Today’s Lesson: It’s better than it looks. Really.
Scrolling through my social media feed, you would think the world is coming to an end tomorrow–war, blight, social injustice, environmental ruin, non-renewable energy depletion, terrorism, conspiracies, corruption, inequality, and educational bankruptcy.
Why bother living? Why not just follow lemmings off a cliff (quickly, before the cliff erodes away)?
It is easy to be bullied into the media frenzy and the melodrama of friends, media, family, and peers, but there is no reason to panic. We are in perhaps the most optimistic and hopeful time ever. The world is not falling apart. It is coming together like never before.
No one knows how everything will play out in the future (and I suppose that can be scary) but consider this:
- We are close to solving War. Up until the last half-century, war was horrendous. Both soldiers and civilians were killed in brutal ways, without precision or empathy. War is still horrible (and unfortunately still exists), but we live in the most peaceful time in human history. War is more humanitarian than ever. Much of it is fought with technology, aid is offered during and after conflicts, and casualties are limited as much as possible. There is not the pervasive and permeating fear of a Red State taking over like there was in the eighties, or the fear of a nuclear World War Three (which was a common thread into the nineties). Despite terrorism and religious zealousy, we are closer than ever to solving the problem of war, with peace accords, trade, and social movements.
- We are close to solving hunger. With biochemistry, genetic modification, and 3-D printing, we might soon be able to create food at will, anywhere, anytime. Star Trek much? (note: I know the title of the post is from Star Wars–it seemed more appropriate…don’t nerd rage me, please.)
- We are close to solving aging. The human genome has been mapped. As science brings us closer to understanding how human DNA works and technology provides novel ways to “back-up” the human brain, we may, within a generation, launch life expectancy to at least 200 years. As cloning technology becomes cheaper and more efficient, life expectancy could launch to 800 years or more. Imagine a body that can perform as well at age 500 as it could at age 25! If you accidentally walked in front of a bus on your 600th birthday, your consciousness could be downloaded from the last time it was backed up a few minutes earlier, and placed into a new body. You could pick up where you left off!
- We are close to solving the burden of transportation. Driving is an amazing tool but as population increases and more cars congest the roads, driving is a burden for many of us. It is dangerous, troublesome, and inefficient. That will change soon with driverless cars. You can meditate or nap on your way to work, never worry about drunk drivers, and spend your driving time writing that novel you always wanted to write.
- We are close to solving interplanetary travel. Private space flight is on the edge of being real and accessible to the masses. Citizen excitement for space flight will fuel a new space race, opening up funding for the most important goal humanity has (if you ask me): colonizing another planet and doubling our chance for long-term survival. Even if one planet is destroyed by nuclear war or a random asteroid, the other planet will carry on the human race, proliferating and finding new life to partner with as we journey further into the cosmos.
- We are close to solving resources. Solar power is real today and every year there are huge advances in the ways and methods with which we can escape or enhance the infrastructure of oil. Battery technology continues improving and nanotechnology is showing promise to help us do more with less power. Not to mention exotic new materials like nano-carbon and resistive memory chips.
There are so many promising things on the horizon, I could go on for many more paragraphs but you have the idea. There will always be people who are fearful of change or insist everything is “gloom and doom”… but you do not have to be one of them.
The world has never been cooler than it is now. Some of the scenarios I mentioned will work. Some might never come to fruition. Some will happen sooner than others. Most will probably look different from we imagine. Today, though, is great because today… they all can happen. The groundwork has been laid and they all have the potential of existing, along with so much more.
The next time you are scrolling through FaceBook or Twitter and clicking every HuffPo piece of disaster-porn click-bait, think about this:
Choose the world you wish to live in: “Woe is me…” or “Whoa–that’s me!”
As always, choose wisely.