5 Reasons the World Is Not Falling Apart
Or is it just the incredible availability of information in our age? This is the age of information (hence, this blog) after all. Social media, 24-hour news, the internet itself, smartphones, smart devices--communication is so rampant. In my opinion, this is both good and bad.
Good: it's good to know things.
Bad: it's very easy to get depressed or fearful over the things you now know.
Is it right to assume or claim the world is worse than it ever was before? I don't know. How would we know? I was not around during ancient history, middle ages, or even the forties or sixties. But here's the thing, even if you think you knew about the twentieth century because you lived in it, you really didn't know about it like you know about the 21st century...because of the internet.
Now you know everything: from Facebook, you know that someone from your hometown is sick with cancer, and you also know about terrorist organizations from CNN. You know about the utter corruption of politicians and about your old college friend losing her child. You know about a natural disaster across the world, and you know about gun violence in your state. You know a lot more information, and it can be overwhelmingly sad. And scary. Scary is often where we focus. For survival reasons, we feel we must worry and fear. It is, after all, how we have survived millions of years as a species. We had to worry about nature, about beasts, about other humans and now we have to worry about everything.
The world is a paradox: a sad, frightening place, but beautiful and enlightening. An obstacle course that is not fun at all a lot of the time. But hasn't the world always been scary and threatening? If we look back, to what we can possibly know from history, the world has been a brutal place from the beginning. Brutal and threatening, but also giving and loving. How else could we have made it this far if it didn't also nourish, as well as punish? And the desire for us (all creatures) to keep going, to ensure the survival of our offspring must mean it's a worthwhile, gorgeous adventure to be here in this world.
I'm thinking that things are getting better, and I have some things to say to back that up. I tend to think over and over again that it is all about perception. Look at how far the world has come.
Example #1: Slavery, at one point, was rampant all over the world. Now slavery is an undercover operation in little pockets (which is a horrible thing, but the former statement is much worse).
Example #2: While there is still plenty of corruption in police forces across the US, there are things that used to happen that would never, ever be accepted now. More accountability. That goes for politicians as well.
Example #3: The world is still warring, but most of all the countries and ideologies have quit battling and brawling for more territory, greedily and violently taking over cultures and people to make an empire. Or to enslave a whole people for the benefit of an empire.
Example #4: More respect for children and childhood. In the West, only a century and a half ago, there were no child labor laws. To kick a child begging in the street would not have been a big deal, not punishable. I understand there is still a lot of child abuse and neglect, and places where it's still okay to make a child work or disrespect a child. But consciousness spreads, and the world cannot tolerate cruelty to children like it used to.
Example #5: Yes, racism is very much alive today, but you are not waking up today to news that on a continent of the world, an extermination of an entire race is going on (Holocaust). Or that people are being killed in humongous, mass numbers because of their religion (Spanish Inquisition). Terrorism and violence and murder are everywhere. But the outrage over horrendous acts has grown exponentially whereas at one point, violence and murder were common occurrences received with ambivalence. Coincidentally, we can thank media for this: movies, TV, radio, news, music, art and the internet, of course. We have pictures and sound, we can step into another's shoes.
In short, brutality and crime are extremely prevalent. But we tend to look at our age without any perspective of the past. There has always been violence since humans learned how to fear. But I personally see a turning of the human heart. People are waking up.
I do not ignore the terrorism, killings and rampant use of weapons. I do realize all the aforementioned tragedies are still happening in pockets all over the world. And that is scary and heartbreaking, but I think we have come far as humans because I know it used to be a lot worse, A LOT. Just by studying history as a kid.
We have evolved, and we know about all of the big, atrocious events happening everywhere. I choose to see this as a good thing. But we must keep perspective to avoid doomsday philosophy. As long as there is no apathy, we'll be okay. As long as we keep waking our hearts, igniting compassion, the world will continue to get better.
The number of nonprofits and foundations and charities has risen more than anything. People want to help now. The world is not falling apart, it is coming together.
Consider it. Love always wins.