Are you struggling to find hope in today’s world?
Amazingly, you live in a world filled with more knowledge, wealth, freedom, and technical prowess than ever before. And yet you may think it’s all going to hell in a handbasket. Why is this so?
It’s not just a matter of perspective or the optimist’s “glass half full.” We’ve simply run into a problem that’s going to challenge us for millennia to come. Our technical and social evolution has outstripped the pace at which our brains, bodies, and emotions can adapt. Let’s consider—
Advances against Hunger and Undernourishment
continue world-wide, with hunger falling 14.8% since the turn of the century. At the same time, we’ve added almost 2 billion more mouths to feed since the year 2000. We’ve flooded the developed world with so many calories, our bodies are packing on more extra pounds than they were built for.
We’ve eradicated smallpox, the cause of 10% of all deaths in the 20th century and eliminated polio, cholera, and malaria from the developed world. Many diseases
including chickenpox, measles, tetanus, whooping cough, and more have been beaten back by improvements in public health and the advent of vaccines.
continues to advance, worldwide, at a rapid rate. In 1820, just yesterday on the history scale, only 12% of the world’s population could read and write. Today, only 14% remain illiterate, with 4.7 billion people linked together by a worldwide Internet.
So what’s the problem? I mentioned evolutionary limitations, and they are real. Like almost any animal, put us in a food rich environment where an almost endless cornucopia of high calorie choices is constantly presented to us, and we’re likely to eat ourselves to death. It’s not a moral failing; it’s basic biology.
And nothing in our million-year history has prepared us for a constant barrage of contentious voices warring with one another over worldwide media. Our brains have no evolutionary shielding with which to bear an endless news cycle fed by fear, mistrust, and disinformation. But after all, we’re only hearing the chattering of our own voices, much amplified and as much dissatisfied as they always have been.
Even as we advance in so many areas, our natures betray us with the same human foibles that so often delineate the flaws in our character. Whatever we achieve, no matter how high, whatever good fortune befalls us, no matter how miraculous, we are apt to raise the bar still further and complain about the rest.
But after all, that’s just human. The same peoples bearing the same faults, have risen to know the universe across the whole of its expanse and fabric of being, and they will soon reach out to make their mark upon the stars themselves.
The Human Adventure, after all, is just beginning.
We’re neither reaching the end of days nor the last faltering steps of civilization. Even so, the road ahead is neither clear of obstacles, nor the weather guaranteed to be fair. But that’s the adventure, isn’t it? To dream of a better tomorrow and make it so.