Poverty, Death, and our Fascination with a Dark World that does not exist.
There is something peculiar about the world. Well there are many peculiar things about the world. But one of the most damning is that people [in numbers great enough to appear to be the majority] actively believe the world is getting darker. They believe that things as a whole are getting worse. This might be true for the environment, when your dominant creature is building toxic waste facilities upstream from their drinking supply these things happen.
All credible evidence though seems to suggest that the world as a whole is getting better. Child mortality is lower than it has ever been recorded to be, we see less murders globally, less crime of just about any kind, and the access to information has never been better. These things are likely all tied together like some kind of magical yarn ball. Yet you would be forgiven if you thought the world was turning to poo. Humans have some kind of innate attraction to death. My theory on this is that by seeing others suffer we can more easily appreciate what we have. There is no evidence to back this up, it is just a guess.
When people slow down on the road to examine a car accident I feel that this is in play. They are seeing the horrors that have been wrought by someone else not caring for human life and it allows them to feel in some way better about their own life, their own safety, and their own path through that life.
The part I enjoyed most about the annual letter from the gates foundation was this particular quote.
If you read the news every day, it’s easy to get the impression that the world is getting worse. There is nothing inherently wrong with focusing on bad news, of course—as long as you get it in context. – Bill Gates
This is the clincher. When I used to be told as a child that we shouldn’t be sending money abroad because we aren’t saving people here, it made sense to me. But so did having ice cream for all meals of the day. As I got older, and I like to think wiser, I began to notice the flaws in that logic. As I’ve mentioned before the most nefarious and successful strategy of the rich was to get the poor waging way against one another. To have people fighting to lower others to their level instead of raising themselves to the level of those around them.
This is genuinely evil and when people fall for it, especially people I know or love, it disappoints me. I would say that it angers me but I try to not let anything do that anymore if I can help it.
You should read it, the article is great and it debunks some of the most adamant beliefs of people I thought infallible. That isn’t to say people I know are lesser, I’m ignorant of many things, but it does remind me that one should never get content with their knowledge. We bought a cold air humidifier and after a few brief seconds speaking with my wife I realized I had no idea how it worked.
I had no idea how this thing worked and it was expelling vapor into my room. How insane is that? That thing could have been giving me super aids and I was none the wiser.
So I looked it up and now I understand the mechanics behind an ultrasonic vaporizer. I’ll probably write a post about it soon because frankly I find it fascinating.
How many other things do I just accept? I wonder sometimes, these things that so intimately come into contact with me and do so through mysterious function. It’s a bit haunting.