Before you read the next paragraph, keep in mind that it’s the first few sentences of an article by Hans Rosling — actually a posthumous book excerpt, he died last year — that’s going to tell you how everything isn’t as bad as people may think.
“Things are bad, and it feels like they are getting worse, right? War, violence, natural disasters, corruption. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer; and we will soon run out of resources unless something drastic is done.”
A regular pick-me-up, isn’t it?
Rosling proceeds to point out that what he calls the “overdramatic worldview” is part of how people’s brains work, but that extreme poverty and violence are down, life expectancy has doubled over the last two centuries, more children (especially girls) are being educated.
Although he wasn’t completely naive.
“My guess is you feel that me saying that the world is getting better is like me telling you that everything is fine, and that feels ridiculous. I agree. Everything is not fine. We should still be very concerned. As long as there are plane crashes, preventable child deaths, endangered species, climate change sceptics, male chauvinists, crazy dictators, toxic waste, journalists in prison, and girls not getting an education, we cannot relax. But it is just as ridiculous to look away from the progress that has been made. The consequent loss of hope can be devastating. When people wrongly believe that nothing is improving, they may lose confidence in measures that actually work.”
All of this is very nice, but I have my own ways of reminding myself that everything isn’t horrible.
There’s my day-to-day interactions with friends and family.
And there’s a man who cuddles and sings to premature babies.
And a little girl went back to school with her new prosthetic leg. (The hug gets me every time.)