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How is the World Getting Better?

It’s all too easy to think that the world was better in the past and that it’s moving in the wrong direction. Indeed, some people go as far as thinking that we’re living in the end of days and that everything would look much rosier if we lived more like, say, we did in the 1950s. This, however, is flawed thinking. By more or less every metric, the world was in much worse shape back then. We’ll talk about why people have this ‘Golden Age’ mentality later on, but first, let’s take a look at some of the many examples why the world is doing better than you probably think. In all likelihood, you’ll feel much better about having been born in this period rather than any point in the past!

Food Issues

It’s all too easy to take some aspects of life for granted. Take, for example, food. It’s probable that you’re not involuntarily hungry all too often, but this has been the case for huge portions of humans for the vast majority of history. Today, the problem isn’t that we don’t have enough food — it’s that we have too much of it. Across the world, more people die from overeating than undereating. This is still a problem, but at least it’s a problem that’s within our control. It’s always worth remembering that in the olden days, you’d have to go out into the wild and find your own food, whereas now you can simply go to the supermarket and pick out what you like.

Better Drinking Water

From time to time, people often say that if they could visit one time period, they’d go back to, say, the 19th century or before. You might go back to the early days of the gold rush, or back in time to see an original Shakespeare performance. While they would be fun experiences if you could do them properly, it’s unlikely that you’d get to enjoy all that much, since you’d find it extremely difficult to get water. Drinking water, in the past, was horrible — it was a common cause of serious illness and death. Today, you’re able to turn on a tap and get clean drinking water. That would blow the minds of people in the past.

Improved Medical Services

There are some fundamental concerns for human beings. Forget the idea of being entertained or whatever; we care about having enough food, water, and our health. If any of those things are compromised, then life can become pretty ugly. Today, we’re lucky to live in an age when medical services are hyper-advanced (although the downside is that not everybody has access to these services). And it’s not just the treatments that have improved, but the all-around experience. Medical practices in the past were akin to torture — now, doctors try to be as gentle as possible and are trained to have a good bedside manner.

Environmental Concerns

The number one argument against the modern age is that we’re living in an age that is causing untold damage to the environment. While many people blame the rise of industrialisation in the 19th and early 20th century for the damage, this isn’t true — the majority of pollution has happened in the past three decades. So that is obviously not good news; it is a mark against us. However, the good news is that people have not accepted this as inevitable. They’re fighting back, in record numbers. Being against climate change is mainstream — there are more people advocating change than there are advocating denial. While we may not have the solutions right now, the rising up of people really is a good sign of things to come.

Greater Access to Education

Knowledge is power, is what they always say, because it’s true. Part of the divisions between classes and other groups has been because one side had access to education, and the other didn’t. And if you don’t receive education early, it’s hard to catch up later on — so there have been generations of inequality, fostered entirely on the education system. Today, we have a greater understanding of the role of education in childhood development, and there are organizations working to improve access to education in disadvantaged regions. There have already been giant strides forward taken, and the magic of these improvements is that they keep on repaying themselves. A person who is educated in infancy will be able to use the skills they’ve learned much later in life, they can educate their children, and so on. It’s a positive ripple effect that doesn’t end.

Tolerant Society

We rightly talk about the rise of hate and intolerance, but there’s another side to modern society, a side that is often overlooked: we actually are living in a tolerant age. It’s just that we give more of a platform to those with other ideas. The average person on the street is a lot more open to other races and ways of being than the average person on the street fifty years ago was. Actually, it’s kind of a miracle just how accepting people are — this has never happened in history. The next time you’re feeling down about the state of the world, just remember that this is the most tolerant society there has ever been, and that it’s only going to keep on increasing.

A Light on Injustices

We can say similar things about injustices. Noone’s going to deny that there are a lot of bad things in the world that we need to tackle, but there are two things to remember about this. The first is that there are fewer injustices than there used to be (there are some that have widened, such as inequality, however), and the second is that while there are injustices, there are people fighting against them. Things like, say, animal rights, human rights, the treatment of migrants, and the like — these are things that people are actively trying to stop, and that’s something that hasn’t happened on this level before. You can point to bad things that happen, sure, but you should also look at the opposition: the loudness of the objection says more about the world than the act.

Living Longer

We’d have to write a whole book if we wanted to talk about what we’re here for, but we can at least talk about our desires pretty concretely. The majority of us want to live as long as possible. And on that front, the world is far better than in the past. The average life is much longer than in previous times, and it’s only going to get better. Indeed, with the rise of technology, they say that a lot of deadly conditions (such as cancer) could be eradicated within the next couple of decades. Even the upper limit that scientists say we cannot pass (which is 120 years old) may be overcome. So if you’re got an eye on living longer, then you’re in the right time in history.

Reduced Crime

It’s an odd thing: people look back at the innocent times of, say, the seventies and eighties with some fondness. They say it was the last time that children could play out without being kidnapped or whatever they say will happen the moment they set foot out of doors in 2019. In actual fact, 2019 is much safer than 1979, and virtually every year too. Violent crime is very low, and indeed, crime, in general, is practically at an all-time low. All-time low! So if you’re one of those people who is against being a victim of a crime (and…that’s everyone), then you’re in the right period.

More Opportunities 

The problem with societies in the past was that all of the opportunity went to the rich and upper classes, which meant there was no opportunity at all. If you wanted to do something, then, well, tough — you couldn’t. Today, it’s much easier to create your opportunity. You can learn coding online, for example, and find a path relatively quickly towards a good income. Music, too, has opened up — you don’t need to wait for a record label exec to tell you you’re good enough, you can just put out your own music when you want. It really is an age of opportunity.

People Are Healthier 

Something else that’s not promoted as much: people are leading healthier lives of their own volition, too. You can look at the sharp decrease in smokers as one example. Youngsters are also drinking less, too. It’s not just in a physical sense, either — mentally, people are better. Well, not exactly, since conditions are through the roof, but they probably always have been. The difference now is that there is help available.

Golden Age Mentality

Why do people think things were better in the past? There are many reasons, but it’s probably a mixture of A. the fact that people only remember the good, and B. a lot of the news really is quite depressing. But it doesn’t tell the whole story!

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