from Positive News
This contribution from the Positive News magazine (in an online newsletter by the above title, 20th April 2023) struck a… positive chord! In a time when news media is full of apocalyptic reports about extinction being closer than ever, one link in particular stands out, entitled: The end isn’t nigh. Why we should be optimistic about the future (Click on the title to go to the article). An excerpt from the beginning of this article:
“Doom has become a profitable industry. Do a quick search for ‘wipe out humans’ and Google will spit out page after page of the-end-is-nigh predictions: ‘Researchers warn artificial intelligence could one day kill everyone’; ‘Study says zombies would wipe out humans in less than 100 days’.
It’s all great Hollywood fodder. Clickable content. But, as the scientist and writer John Hands argues in his latest book The Future of Humankind, when these types of forecasts are tested against their eventual outcomes, they are always disproven – often wildly so… The former University of North London lecturer, has spent the last six years delving into the evidence surrounding the main existential threats to humankind, and offers a different take: we should be more optimistic.”
Historian Rutger Bregman takes up this theme as well in his book, Human kind (pictured here), in which he notes from his research that, when people are asked, they tend to take a negative view of human nature, for instance that if there is a catastrophe — war, earthquake, etc — people will try to loot the shops, look after their own needs, in ‘survival of the fittest’ mode. BUT a study of people’s actual actions showed the opposite, moving him to conclude that humans in reality are cooperative and kind by nature. In an interview with Positive News, Bregman gives a thought provoking observation:
“Throughout history, a cynical view of human nature has always been a legitimisation of power,” Bregman told Positive News. “A hopeful view of human nature leads to institutions with more freedom. Because if people can’t trust each other, then they need powerful people to look over them. But if we can trust each other, we can live in a much more egalitarian, genuinely democratic society.” (Click on the link for the interview with Bregman).
The interview with Bregman from Positive News is from 2020 at the time of his publishing this book, but it is every bit as applicable now, if not even more so than before.
Adults are bombarded with all the terrible news of what humans are doing; children in schools are often having drilled into them all the bad things that we are doing to the world around us, eliciting the feeling in many: better we weren’t even there. Worse, it is adding to the anxieties, depressions and other mental health issues.
Yet the real story is not generally being told, at least in the main media: by and large human beings ARE good, and there IS great hope for the future, BUT… we need to pay attention to real life, the encounters we have with each other each day, to the positives, the beautiful, the hopeful – in short, making our own judgements, and putting out our own positive energies, rather than paying too much attention to what we are being TOLD by media and often government, which revels in negatives and doomsday stories: we are being told what to think, sometimes passing through us unconsciously, whereas we must instead be ourselves, think for ourselves rather than just accept doomsday views, and spread positive words and actions of love and hope.
THAT is what Bregman found many human beings already do, if they are allowed to be, and allow themselves to be…. HUMAN! 🌞