In some conversations people have been saying I see too much bad in the world. Maybe I do, but am generally an optimistic person. It looks like @the-bitcoin-dood has had some similar thoughts. I don't actually watch much TV news, but I read a few (mostly online) news sources to see what is going on. I subscribe to New Internationalist that gives fascinating insights into what is going on around the world that we may not hear about in our local media.
Just this week I listened to a Guardian podcast talking with psychologist Steven Pinker who has been writing and talking a lot about how much safer the world is these days. This video includes a lot of that too. We have less wars between countries, we live longer, our lives are generally easier (even if it doesn't always feel like it). There is less discrimination against other races, religions, women and those with non-binary gender or partner choice. Of course these things have not totally disappeared, but in many countries it's far better than just a generation ago.
He uses GDP as a measure of progress, but it's not necessarily the best measure. The money isn't always well distributed and is often made at the cost the environment and exploitation of people.
I've seen massive changes in my lifetime. When I was a kid the cold war was waging and nuclear war seemed very likely. Thankfully sense prevailed. The old Soviet Union broke up fairly peacefully, but there have been conflicts as old feuds broke out again. We have never had so much capability to communicate with others around the world, but some people still want us to withdraw into our little communities of people like them. We should be cooperating more on a global scale to solve the real issues that threaten us all. We need bridges, not walls.
I also heard historian Dan Snow on the radio saying there didn't seem to be so much history happening when he grew up in the 90s, but things are kicking off again now. I think that's partly down to certain politicians trying to divide us. They get elected by promising solutions they cannot really deliver. They like to build a cult of personality that they have all the answers. Be concerned if any politician thinks they cannot be replaced and if they start changing the rules to extend their reign.
So there are grounds for optimism, but we need to be keeping an eye on things and speak out about what we think is wrong. The world is not a zero sum game where if others lose we always gain. If we can help make life better for others then it reduces the chances of conflict. There's still too much misery and suffering in the world. We need the politicians to reduce those instead of trying to score points off each other.
I certainly don't have the answers, but we can each try to spread 'good vibes'. I don't have much influence, but I have this small corner of the internet where a few people are listening. I'd hope they are mostly on the same wavelength as me anyway. I believe most people are good and just want to be able to live a happy life with those they love. Evil is mercifully rare.
Thanks for reading, if you have.
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