There’s a lot of ugliness in the world these days. Always has been, though I think you’d be forgiven if it seemed like there was more now than their used to be. A whole lot is wrong with the world. Some people have said we’re at a tipping point, and maybe so.
But I also know that we live very much in a golden age. A few weeks ago, my mother left for Scotland, to move there with my sister and my nephew. A few decades ago, that would mean hearing from her not a few times a year, likely through the mail. Maybe a phone call once or twice, probably at major life events,
Now, I talked to her on Skype the day she got there. Thanks to Skype, and G-chat, and any of a few dozen other programs that exist, we can ensure casual contact be maintained. My father tells my nephew bedtime stories every day, despite the Atlantic being between them. With the help of Netflix and other streaming systems, my sister and I can continue to watch the same shows and stay in touch on the same cultural touchstones.
Beyond this personal experience, we have texting, streaming, and nigh-limitless information. The internet’s promise has been realized in so many ways, and then some, and it continues to deliver more. With a site like Wikipedia, the vast sum of human knowledge is available for casual reading.
And this isn’t limited to the privileged few in the first world. Nations across the globe are catching up at a startling rate. Areas marked and marred by poverty still have connections to the outside world and those connections are growing and strengthens. Regimes toppled thanks to Twitter.
The world is drawing closer together and interconnecting like never before. In fact, some of the horrors we see day-to-day on our news feeds are the result of that interconnectivity; we can see the horrors that have always existed. Only now, we’re all close enough that we’re starting to wake up to it.
There’s a lot of bad out there, to be sure. But don’t forget, there is a lot of good too.