Did you know that only 6% of Americans think that the world is getting better? That’s an astonishingly bleak view for a country to have, but can you really blame us? Turn on the news. You’d think we were in the middle of an apocalypse, with the endless 24-hour cycle of murder, disaster, and mass mayhem that we are subjected to on a constant basis. It is really easy to feel like all of society is on the brink, and we’re just waiting for the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
However, let’s take a step back from the hysteria that so easily floods our social media pages. If we look at things objectively, we begin to see that the exact opposite is true. Indeed, while it can be easy to wear rose-colored glasses and look at the past, the truth is that things are tangibly better now than they’ve ever been. Indeed, the only time you could argue that it was better to be alive, on average, hasn’t existed yet. Here are several reasons why now is absolutely the best time there’s ever been to be alive…
Poverty is at an all time low
There are several things that every human being needs to survive: food, shelter, and water. These are basic, primal needs. However, we haven’t always been the best at making sure our entire species is well-fed. Indeed, hunger and poverty have historically been very high. If you look back as recently as 1980, the World Bank’s measure for poverty showed that 45% of the planet’s population lived in extreme poverty. That’s nearly half of all people who lived in poverty! Today, that number is 9%, and continues to shrink, thanks to modern developments in agriculture and distribution.
Human longevity is higher
Most people like being alive. You could say that we live for it. If you would like to live for longer periods of time, rather than less, than you’re very much in luck if you are alive today. If we look back only a century, to 1900, the life expectancy for the average person in the world was 31 years old. Think about how close 31 is! Or how long ago it was! Well, that was the average age that people were leaving this mortal coil. Due to scientific advancements in medicine that have eradicated many major diseases and made them practically irrelevant, the average life expectancy, worldwide, is 71 years old! That’s more than double in 117 years!
There is less war than ever
As we said above, it is easy to think that there is an endless cycle of violence that is ripping human civilization apart, as we know it. However, this viewpoint is extremely irresponsible, when you consider the actual numbers of war and violence in the world. It is true that there is still a great amount of violence in the world, and the fight for peace has a long way to go before it can ever be achieved, we actually kill each other much less than we ever have. When you consider the lives lost in both World Wars, and the frequency of wars between advanced nations that occurred before then, it is amazing to see that there hasn’t been a major war between industrialized countries since then.
We’re addressing growing problems
None of this is to say that there aren’t still major problems in the world. By nature of what human civilization has contributed to the planet, we live in a world of unimaginable destruction and chaos. However, it is also a place of transcendent beauty, and it is a place we are trying to make better, every day. While we have issues that have grown over the years, we are advanced enough to tackle those, as well. A great example of this is the opioid epidemic. While it has grown for the past two decades, many researchers predict that it will finally reach its peak in 2017 before becoming manageable again.