“Behold, this day I have put before you a blessing and a curse.”
In the Old Testament, God says this to the Israelites. The Old Testament can seem dusty and irrelevant. But this is eternal wisdom — true of every day.
It can seem like today the world is headed for disaster. But in many ways, this is the best time in history to be alive.
Fewer armed conflicts — wars — rage today than at any point in human history. Per capita income, life expectancy, infant mortality, literacy rates, all consistently improving around the world for the last 50 years.
The diseases modern medicine has eliminated reads like Mike Tyson’s early ’90s boxing record — a list of crushing victories. Typhus, cholera, polio, rubella, smallpox, bubonic plague, many more no longer even memories.
And this blessing demonstrates our curse. Our grandparents stood in line to get vaccinated because they knew the horrific toll of disease. In perfect health, our creeping killers now stem from despair — suicide and overdose move up the list of threats. This unusual new disease appeared, and within 18 months modern medicine produced a vaccine. An absolute triumph of science, and all we do is complain and argue about it.
It’s an amazing time to be alive, but we don’t appreciate it. Along with prosperity has come tremendous change. With that change, uncertainty and fear.
Every time has its own unique spirit, its _zeitgeist_. The unusual thing about this moment, we wake from this long and brutal dream of history, rub our eyes, try to look into the new light.
In our time, we have access to all the accumulated information of the past. Both modern physical scientists, those who make useful things like vaccines that keep our bodies alive; and the ancient spiritual scientists, who tell us how to stay alive inside.
We’ll need both to succeed.