Hurricane Matthew is bearing down on Florida and I feel really lucky. I don’t really feel lucky because Wilmington seems to be out of the major trouble area, I feel lucky to live in the time I do. My partner and I were discussing yesterday how different things would be in we lived during our grandparent’s generation. This storm, as devastating and terrible as it will likely be, would have been 1,000 times worse before modern technology. The residents of Florida didn’t have the warning systems or ability to leave 65 years ago. The death toll could have been in the thousands or tens of thousands but, if we’re lucky, the actual death toll may stay under 100.
I am just really thankful for modern technology and the systems in place that have allowed it to develop. And I’m really excited about future technology.
A storm like this 65 years from now may end up being just a minor inconvenience that causes minimal damage and no death. Or maybe, we will be able to stop the storm before it happens or have the ability to divert it off course (I think that is a bit too optimistic, but who knows?).
I think it is important to keep things in perspective and realize that things really are getting better all over the world. Even during natural disasters we should be optimistic (maybe especially during natural disasters). Things aren’t perfect, there are a lot of things that could be improved in the world, but I see no reason to be long-term pessimistic (short term is different, there are always going to be a couple steps backwards as we run forward).
We only harm ourselves when we focus on the negative and get pulled into the “this country is going to hell in a handbasket” mentality. That simply isn’t true… unless your idea of hell is more peace, longer life span, greater prosperity, and greater equality… I actually know some people who do feel that way. But, for most people, we see that the world is getting better and there is a reason to be optimistic. We just need some perspective to realize that people all over the world (both now and in the past) had it way worse, and someday our grandchildren will look back at our glorious time and think “wow, it must have sucked back then”. I hope they do. I hope life is so amazing in 65 years that the advances of my lifetime seem like the dark ages.