Are things getting better or worse? Not money, more important things than that.

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.

Much better.

Illustration by Adam.

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About Alabaster Crippens

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Illustrations by Adam, Questions by Anna M. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Are things getting better or worse? Not money, more important things than that.

  1. Dan James says:

    The fundamental problem is the question. Are things getting better or worse makes no difference, it just shows up the self-centred nature of the human condition. Wanting stuff. You might want the world to be kinder, safer, more eco-friendly, more this or more that. The World may do what you want and it may not.

    For some it gets better, maybe someone who has just landed a job they always wanted. For others it gets worse, say a father who loses his family in the floods in Pakistan. It is just the way things are neither improving nor getting worse.

    The issue remains – that we humans believe and are brought up to think the World should be fair, and therefore go on to ask question like ‘are things getting better’ .. read .. is the world behaving according to my belief system or not.

    The only way to deal with the experiences life will present to you is to neither accept nor reject anything, at that point you can become present to your experience, free of want and with the ability to change out of emotional patterns that make the full experience of existence impossible.

    True compassion will only exist inside you when your preferences don’t lock you inside fog.

    • This kind of sounds a little like burying your head in the sand so that you can get on with your own life. This seems immensely more self centred than trying to make the world better for people.

      Of course people’s experiences of the world are going to be different. And of course there are going to be inequalities. But if the only way for me to be happy and fulfilled is to ignore the suffering of others, then I am not on board for feeling happy.

      Imposing your belief system upon other people is entirely different from trying to fix the things that are broken in the world. The key is to do one without the other. The best way to do this is to live kindly and carefully, respectfully and positively. And to communicate. Openly and honestly, across all boundaries, and to listen to actively listen to people you disagree with.

      That’s where compassion stems from. Not from giving up hope for a better world.

      Thanks much for comments, apologies if I seem a bit argumentative, but I do disagree. As you can see.

  2. Dan James says:

    No worries …

    Your original points said that things are getting better because of Increasing knowledge and improved speed of communications. You stated a bias towards people who don’t fuck people over … the world is brimming with corruption, idiocy, selfishness and violence.

    I was just trying to point out that if you act with this in your mind you make it impossible to move into a full experience of the world around you. It’s a bit like comic books – Would the Joker exist if Batman didn’t exist. If you take one side you create the other they aren’t mutually exclusive. They are dependant on each other.

    To quote Castaneda “When a man learns to see, he realises that he can no longer think about the things he looks at, and if he cannot think about what he looks at everything becomes unimportant. Everything is equal and therefore unimportant.”

    In other words he cares for everything by caring for nothing, in my opinion that is true compassion.

    Chang Tzu said “happiness is the absence of striving for happiness” Do we make the world more broken by implying it is broken in the first place?

  3. flyingrowan says:

    Not to deviate too much, this is an interesting discussion, but the original question reminded me of John Cooper Clarke – Things Are Gonna Get Worse

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