People pretend the world is getting worse. It’s getting better. Here’s an example.
We get it, ok? You think 2016 was really awful. Your favorite celebrity died (which shows society’s doing fine). You believe Brexit was fueled merely through anti-immigration sentiments (which it wasn’t), and will bankrupt the UK (which it won’t); you think Donald Trump was voted into office because Americans don’t want a woman in power (which is false) or because of Russia (no evidence) or fake news (not true; also, dangerous narrative). We also get it that you believe that the rich are getting richer (not false, you’re doing good) but that this leads (no man, don’t do it) to the poor getting poorer (fuck! yeah, that’s really not true).
Next time you spend time with family members older than you, check if they can confirm your whiny attitude that it’s all going down the drain. You have a better standard of living, more luxury goods, less diseases, cheaper transportation, fewer wars. Your ancestors were dying from appendicitis and tuberculosis, but it’s your end of the world when you catch the common cold?
Get a grip.
Remember 2014, when you were freaking out about Ebola? Some of you even wanted outright travel bans for West Africans and switching on the news gave me déjà vue moments of World War Z with Brad Pitt (bad movie by the way). On the 22nd of December, scientists prove that they’ve found a 100 percent effective Ebola vaccine, saving the lives of millions of people in Africa, and you don’t pick up on it. In the worst case, this article is even the first time you’ve heard about this news.
A study published in The Lancet has reviewed the effectiveness of Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV, and found that all the tests had a magnificent 100 percent success rate. Indeed the trials were so successful that they were stopped early.
The fact that this news has passed people unmarked, even though only two years ago Ebola was the hot-button issue, is just so telling about selective attention and this general presumption that the world is going to shit.
“Scientists had previously split the test subjects up, giving some the vaccination immediately after Ebola contact, and waiting three weeks before providing it for others. 5,837 people received the vaccine during the Guinea trial in total, with 23 cases of Ebola reported in those who got the delayed vaccine, and zero among those who got it immediately.”
The world is in fact full of danger destruction, but let’s also appreciate the advancements we’ve made in modern medicine and science in general, stand in awe at the fact that we have microwaves and refrigeration systems, fast cars, water-proof homes and as little burglars and house fires as ever before. If we are to use our attention selectively to consume the news, which we are, then let’s put some effort into appreciating what’s going great.
Some things are just good.
This article was first published on Bill’s blog.