Contented Reader

just point me toward the nearest library

The world is better now than it has ever been. There, I said it.

with 2 comments

Now I’m going to say something so apparently insane that I may strongly resemble the mad scientist in a steampunk comic, right before she pulls the Large Bronze Lever:

I believe in progress.

I think that the world is wonderful, and getting better ever year.  As entertaining as they are, no science fiction dystopia is ever really convincing to me, because if there’s one thing I can see by looking at the history of the world, it’s that human beings evolve our societies at lightning speed, and we make things better with every generation.

There is no time in the history of this planet better than the moment at which I sit in my comfortable, water-resistant home, in my comfy chair, typing these words on my Macbook and sharing them with whatever bits of the world care to read them on the Internet.  None.

I played with the SCA for a while, and enjoyed it, but I would not trade the life of a renaissance queen for the life of a modern public school teacher.  Queen Elizabeth may have had the finest art, beautiful homes, poets writing about her, but ask her, in February, whether she wouldn’t rather be living in my condo with its central heating and insulated walls.  Go on, ask her.

Okay, you can’t ask her, because she is dead.  But I’ll answer on her behalf: until you get down to the level of actual homelessness, most of America’s poor people have access to comfort, sanitation, and health care that wasn’t available to even the richest 150 years ago.

And the people of 150 years ago were doing just as immensely better than their great-grandparents, and so on all the way back to the ancestors who learned how to walk upright and start fires.

And when I think about what life will be like 150 years in the future, based on the way the human race has gone so far, I have to assume that it will be a world in which people are more equal and more free, less vulnerable to disease and injury, and doing less unpleasant work.  Because if you pick any two centuries in time at random, that’ll be true of the later one.

So I’m going to pull this Large Bronze Lever now.


Written by Contented Reader

July 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Opinions

2 Responses

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  1. So true! And so obviously true that I’m surprised it isn’t noted more often. Besides material comforts, how about that information revolution?

    For example, I stumbled onto your site after reading your astute comment on Pharyngula about Friday prayers in Toronto. Never had heard of Steampunk (though I had heard of lesbians!), but in less than a minute on Google, I was saying, “Oh, so that’s what they call that style!”

    Now, how would Her Royal Highness have handled a similar circumstance? First, could a queen even admit to not knowing a word? Wouldn’t that cast doubt on her right to hold such an exalted status? But beyond that, how would one have begun to answer the question? If the local wise guys had no answer, you were pretty much stuck.

    Anyway, great blog. Read on!


    July 24, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    • I am also a fan of the information revolution. And I’m so glad that I’m exactly the right age to watch the Internet change the world. I’m irritated that I have to die, and can’t see what the world is like 200 years from now.

      Contented Reader

      July 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm


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