Will the Future be That Bad?
Will the future be that bad and was the past a better time for us than today? Well, people tend to think that everything in the past was must better. The world was saver, the food was healthier and the environment was much cleaner. At the same time the future is something to be afraid of. Especially new technological inventions can cause fear. When the first steam locomotives appeared many people predicted bad things going to happen. Cows grazing along the tracks would give sour milk and people who travelled by train would finally end up in a mad house. Not so long ago the cellphone came on the market. For many people bad news because cellphone radiation would cause brain tumors.
GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) makes Sick?
Meanwhile we know that these predictions were absolute nonsense. And although we know we still have people around us who predict bad things are going to happen as soon as a scientific discovery is made.
We all would get the worst diseases by eating gene manipulating food for instance. To be fair, this might be the case after eating it during 50 years. But we don't know this yet. Nevertherless would it be a good reason to stay away from it until this food is provenly 100% save although nobody has turned sick due to gene manipulated food until this very day.
Another example: not one single person has been launched to Mars or the forums on the internet are filled with warnings about all the disasters that could happen while colonizing Mars.
Will the Future be That Bad?
Why is it that we people want to see danger in the so called unknown future?
Why is it that we use to see danger to see in the future and why are we afraid for it? The reason lies in a tiny part of our brain: the amygdala. This "warning centre" can manage the secretion of chemicals like adrenalin and cortisol throughout the brain and body. Centuries ago, having or not having information about threats around us could mean the difference between death or life. So, in the time our ancestors were nomads, when from every side a deathly threat could show up, this amygdala was, even more than in modern life, a very important warning centre.
Important today or not, we still have an amygdala and it still works.
Marketing and the Media use Fear
Marketers know very well how to take advantage of this warning centre. Bad stories fill the news and in the Corona crisis people were told to buy all kinds of "quack cures" that would protect against the virus.
Newspaper publishers and other media also use this "fear instrument". A newspaper bringing only good news would be broke in no time. Because bad news is what people do remember. Who of us can't tell the story behind the 2 pictures below?
The question now is:
Is our time really as bad as many people say?
Let's look at some numbers and give the answer yourself:
It's not that bad at all, actually. Some more numbers:
Many people are afraid of the unknown. People in other countries from different cultures, with other believes and social habits are potential threads. We have to be honest, sometimes these threads are real. We can't deny what happened on 2001/09/11 or the attack on the USS Cole for instance. Assaults by terrorists from abroad.
Many countries have a specific enemy. USA vs Iran, North vs South Korea, Russia vs Ukraine and Saudi Arabia vs Yemen are just a few examples. The thing is, this fear for "the enemy" is international. Most people in Iran are angry with the USA like most people in the USA are angry with Iran although most Iranian don't know a single US citizen personally and most people in the US don't know an Iranian.
This hostility is mostly fed by politicians and is often spread out over the masses by propaganda. Hostility, made possible due to the fact that the enemy doesn't have a face. We talk about foreigners but not about this man or woman from . . . .
I traveled a lot around the globe. I visited many cultures that, in spite of their differences, have a lot in common. Believe me: most people around the world will be happy when they have a few things: food, water, a home to shelter, peace and a better future (for their children). That's all, the rest is luxury. People around the globe, apart from some blunt idiots, are pretty identical when it comes to their basic needs.
Coca Cola did an experiment in both India and Pakistan giving the enemy a face in both countries. In the video below you can see how people suddenly change their mindset, when they see how human the enemy becomes as soon as he or she gets a face.
You can imagine, that this Coca Cola experiment was only possible due to internet connection in both Lahore and New Delhi. The experiment brought people closer to each other for a moment and closer to peace between their nations. But internet access is important for many reasons and not only for people who have access to it now. It is vital for global humanity. For that we have to tal about global internet.
Why is this so important? Well, first of all, for the obvious reason: to connect everybody on the planet with the internet. Once connected, everybody can have access to all the information he or she needs. Illiteracy can vanish because education will be available for anyone, even in remote areas.
But (global) internet isn't one-directional. Meaning: if 3 billion new people will get internet access, they will not only will get information from the web, but they will also upload information. So, we will hear things we never heard of before. For instance: recipes from every remote corner in the world. We will get new information about how people live off the grid. Jungle tribes will show us how they cure diseases. We will read about delicious and nutritious plants we don't know. So, connecting all the people to the internet will be an incredible enrichment for us all.
I n f o r m a t i o n E v e r y w h e r e
People in the heart of Africa with a smartphone will have access to more information than Bill Clinton had during his presidency. With a smartphone we carry a minicomputer with us being more powerful than the computers in the Apollo rockets that brought people to the moon. Only possible due to Moore's Law.
So, what do you think?
Will the Future be That Bad?
So, we have to be realistic: our quality of life has become much bigger than that of our ancestors. Not in the least due to technological inventions. So, I think this Dutch proverb says it all:
one suffers most of all the suffering he fears
Well then, let's be optimistic and let us try to see how our near future will look like in the next lesson.
Let us die young,
as late as possible.