We have reason to be more optimistic than any other period in the history of civilization. This entire week I will count the ways.
I had a comment about yesterday’s piece stating, “All I ever see on TV is bad dangerous times everywhere. Are you sure you have your facts right?”
Yes, I’m sure. Let me briefly explain why we think the world is going to hell in a hand basket.
Once again, I have to go back to an earlier writing about our brains and how they work. That small walnut-shaped part of the brain called the amygdala is very concerned with our survival. It is drawn to any news or warnings that could harm us. It is the source of our fear. As I mentioned earlier, if the amygdala is damaged we can’t experience fear. So, it’s tuned to bad news because it wants to protect us and keep us safe. The amygdala is the favorite target of most politicians who know that fear, even fear of the unknown, is a sweet spot.
Let’s just deal in facts, not fear.
Huge things that have happened worldwide to humankind in the past 100 years:
The average lifespan of man has increased 2X. The average per capita income has increased 3X. The average childhood mortality rate has declined 10X. The average cost of food has declined 10X. The average cost of electricity has declined 20X. The average cost of transportation has declined 100X. The average cost of communication has declined 1000X.
In the past 130 years, global literacy has increased from 25% to 80%.
Are you feeling better yet?
If we just concentrate on the USA, the figures are mind-blowing. The majority of Americans who are living below the poverty line have improving living standards. No one is saying they are living well, because they are not. Yet, compared to those below the poverty line of past generations we see that 99% have electricity, water, toilets and refrigerators. 95% have televisions. 88% have a mobile phone. 70% have a car with air conditioning.
The one statistic that gives cause to celebrate is the fact that we are now living in the most peaceful time ever in human history. Western Europe, North America, Australia, most of Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Asia has not had wars fought on their soil in the last 50 years. While there have been conflicts in other parts of the world these tend to be on a national level where one dictator replaces another, especially in North Africa, South- and Middle-America. Civil war and/or interstate wars are rarer than ever. Also don’t forget how violent tribal societies tend to be when claiming that pre-national times were peaceful. As I mentioned in yesterday’s piece, the news media bombards us with violence 24 hours a day so we wrongly think we are living in dangerous times. Right now a large majority of the world population dies of accidents or disease (including old age and mental illness). This is unheard of in world history.
Peace, brothers and sisters.