How can you not be optimistic? We live in interesting times of fantastic change and huge opportunity. Naysayers and grumps seem to always find things to complain about but even in these difficult times the overwhelming message is one of hope.
In large part this is because we see the problems, sometimes for the first as problems. And once we accept there is something that we need to address we can get stuck in and make the change that will create a better world. And it is getting better - albeit something of a hiccup now due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, and the war in Ukraine, and China's totalitarian swing. But that these are outliers is a cause for optimism.
We accept that Russia's war is unjust - even Russia refuses to call it a war. The outpouring of resources and mutual support that COVID has brought forth is a testament to a paradigm shift in how we accept and see one another. And China's rulers have embraced the opportunity that COVID presents to crack down on its population because at other times it would not be accepted. And even the sabre rattling, real and threatened, that Russia and China take part in is an indication that they need to resort to nationalism to shore up shakier support. In free and fair elections could these regimes remain in power?
I do imagine a better world - one where the amazing resources and technology of China is used for good around the world, and one where Russia's creativity and artistic population is free to engage fairly everywhere. Marginalised countries that are open to democracies demonstrably do better, and are supported by other countries of a similar mind. When the naysayers are in power they spout negativity in order to spread Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. I'm no Poly-Anna - but I can see the glimmer of a better world, a can-do world, that is fairer and more equitable.
In free democracies we're addressing problems, acknowledging that we can do better, and generally getting on with it. And it's a feature of democracies that the path towards that better world is chaotic, winding, full of dissenters needing to be dragged along, and a few sideways distractions and missteps... but surely we can see a general movement forwards. I look to my son, he is living in a better world than the one I grew up in.
When I was his age in 1977, we lived under the threat of nuclear war and a nuclear winter. We knew we lived within the blast radius of a large military presence in my city. All of Eastern Europe was firmly under a totalitarian regime, and I would tune in during the evening on the shortwave radio and hear Mandarin spoken... though perhaps the Gang of Four was on trial by then and Mao was gone... China was still a backward country.
The inflation rate in 1977 was 15%, and unemployment was rising. Sleeping Dogs was a popular image of how New Zealand might develop into a dystopian police state, and the UK's entry into the EEC meant that our balance of trade was deteriorating. New Zealand had caused a boycott of the 1976 Olympics following an All Blacks tour of South Africa - still in the grips of apartheid.
It was a much grimmer time - the future is brighter for my son. Don't get me wrong - we have challenges. But I'm optimistic for the future because we acknowledge our problems and knock them off. We do a better job of it... and, ironically, an increasing population helps us as we activate more smart minds to develop solutions.
I promise to post more positive articles - and to present solutions. Doom and gloom is not my mindset - but forward and upward. And I hope to start the Building Science section soon to explicate this directly.
Have a happy weekend. I know I will.