What's the point in sloggin on if we can't recognize that there's indeed many reasons to be optimistic about the future? The truth is there's plenty of evidence that things have been and are getting better not worse. (I hope some of you have read Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of our Nature".) This doesn't mean that we don't face unpredictable and potentially dangerous challenges now and in the future. What we need to be aware of is that it's too easy for humans to think themselves into a corner where doom and gloom paralyses us and creates self fulfilling prophecies that the vast majority of us would rather avoid.
At Globe Hackers we're interested in seeing the world as it is. We seek the evolving truth and wisdom on our time. We want to engage with people who are creating solutions to problems, while at the same time pushing back against people, and organizations that are contributing to serious social, cultural and environmental pathologies.
One of the best evangelists for optimism is Matt Ridley. He's looking at the bright side of things without ignoring the challenges we face now and in the future. Have a look at his Rational Optimist website and his videos and let us know what you think. Do we have a bright future, or are we ultimately doomed? Will humanity strike the right balance and continue to explore the universe for many generations to come?
Whatever your perspective is, the future is difficult to predict, black swans can come swooping down at any moment surprising us with challenges we didn't see coming. Randomness and unpredictability are fused in the physics and metaphysics of reality. The best we can do is meet challenges head on and fight the good fight, while seeking solutions to problems, enjoying life, loving life, and living life. (Those of us who can afford to of course.) Giving up is just not an option. What will be will be, but here, now, we must work at making things better in whatever way we can. Each one of us is a vital resource.
Some points in the video below about how the world is becoming greener are highly debatable. We could still put so much carbon in the atmosphere so quickly that it wouldn't matter at all that plants continue growing. We are still poisoning our environment in irresponsible ways for the sake of the bottom line and nothing else. Statistics can be fudged and are easily interpreted along ideological lines. Ecosystems are complex and emerging living systems, and I don't think humans are even close to understanding these kinds of complex systems well enough to manage them completely. We have a lot of work to do, and we're going to need a lot more time to really understand our optimal place in nature. Figuring out how to live and grow in positive ways that can guarantee a better future for our progeny who hopefully will be living and loving hundreds of years from now is humanity's constant obligation and responsibility. Long term thinking and planning is a must.
That having been said, Matt Ridley's optimism is the kind of social contagion that I find healthy. We need to set ideology aside sometimes and engage in positive debate and activity. The marketplace for optimism does indeed need to grow, but we can leave the rose colored glasses on the shelf.