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Do people really not understand how good things are?

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One thing which has bothered me as much as anything about the right wing populist uprising this year is that if people could even remember to 100 short years ago, literally zero of what they see as their daily life to which they're entitled even existed.

Your smartphone wakes you up in the morning. Before you leave bed, you read news, or in many cases, "news", delivered to you from any number of sources of your own choosing. Your furnace kicked on 10 minutes before your alarm went off, so the house is warm. You take a hot shower while the coffee finishes brewing automatically, then drive to work at the fast food restaurant, or the global superstore, or the web startup, genomics company, solar power plant, nuclear power plant, or a gas station.

Maybe after work you watch a movie, probably you sit and watch TV and browse the Internet on your phone or laptop. Maybe you flew on a plane today. Maybe you have been in space. A rapidly dwindling handful of you have walked on the surface of the moon.

You couldn't do a single one of these things 100 years ago. Even 50 years ago much of what even our poorest take for granted would even have been in the grasp of a squarely middle class family. A 3000 sq ft house would have been ridiculous even in the '80s. Most "middle class" people I know have that size house.

Even 20 years ago you would get good news from a handful of very trustworthy sources. Even the Discovery channel had actual science shows, The Learning Channel had things you could learn. Arts and Entertainment had arts, and entertainment.

You literally can curate any belief you might have because enough other people out there share that belief. 100 years ago, there might have been the same rough percentage of lunatic fringe anti-vax conspiracy nut jobs, but they'd be isolated and so wouldn't have nearly the impact they have on the overall dialog as they do now. Now we can instantly have someone with the beliefs of Alex Jones amplified far enough to have had that guy meet and interview the President of the United States as his comfortable and complimentary guest.

We as a species went from zero to one thousand in the blink of an eye, and all this interconnectedness and global insight has done is bring our worst paranoid delusions to the leadership of the species and throw it all away.

Great going, fellow ants.



Blog | by Dr. Radut