A friend (thanks GP) shared a Financial Times article titled “Reasons to Be Cheerful. Seriously.” The article struck a chord. I read another similar themed article called “Defying the Doomsayers” in a book review in the Wall Street Journal.
Turn on the TV or radio or read the newspaper and you have a deluge of darkness. Joblessness. Poverty. Politics. Iran. Afghanistan. Kony. Poaching. Extinction of endangered species. Deforestation of rainforests. Racism. Global Warming. Violent crime. Hazings. Gas Prices. Poor test results for U.S. high school students. Cheating on college entrance exams. Steroid use. Corruption. Terrorism. Medicinal commercials for depression, constipation, virility, hair loss, anxiety, ADD and on and on and on. Is it any wonder that we are the most fully medicated generation to have existed?
As the FT article states: “If it bleeds, it leads” (the news broadcasts). One might conclude from the media that we are three steps shy of Apocalypse.
Solution? Turn off the tele. Feed your mind a more constructive source of fuel. And as the WSJ article closes: “The best way to predict the future, is to create it yourself.”
Here’s some excerpts that share an inspiring alternative view of the world – more inspiring than you will see on your nightly news and cable broadcasts or your morning paper:
Wall Street Journal: The authors suggest that "humanity is now entering a period of radical transformation where technology has the potential to significantly raise the basic standard of living for every man, woman, and child on the planet."…A Masai warrior with a smartphone on Google has access to more information than the president of the United States did just 15 years ago…Today more people have access to a cellphone than to a toilet. Computing: In 15 years, the average $1,000 laptop is likely to be computing at the rate of the human brain. Education: The Khan Academy’s YouTube tutorial videos on more than 2,200 topics, from algebra to zoology, draw two million viewings a month from online students around the world. Medicine: The field of personalized medicine based on genetic information—an industry that didn’t exist a decade ago—is now growing at 15% a year and will reach $452 billion by 2015. Aging: The centenarian population is doubling every decade; it was 455,000 in 2009 and will reach four million by 2050.
Given all the talk nowadays about income inequality…The number of people in the world living in absolute poverty has fallen by more than half since the 1950s. At the current rate of decline it will reach zero by around 2035. Groceries today cost 13 times less than 150 years ago in inflation-adjusted dollars. In short, the standard of living has improved: 95% of Americans now living below the poverty line have not only electricity and running water but also Internet access, a refrigerator and a television—luxuries that Andrew Carnegie’s millions couldn’t have bought at any price a century ago.
…With ever more people reaching for freedom, countless millions are tacitly embracing the Diamandis motto: "The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself."
Financial Times: Life has ceased to be quite so poor, nasty, brutish and short – although you wouldn’t know it from watching TV news. These are the best times in history, even though it won’t look that way if you’re reading this in a slum in Mogadishu. Here are some key measures of life on earth: Life expectancy is surging, especially in “less developed regions.” In the period 1950-1955, the average person’s life expectancy at birth was 46.6 years. From 2005 through 2010, it was 67.6 years…the average Briton can now expect to live to 80…Aids and malaria are finally in retreat…Extreme poverty is falling worldwide…True, the numbers remain chilling – except compared with where we came from. Almost unnoticed, the world also reached its millennial development goal of halving the number of people without access to clean water five years ahead of target…The collapse in violent crime still continues… Fertility rates are plunging almost everywhere – in Iran for instance, from seven children per woman in 1984 to 1.87 today. That benefits the planet and poor women.
News nowadays is mostly devoted to recounting disasters…Today, disasters are news partly because of improved technology and more democracy, partly because disasters make great TV – “if it bleeds, it leads” – and partly because media instinctively focus on bad news…It also misses humanity’s upward trend.