It’s a challenging time to be an optimist

CHINA VIRUS, CLIMATE CHANGE, POVERTY, NATURAL DISASTER AND HOPE

Steve Ramsey, PhD -Public Health, MSc-(hon) in Med Ultrasound.RMSKS.

Steve Ramsey, PhD

It’s a challenging time to be an optimist. Canada and many part of the worlds are in deficit, recession and many business filed for bankruptcies, many workers lost their jobs, some committed suicide and some divorced due to the China virus problem. While the Chinese communist party getting richer and prosperous, and blaming the US for this evil virus.

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Delta variant virus is on the rise and after that another variant will surface for sure as the US and China trade war keep going and the world will pay the price for it with their life’s and the destruction of the world economy , some point the finger on India for the rise of the delta virus and those who travel with it and infected others.

Another problem we are facing is the Climate change, it is wide spreading, rapid and intensifying. The threat of nuclear war is more complex and unpredictable than ever, especially with Iran refusing to stop enrich uranium. Authoritarianism is resurgent. And these dangers were present even before we were beset by a historic pandemic.

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Nevertheless, in a 2016 piece for wired magazine, the then US president Barack Obama wrote (with characteristic optimism): ‘The truth is, if you had to choose any time in the course of human history to be alive, you’d choose this one. Right here in America, right now.

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’ LOL, Do you know who created ISIS the terrorist , it was Obama and the democratic party with the help of Iran, Israel and some other countries to flesh the terrorists in the open and kill them by using fake leaders , spies and 5th state groups that was and still are paid by the US . Later some Isis members split and made big headache for the US.

Exactly what Israeli did before the Created Hamas terrorists group and helped them out with weapons and money but some Hamas members took over and split killed others and made it worse terrorists group ever in that region .

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The following year, in his book C’était mieux avant! (‘It was better before!’), the French philosopher Michel Serres lauded the successes of science and reason while playfully mocking our tendency to view the past through the rose-tinted and selective lenses of nostalgia.

Serres reminds us that ‘before’ there were more work, in more difficult conditions, with less support from technology. There was poor sanitation and less effective healthcare. There was more conflict, more violence. The ‘good old’ days’ were, perhaps, not so good compared with the present.

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The Canadian psychologist Steven Pinker would defend a similar view just a year later in his book Enlightenment Now. The idea that the world is getting worse, he argued, is misguided, ‘not just a little wrong – wrong, flat-Earth wrong’. The bible and the Quran already mentioned that long time ago that this earth going from bad to worse until the 2nd coming of Jesus, and others who will be along side of him  but no one is listening.

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Some might acknowledge that things have improved dramatically and still be more circumspect about our current situation and future prospects. The Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari agrees with Pinker, but thinks he paints an incomplete picture: ‘Things for humans are better than ever,’ he said in conversation with Pinker in 2019.

‘Things are still quite bad. And things can get much, much worse.’ All those qualifiers are important: ‘for humans’ (consider the Sixth Mass Extinction), ‘quite bad’ (consider COVID-19), ‘much, much worse’ (consider climate change). And, to be fair, Pinker’s argument is that things have improved, not that things will necessarily continue to improve in the future.

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More importantly, while historical advances should be celebrated, they can, if we’re not careful, distract us from dealing with difficult facts; and failing to come to terms with these difficult facts can prevent us from living well. When we look at the human condition, what things are more or less certain, whether we are rich or poor, young or old, most obviously death? In addition, there is the inevitability of suffering – both for us and, more disturbingly, for our loved ones.

These things weigh on the consciousness of most people at some point. Many people experience the aching aloneness of life, our inability to ever fully communicate our experience to others or understand theirs. And despite various forms of progress, rampant injustices remain, even for those of us lucky enough to live in relatively stable societies.

Of course, all else being equal, more life is a good thing. So is less poverty and less violence. But no matter how many extra years of life medical technology buys us, if a person is living a life she feels to be meaningless – or meaningful in a shallow way – extra years of life do not translate into extra years of satisfaction, much less fulfillment or joy.

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Many live life of broken dreams, distracted by wars and famine, flood and starvations, fire and disasters, mafia and dictatorial governments such is in China, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and others.

We know this is true on some abstract level, but we have a hard time facing up to it or understanding it. Instead, most people stumble through life coping with the darker side of reality through some mixture of ignorance, indifference and avoidance.

Perhaps the most compelling example of a person who fails to give the difficult facts of reality their due until it is too late is the protagonist of Leo Tolstoy’s novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886).

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Ivan achieves everything we are taught to desire and pursue: education, social regard, financial stability, professional success. Ivan’s life ‘was most simple and uneventful’, Tolstoy writes, ‘and yet most terrible’. Struck down by a mysterious illness in the prime of life, Ivan comes to recognize that his life, obsessed as it

The point is not to give in to despair or to dwell obsessively on the ways in which reality is not what it could be. That is no more advisable than closing one’s eyes to the world’s flaws. The point, rather, is to give reality its due. When we do, we find more than just catastrophe. If open eyes allow us to see the shipwrecks of the world more clearly, they also show us something else. As the author Annie Dillard observes in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974):

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Yes, the world is full of suffering, marked by death, rent by entropy; but it is also, equally undeniably, filled with beauty, wonder and opportunities for love and compassion. And we ought to actively acknowledge both facts. Companies making more and more robots to replace human at the work force and adding more stress to us.

In the end, both the optimist and the pessimist have it wrong, because each is looking at only part of the evidence. When we open our eyes to the fullness of reality, what we find is a chiaroscuro canvas of both darkness and light. The totality of evidence elicits in us something like ‘melancholic joy’: a grateful and uninhibited joy for the goodness of being, but one tinged by sadness at the pervasiveness of evil and melancholy because it all comes to an end.

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 Seeing the evil in the world helps us to live well while we can, because death is coming for us all, and entropy is gnawing at the fringes of our existence. And seeing the goodness helps us to live gratefully, softening the sting of reality. So the key elements is how to live a kind life, full with love, respect, equality, balance and with peace of mind.

Please visit my blog at www.moleoedia.com

Steve Ramsey, PhD. Central Alberta- Canada

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