Is the world actually getting better?
A colleague and I were having breakfast the other day when our conversation went from the weather to climate change, migrant crisis, and world progress. Really heavy stuff so early in the morning but it was a good talk.
He said that what we perceive as abnormal change in climate is actually normal. This of course, has been a big debate among scientists. Personally though, instead of these intellectuals arguing over who is smarter, attention should be on prevention and mitigation of the effects of extreme weather conditions.
I just saw on TV a news segment about the migrant crisis in Europe. The world’s attention has been caught by what these asylum seekers go through just to escape danger from their motherland. Countries are being criticized on how welcoming they are towards these migrants. But this is a tricky issue because as much as it is a matter of life and death, practically speaking, it’s just not possible to let everyone into your home.
With all these issues, you can’t help but conclude that we’re nearing doomsday but a quick Google search could lead you to statistics proving that things are indeed improving.
The world is actually getting better. Decline in infant mortality and poverty. The most peaceful time in history. Increasing access to education. Improved conditions enabling a historic rise in global population.
But we feel the opposite because bad news sell. Our survival nature makes us focus on the negative. And we fail to factor in other considerations when we try to analyze these worries.
It’s also getting better in the Philippines. A friend commented how people used to eat at McDonalds only on special occasions. Now, people eat there all the time.
Traffic congestion is getting worse, especially in the capital, Manila. But this is because of all the cars being bought.
There’s never ending construction of buildings and other structures. A sign of economic boom.
Traveling used to be just for the elite but these days, Pinoys travel everywhere and more often than before.
So the world IS getting better. But… despite all the progress, we take the environment for granted. We prioritize economic development without regard to how our actions impact the planet.
Life expectancy has increased but this era is also the rise of deadly diseases never heard before.
We have addressed problems. Came up with technological innovations. But this in turn is giving birth to new problems such as cyber hacking, privacy issues, and the like.
Is the world actually getting better or worse?
Cole Nesmith in his article gave a perfect answer. “There is potentially no greater self-fulfilling prophecy than the belief that the world is falling apart. When we believe something, we look for things that confirm our belief.” We see what we wish to see.
I mentioned earlier that it’s getting better in the Philippines. But I’ve been pessimistic about that. And so, all I see are the bad things and can’t seem to appreciate the positive things therefore generalizing that it’s hopeless in the Philippines.
You choose to be a cynic or a prophet. Nesmith said that they both have the same ability to see. “A cynic sees what’s broken about today while a prophet sees what’s beautiful about tomorrow.”