Artwork by: Unknown approx. 30,000 BCE
It’s a strange time to be an optimist; most of the western world is convinced that the sky is falling. Whether it’s ISIS or Global Warming or perhaps the third world war with Russia that we’ve all been lamenting since the 1950’s. But are things really as bad as they seem? Or like our ancestors throughout all of history are we suffering from a sort of tunnel vision that always makes our present reality seem like some new peak of violence or prosperity? Usually the former.
I think the whole problem boils down to the simple circuitry in our human minds which assumes that things are exactly as dangerous as we are likely to hear about them. For millions of years that was a pretty safe assumption. But with the invention of written language and then various types of broadcasting this instinct is not just a bit off but needs to be ignored completely. This is because people have a desire to hear and pass on stories; especially those stories that sound completely different than anyone has ever heard before. As a result our danger barometer’s are almost impossible to calibrate by simply comparing stories from around the world. Continue reading