You’d think I’d be more cynical as I’m waking up. But right now, I’ve got the sound of a slightly balkanised cover of Sound + Vision by David Bowie marching it’s way through my barely living brain.
It’s all a matter of perspective. But in truth, I have hope.
It’s much easier to be pessimistic, and probably much safer (cf Election Night 2010, aka, the night I decided never to have hope again). It’s simpler to look back with nostalgia and look at today and see nothing but problems. And lets be honest here, we are currently looking at a world absolutely brimming with corruption, idiocy, selfishness and violence.
The world is structured to fuck people over. The patriarchy is rolling along finding new ways to keep people down. Rampant late stage capitalism is still proving flexible enough to survive the very things that should be shattering it. Our leaders are bending over backwards to maintain the status quo, whilst trying to destroy anything that might make significant lasting change to the inequalities in the world.
Shit. I’m talking about money aren’t I.
You know what’s getting better? Music.
Sure, we don’t have a new Beatles. But the truth is we don’t need one. We already had the Beatles. And right now, there’s a greater proliferation of music of more variety than I think there’s ever been for. Genres are cross pollinating at a speed it’s almost impossible to keep track of. Markets for maufactured, simplified music are being destroyed as people seek out more interesting and more different things. Sure lots of it’s rubbish, but why should that matter wen there’s so much good stuff out there. And when it’s so easy to find new niches.
And in fact, this is the key to things getting better. Even if the potential isn’t realised fully yet.
Two things are increasing constantly. These two things may be the things that save us.
First of all, the sum total of knowledge is increasing. I am learning every day, and so is every one else. There’s a lot of overlap, but there’s also a lot of very clever people that are learning things I couldn’t even imagine. Scientists are pressing forward, learning how birds see magnetic fields, how the universe vibrates together, and what we’re here for.
Second of all, it is getting easier to contact everyone. It’s getting easier to share that extra knowledge. The world is shrinking, as the internet expands. It’s possible to have friends on the other side of the world. It’s possible to read research papers being done by strangers in institutions miles away.
You don’t have to hang around with me for long to realise that I think that just about anything can be overcome by minds ready to learn communicating honestly.
We aren’t there. But these seem like irresistible trends.
The trick is, to keep breathing. Keep learning, and keep talking. Keep writing and sharing and reading and trying to understand.
We’ll get there.
Illustration by Adam.