February 28, 2012 Leave a comment
We are constantly fed heavy doses of doom, gloom and predictions of Armageddon. It’s true that we have enormous issues and problems that we daily have to deal with on a personal, social and planetary level. Wars, hunger, disease… I could come up with a pretty formidable list that would make the most optimistic among us cringe. The media loves bad news because pain, horror, shock and drama sell. As the old media adage goes: if it bleeds, it leads.
But does this perspective and outlook really define life as we know it. Are we truly all going to hell in a hand basket with no upsides?
Let’s look a bit more deeply. Since 1900, the life span has doubled. Average per capita income worldwide has tripled. Technical developments in the field of medicine have offered new ways of viewing the body and its cells, greatly improving the ability to diagnosis. Antibiotics were discovered; and new vaccines, drugs, and therapies developed. Computerization of health and medical research has enhanced the study of disease and health hazards. New surgical techniques have been developed including transplants and keyhole surgery.
Programs of population-wide vaccinations resulted in the eradication of smallpox; elimination of polio in parts of the world and control of measles, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, and other infectious diseases in the US and other parts of the world.
Safer workplaces have resulted in a reduction of approximately 40% in the rate of fatal occupational injuries. There are countless other statistics that could be added to the list of how things have improved in such areas as technology, transportation, communication, agriculture. Whereas we have a long way to go in the area of human rights, we’ve made amazing strides in the areas of women’s rights, children’s rights and minority rights.
We actually have quite a bit to be thankful for. The trouble is we get lost in our own personal struggles and when it comes to the big picture, most PR, media relations and marketing campaigns focus on what we lack and what’s wrong in our lives.
A look at political campaigns gives us a great window into how things work. The majority of the messages are negative, divisive.
The sad fact is that stories based on fear, want and lack not only up TV ratings and magazine readerships, they also get us to buy, so that’s where most marketing dollars go. If that’s primarily what we pay attention to then that becomes our focus. The negative becomes the prism through which we see our lives. So, our job should be to broaden our focus. Yes, there certainly is more than enough doom and gloom out there and there is a heck of a lot of work to be done and obstacles to overcome, but that’s simply one aspect of life. If you only put the negative into the equation, that’s all you’re going to end up with.
So, I won’t end there; according to a recent article, since the start of the twentieth century infant mortality has decreased 90%, and maternal mortality has decreased 99%, and poverty has declined more in the last 50 years than it did in the previous 500 years. That is pretty cool stuff.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012
Thomas Jr., Landon. “Trader head in hands.” Photo. The New York Times. 10 Aug. 2010. 28 Feb. 2012. <http://www.cnbc.com/id/38635990/Armageddon_Sells_Permabears_Now_Becoming_Cool>
SnoShuu. “Be Grateful.” Photo. New Hampshire News. 18 Nov. 2010. 28 Feb. 2012. <http://www.nhpr.org/post/socrates-exchange-what-gratitude>