The spectacular now

I’m reading Steven Pinker’s new book, Enlightenment Now. He makes the compelling case that the world has never been better for humans than right now.

In, say, 200,000 years of human history we have never seen such low levels of violence, crime, war, disease, or famine.

In 1800, the average life expectancy was less than 40 and had been that or lower for millennia. These last two centuries have seen amazing breakthroughs that have given us dramatically longer lives and better quality of life as well.

If you just read the news or social media, you would think we’re doomed. The news business has a financial interest in keeping you worried and tuned in and clicking links.

But zoom out to take in the big picture and you will see we are very fortunate to be alive right now.

Sure there are challenges to confront and puzzles to figure out, but there is abundant cause for hope that we can keep trending up as a species.