Ready For Some Good News?

Many of us have felt a need to turn away from the harshness of a never-ending news cycle filled with disappointing, fearful, and catastrophic stories. To be certain, there is much that needs our attention, problem-solving, and action. Yet, sometimes it can be wise to step back from the edge of the abyss and look at the long view, the overall landscape.

Someone who illustrates the actual progress of humanity in the big picture is Stephen Pinker.

Steven Pinker is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time, and The Atlantic, and is the author of eleven books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature, The Sense of Style, and most recently, Enlightenment Now.

Some people call Professor Pinker’s message "comfort history," yet a little comfort in challenging times can put some wind in our sails when we feel anchored in negativity or hopelessness. Public belief is that the world is in bad shape, or as some say it, "going to hell in a hand basket."

Pinker offers 15 different measures of human wellbeing to support the idea that life has improved for most people on earth—and also acknowledges we still have much more to do. 

People worldwide used to live an average of 30 years and now that number is closer to 70 or 80--and they are healthier overall. Thirty years ago there were 23 wars; today there are 12. In 1988, there were 60,780 nuclear arms; today there are 10,325. Child mortality has decreased a hundredfold. Two hundred years ago, 90% of the world lived in extreme poverty; today that number is less than 10%. Literacy around the world has increased exponentially.

Though we’ve had some setbacks in democracy with an increase in authoritarian populism, the world has never been more democratic than in the past decade—and we are safer overall than at any time in history. 

We’ve heard it said that what we focus on the most expands. Sticking our heads in the sand about troubles in the US and those of our sisters and brothers around the globe, does not serve anyone. Yet putting all of our attention on negativity prevents us from experiencing and expanding what good there truly is. 

Let’s breathe into this moment and acknowledge humanity’s triumphs—and keep sailing in the direction of creating more of those triumphs for more people, for all of life, and for our earth. Let’s be the good news.

Love and blessings for a great week,
Dawn Morningstar

PS To trust your intuition and bring your wisdom to life in meaningful ways, join your Venerable Women community for:

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