There is no such thing as a perfect world here or anywhere else especially when it is inhabited by a species that thinks that it can survive at the cost of all that surrounds it.
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
This is true if you can behold what you are looking at while accepting that it can’t be perfect in the true sense of the earthly word.
We might be living in history’s most peaceful era, with violence of all kinds – from deaths in wars to mass shootings, streets stabbings, in a world as interconnected and algorithmically driven that it could simply spiral out of control with an invisible virus that could kill untold numbers worldwide.
In some sense, unlike our precedents who had gods for everything, from Wars to Famines we live a great deal of our lives in a reality of only what is visible but there is more and more becoming invisible.
If all this were really true, it would suggest that an overwhelming proportion of the energy we dedicate to debating the state of humanity – all the political outrage, the warnings of imminent disaster, the exasperated op-ed columns, all our anxiety and guilt about the misery afflicting people all over the world – is wasted.
This is not an irrational thought.
Perhaps we should have or will have enough good reason to assume things will continue to improve but when you live in a world where everything seems to be getting better, yet it could all collapse tomorrow, “it’s perfectly rational to be freaked out,” by COVID-19.
It wasn’t so long ago that dogs gnawed at the abandoned corpses of plague victims in the streets of European cities.
With countries now endeavoring to kick start their economies, lurking behind everything else is our collective inability to act as one, to appreciate or understand that we all live on the same planet with all of its invisibility.
Rational optimism holds that the world will pull out of the current crisis, but what if it’s the very strength of democracy – and our complacency about its capacity to withstand almost anything – that augurs its eventual collapse.
We have created – the very engine that is so complex, volatile, and unpredictable that catastrophe might befall us at any moment. If it happens no one will remember the internet.
The worlds we live in are now so self-centered that we see charities begging to save everything from donkeys to starving children, all saturated in a media-era, that is constantly misleading us, with an advertising industry promoting unsustainable consumption for profit.
Digital technology has unquestionably helped fuel a worldwide surge in economic growth but it has turned us into digital slaves detached from a genuine knowledge of how our world works and concern for the future.
In these hyper-connected times, our addiction to bad news just leads us to vacuum up depressing or enraging stories from across the globe, whether they threaten us or not, and therefore to conclude that things are much worse than they are.
We live now in the Age of the Take, in which a seemingly infinite supply of blog posts, opinion columns, books, and TV talking heads compete to tell us how to feel about the news. (Including this blog.)
While the usual intractable political disagreements about the state of the planet improvements in sanitation and life expectancy we can’t prevent rising sea levels from destroying your country.
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise:
The internet economy is fuelled by attention, and it’s far easier to seize someone’s attention with emotionally charged argument than mere information – plus you don’t have to pay for the expensive reporting required to ferret out the facts.
Or, worse, is the internet with its social media platforms now counterproductive, insofar as a belief that things are irredeemably awful seems like a bad way to motivate people to make things better, and thus in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The point is that if something does go seriously wrong in our societies, it’s really hard to see where it stops.
We are not merely ignorant of the facts; we are actively convinced of depressing “facts” that aren’t true.
You might argue that comparing the present with the past is stacking the deck.
Of course, things are better than they were. But they’re surely nowhere near as good as they ought to be.
Humanity indisputably has the capacity to eliminate extreme poverty, end famines, or radically reduce human damage to the climate. But we’ve done none of these, and the fact that things aren’t as terrible as they were in 1800 is arguably beside the point.
If you start from the fact that plague victims once languished in the streets of European cities, it’s natural to conclude that life these days is wonderful. But if you start from the position that we could have eliminated famines, or reversed global warming, the fact that such problems persist may provoke a different kind of judgment.
They’d say, the world’s getting better, but it doesn’t feel like that around here.
For people to feel deeply uneasy about the world we inhabit now, despite all most indicators pointing up, seems to be reasonable, given the relative instability of the evidence of this progress, and the [unpredictability] that overhangs it.
And I would say, ‘Yes, but this isn’t the whole world!
Should we be a little bit cheered by the fact that really poor Africans are getting a bit less poor? There is a sense in which this is a fair point. But there’s another sense in which it’s a completely irrelevant one.
When we don’t see the progress we have made, we begin to search for scapegoats for the problems that remain.
Progress isn’t inevitable, progress is problem-solving but not problem solving that addresses the whole problem.
Everything really is pretty fragile and it is now beyond a doubt that the world is going into an economic depression. The pandemic has exposed our failings in many ways with the need to reverse that last four decades of the prevailing policies of growth at any cost.
Observations alone, however, will not bring transformation.
God forbid we should be naive to think that once ideas are discussed and made popular they will permeate policymaking and bring about change. In reality in a pandemic it is more than likely with a world economic depression the first thing that happens is not a radical reengineering of the economy.
What happens is, what is dispensable, how many death can we afford before the economy suffers? Is the loss of life at a level acceptable to big business and the government?
So we will for the foreseeable future lurch forward with broken economies while millions are made scapegoats. Yes, your data will be centralized. The data doesn’t lie. Just look at the numbers, whatever happens, things could always, in principle, have been worse.
If we are not vigilant history shows, that whatever horrors the crises expose they will be covered up in the shattered aftermath.
It took millions and millions of lives to win your freedom so why should we give it up to AI apps that are non-transparent, non-regulated, owned by you-know-who.
To save lives Yes. To control lives NO.
We should look at things like climate change and nuclear war and pandemics as problems to be solved, not apocalypses in waiting. But they aren’t newsworthy. And you’ll rarely see a headline about a bad event that failed to occur.
Nature might be healing and the green deal looks like to way to go but a sustainable world requires that we address the world as a whole not just piecemeal solving one problem after another.
There can be no sustainability with economies that don’t have their activities vetted against the knock-on effects they have on the whole ecosystem of our planet.
Can this be achieved?
As I have said our problem is that we humans cannot act as one or see ourselves as a whole, inhabiting a planet that is interconnected to each and every one of us.
We will never be able to do so.
How do we overcome this problem before the damage may not be repairable?
It has to achieve by invisibly means and on a sufficiently long timescale.
There is no reason with the computer power now at our disposal that we could not tap into the greed( profit for profit sake) by placing a world Aid commission of 0.005% on all activities that are not contributing to the health of our planet. ( See previous posts)
Frankly, we have the knowledge so our prevailing mood of despair is irrational, and a bit self-indulgent.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin