But, in admitting this, we have probably found the open channel.
This is not a new idea; this is the idea of the age of reason. This is the philosophy that guided the men who made the democracy that we live under. The idea that no one really knew how to run a government led to the idea that we should arrange a system by which new ideas could be developed, tried out, and tossed out if necessary, with more new ideas brought in — a trial and error system. This method was a result of the fact that science was already showing itself to be a successful venture at the end of the eighteenth century. Even then it was clear to socially minded people that the openness of possibilities was an opportunity, and that doubt and discussion were essential to progress into the unknown. If we want to solve a problem that we have never solved before, we must leave the door to the unknown ajar."
"OVER THE YEARS we’ve used our cups and bags as a means of sharing our sense of humor, thoughts, and ideas, in both word and design. The Cultivating Thought series continues this tradition, presenting the words and whimsy of thought-leaders, authors and comedians through unique, you’ll-only-find-them-here essays, each illustrated by a different artist. We’re hoping this will allow people to connect with the musings of these writers with whom they may or may not be familiar and create a moment of analog pause in a digital world, provoking introspection or inspiration, and maybe a little laughter."
They certainly got me thinking today.
On my bag today was a two-minute thought by Steven Pinker: http://cultivatingthought.com/author/steven-pinker/
Admittedly, I've grown a bit cynical over the past few years. I get frustrated by stories of death, war, famine, politicking, greed, etc. I have always told myself that they are simply a sign of the times. After all, most of the major world religions offer a vision of the future where things have to get worse before they get better. I've always believed that it's just the way the story is written.
But Mr. Pinker's tone was different. His point was that the numbers say we should be optimistic about mankind's future:
"As it happens, the numbers tell a surprisingly happy story. Violent crime has fallen by half since 1992, and fiftyfold since the Middle Ages. Over the past 60 years the number of wars and number of people killed in wars have plummeted. Worldwide, fewer babies die, more children go to school, more people live in democracies, more can afford simple luxuries, fewer get sick, and more live to old age."
So which is it? Are things getting better, or are things getting worse? How do we measure it? And what are the implications if we were to actually figure out whether things are getting better or worse?
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