… pessimism is self-defeating. It feeds on itself, promoting paralysis and more pessimism. It’s a dead end. __ Source
The Human Future Could Be Grand if We Would Let it Be
“As time passes, in the main the human condition improves — and this can be expected to continue,” writes Gregg Easterbrook in his new book “It’s Better than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear.”
Easterbrook presents piles of statistics, describing both the United States and the entire world, to prove that. The share of the world’s population living in “extreme poverty” — defined by the World Bank as no more than $1.90 a day of income — dropped from 37 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2015. Since 1993, U.S. violent crime rates have declined almost 300 percent. (“Central Park after dark now is as safe as Yellowstone Park at noon,” writes Easterbrook.) One 2013 study found that 84% of Americans earn more than their parents did. __ Robert Samuelson in Real Clear Markets
Easterbrook joins Steven Pinker and a range of other clear-headed optimists from Matt Ridley to Peter Diamandis to Bjorn Lomborg to Robert Bryce to Julian Simon to Ray Kurzweil, who have each laid out a variety of roadmaps to an abundant human future.
Global energy supplies seem to be far vaster than was predicted by the doomers of the 1970s. The US has gone from energy dependency and pessimism under Obama, to a world energy superpower under a new administration. With a growing human mastery of advanced nuclear fission — and eventually fusion — the threat of energy scarcity is becoming more boogeyman than real.
Global food production potential is virtually unlimited, and the main industrial threat in the age of robots is perpetual overproduction of cheap and highly reliable goods.
Human science and technology, human medical science and longevity, increases in effective human mastery of the world via advanced computing and robotics — all point to a world of greater abundance and increased life spans.
That is not enough, of course, to bring about an extended abundant and expansive human future. Humans face a massive demographic challenge which threatens the ability of advanced civilisations to maintain their own critical infrastructures long enough to break through to the next level. But if we have the will, persistence, and resilience — if we plan and act wisely and proactively — we can overcome the many obstacles and at the very least create significant networked islands of competence to bridge the gap.
Nihilism is Making a Strong Comeback
Definition of nihilism
1 a : a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless…
b : a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths
2 a : a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility
b capitalized : the program of a 19th century Russian party advocating revolutionary reform and using terrorism and assassination
The last time that nihilism held so strong a grip on intellectuals was in the last half of the 1800s in Russia. Conditions were harsh at the time, and Russian social institutions of the day were completely indifferent to the plight of the impoverished majority. The difference between the nightmare serf’s society of Tsarist Russia of the 1800s, and the relatively affluent and indulgent society of the modern west, calls into question the intellectual driving force behind modern nihilist youth and the flocks of social justice wankers on campuses of universities, media, corporations, and governments. Hint: the destructive modern nihilist movements also receive financial support from billionaires, just as the various “abundant future” movements do.
The more deeply these wankers penetrate governments, media, academia, corporations, foundations, and other cultural institutions, the more difficult it becomes to create an abundant and expansive future.
To combat these stupid drones of doom and destruction, a great deal of thought and invention will be required. But the main effort needs to go into creating the wide open future itself, rather than getting hung up on the idiots of today’s postmodern nihilist left.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. Remember that a Dangerous Childhood prepares for all possibilities. We are bound to see a lot of downs along with the ups. Make your provisions.
A slow realisation of deeper needs and a few of the dark realities lurking on the left. The author would be wise to read and study Jordan Peterson in depth, but pursuing the deeper meanings might cause him to stray too far from the comforts of the mainstream.