Monday, April 4, 2011

In which @ZOMGitsCriss gets me to blog again.

I think Cristina Rad is awesome. Her YouTube channel is fantastic (I'd link to it, but I'm at work currently, and can't get on YouTube from here), and she has a lot of really awesome things to say on her Twitter feed. But comments like this one just make me riled up:

Kinda hard to maintain a positive attitude when the entire world is falling apart.


I don't know how much more emphatically I can say this. No. The entire world is not falling apart. Now, this might be in reference to some personal issues, and I can appreciate that. When your entire personal world is falling apart, life is pretty horrible.

But the world? The wide world, the grandiose world of humanity?

Let's be honest: we're doing okay. In fact, I would argue that the human condition is, today, better than it has ever been.

Sure, we have horrific campaigns of slaughter, torture, death and disease going on throughout the world. People are being murdered, raped, bombed. Riots are tearing apart Kabul over a book getting burned. And if you look at things on the outside, the world is a pretty shitty place. I won't deny that.

But the fact of the matter is that it was a shittier place yesterday. And an even shittier place ten years ago. And 10,000 years ago, it was absolutely undeniably horrific. Life used to be short, brutish, and violent, and the human condition was often plagued by terrifying diseases that left you dead at best and horrifically maimed at worst. Wars were frequent, and civilian casualties as a percentage of populace were much higher. Entire cities were systematically slaughtered with only a handful of survivors. Disease was a prevalent weapon.

So ask yourself this: when was the last time an entire city was destroyed by Christian crusaders, with over 90% of the people killed and the rest remaining mostly raped girls between the ages 12-16, forced into becoming wives (aka: slaves) for the conquerors?

When was the last time someone you knew died of polio, cholera, bubonic plague, or the measles?

When was the last time an entire race of people was systematically eliminated and the world didn't find some way to care?

Sure, some of these horrors are recent and still terrifying, your chance of dying in a violent or diseased manner is low. Much lower than it was a hundred years ago; a thousand years ago, dying of old age was almost unheard of. The quality of life everywhere in the world is getting better and better. Slowly, a crawl, in some places, such as sub-Saharan Africa, but a crawl is better than nothing.

The world's not falling apart. It's got a lot of horrible things that we see on a daily basis due to the nature of information exchange. But we have lived at relative peace for the last 65 years, thanks to the Pax Americana; my generation, and my parents' generation, hasn't known a sustained, violent war that has truly destroyed nations.

Things still suck, but they aren't falling apart. They are getting better. Even the fact that we know more about how terrible the human species can be is in itself a victory, because the only real way to getting away from the things that make us sad is information exchange and education: two things easier to find now, than ever before. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel...

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