The Shut Down. Syria. The Trayvon Martin shooting.Bengazi. Ben Affleck. It’s easy to get swallowed up in all of the evil in this world. The negativity compounds and multiplies exponentially and soon wraps itself around our chests and chokes the living goodness out of us.
I’ve heard it all before. The eve of destruction trope.
But I’m here today to say enough.
Turn off your televisions. Put down your newspapers. Forget about all of that for a moment and consider this;
Things have never been better than they are right now, right here, at this point in time.
Don’t believe me?
Human civilization has drastically changed over the past few centuries. It is unarguable that quality of life has increased, even in the past five generations. Quality-of-life in a society can be measured by how long and happy its inhabitants live.
Homo Sapien has lived for most of its existence (hundreds of thousands of years) in simple hunter-gatherer societies. Agrarian societies developed less than 5.000 years ago and it is only in the last 200 years that a ‘modern’ industrial society has come into being. Today this industrial society is rapidly transforming into a global information society.
The notion that life is getting better draws on several achievements of modern society. One of those achievements is the unprecedented rise in the material standard of living;
Simply put the average citizen today lives more comfortably now than kings did a few centuries ago.
I have constant entertainment at my fingertips. Instant selection from thousands upon thousands of titles. An ever streaming flow of music to accompany my day. Fast easy transportation to and from business and pleasure. A 35 mile trip into the city takes mere minutes in my privately owned automobile.
We live in a time in which the chance of an untimely death has been greatly reduced; fewer people die in accidents and epidemics and fewer are murdered.
Many social evils have been abated, such as poverty, inequality, ignorance and oppression. A recent statement of this view can be found in ‘It’s getting better all the time’ by Moore and Simon (2000).
The thing is, this view breaks with the dominant world view. the negative view. The idea that life is getting better breaks with the traditional religious view of earthly life as a phase of penance awaiting paradise in the afterlife.
It also fucks with television news ratings.
Think about it though, the next time you go to order a pizza off the internet from your ipad, in your downtown flat, after driving home in your hybrid vehicle, from your job 30 miles away, to watch Battlestar Galactica on Netflix…
By your command.