When I was a senior in college, I took a politics course, entitled “The Way the World Works.” On the first day of class, the professor had us divide up into groups and debate the following: are people innately good or are people innately bad? As quiet as I was, I found myself in quite the fierce battle between myself and the three gentlemen in my group, who were all convinced that humans were inherently evil. When the professor brought the class back together, I was tired and frustrated from arguing. Certainly someone else could pick up my crusade in the full class discussion so the introvert that I am could relax. But then, he asked us to raise our hands for which side we thought had won the debates. The entire class had been convinced that people are evil. Myself and the professor were the only people who disagreed.
The other night, over dinner, my mother said, “I think the world is the worst off it’s ever been.” In some ways, I can see how it’s easy to say that. 2014 was certainly a year for scary news: ebola, the abduction of schoolgirls from Nigeria, instability in Gaza and Crimea, racial unrest in the US, and quite an array of national and international terrorism. Yet, I still disagree. To explain, I will defer to Mr. Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was a favorite show when I was a young child):
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers- so many caring people in this world.”
In other words, bad things are going to happen, but the way I know that the world is an ok place because when bad things happen, more people step up to help than there are that caused the situation in the first place.
And if you’re still not convinced the world is an ok place, watch this commercial from a Thai life insurance company:
Suggested Reading: 26 Charts That Show the World is Getting Much, Much Better