Whereas in the past optimism had been regarded as rather shallow — because “oh well, it’s just your temperament, you happen to be just a cheerful sort of person” — what I wanted to do was to establish that in fact it is the pessimists who are allowing all kinds of errors to creep into their work.
What would our buildings and products look like if designers took into account “all children, all species, for all time?”
In fairy-tale justice, as in the deep psyche, kindness to that which seems less is rewarded by good, and refusal to do good for one who is not beautiful is reviled and punished. When we enlarge ourselves to touch the not-beautiful, we are rewarded. If we spurn the not-beautiful, we are severed from life and left out in the cold.
Matt Ridley gave a talk at the Long Now Foundation’s Seminar of Long Term Thinking called “Deep Optimism”. Ridley is the author of a recent book, The Rational Optimist, where he makes the case that human culture was created not by language (conventional wisdom) but by the exchange of ideas. That’s a useful theory, but not upsetting. Much more provocative and powerful is Ridley’s larger thesis that progress is real, enduring, widely spread, and for the near future, unlimited. In other words, civilization as a whole is (and has been) experiencing real progress, in most dimensions, and for most people, not just the privileged. And further, this goodness shows no signs of stopping.
Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as “blessings” and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry.
For example “Free Energy” by Free Energy or “Mr Blue Sky” by ELO. What songs make you feel alive and wanting to stay that way?