While the world is far from perfect, today is a better place for the greatest number of people than at any time in history, regardless of race, gender, or 99% of nationalities.
This is especially true of higher life expectancy and living conditions in every country (including North Korea), less disease-related deaths, total poverty (i.e. checked capitalism usually works), war, dictators, injustices, and crime, and higher education and literacy rates.
You might be tempted to think that ongoing social unrest, COVID, and the Russian-Ukrainian war changed all of that, but you would be wrong. By a wide range of measures, there is simply no better time to be alive than today, even with its drawbacks.
Better yet, the fact that the world has slowly but surely gotten better, means the future will be better too. In fact, there’s no indication that society suddenly stops making social progress as equality improves or reaches a certain threshold.
I don’t mean to be insensitive to any one person or group of people currently going through a tough time. But how can you not like the overall direction we’re headed?
I feel fortunate to have visited 33 countries (plus territories) on six different continents so far.
And yet I’ve only scratched the surface—just 13% of the world’s 200 countries. Furthermore, the above map is grossly skewed. I’ve only visited 70% of America’s states. I’ve yet to visit mainland Asia, the Middle East, and 90% of the rest of Africa. And I’ve visited just one state (New South Wales) of the USA-sized Australia.
Granted, I have no intention of visiting every country on Earth. It doesn’t take that many to realize we’re all the same and that we live on the most beautiful rock in the observable universe. That and I still have a lot I want to do in my own backyard and on repeat trips abroad.
But I do hope to visit all seven continents someday. Not only does distance makes the heart grow fonder, but a change in geography is good at keeping us on our toes.
Love you, Earth.
PS—Airplanes are amazing and travel is overrated for the following reasons.
Credit: National Geographic
What luck we have. Not only were we born on the most marvelous planet in the observable universe—not to mention the only habitable one out of gazillions—but the one we did inherit has seven distinct, magnificent continents.
Picking just one experience from each that best personifies the greater landmass is an impossible job, not to mention totally unfair. But life isn’t fair. Nor is this column. If you need someplace to start when attempting to bag all seven continents, make it one of these iconic and universally well-rated encounters. Continue reading…
I recently finished Highbrow’s excellent 10-day course on inventions that changed the world.
In keeping score, half of the cited inventions quickened the sharing of information (writing, printing press, telephone, personal computer, internet). A third hastened our transportation (steam engine, automobile, airplanes). One marginalizes or maximizes physical dominance, depending on who owns more of it (gunpowder). And the last one lengthens our days (light bulb).
Interestingly, every one of these inventions involve some element of speed. The speed of a bullet. The speed of light. The speed of travel. The speed of knowledge. That’s why the world moves at an increasing rate. Our greatest inventions all involve speed.
Even this century’s greatest inventions largely involve speed. How fast you can get new or old music to your ears (iTunes, Spotify). How fast you can get answers to questions (Google). How fast you can connect with friends and family (Facebook, SMS). And how fast you can see the latest cat videos (YouTube).
Of course, many of these inventions involve size, frequency, and power. But when it comes to bigger, stronger, better, and faster—always bet on faster. It’s the future. And it’s likely what the “next big thing” will do more than others.