It's up to those of us who understand this predicament to lead our species in a beneficial direction.


Could it be that we live in a world of artificial scarcity, and that this makes many people feel compelled to gripe?

The planet only has a finite amount of resources. More demands on those resources mean more scarcity for many. We continue to believe we are the center of the world (religious or not) and all nature revolves around us. 7.5 and counting billion of us on one planet show how little we understand reality.


Complaining seems to be the natural, default state for whatever reason.

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