Have you heard? The world is ending.
At least, that is how it feels like these days. I’ve written before about how I have applied filters to my daily life to try and avoid negativity, to only see things that I want to see. It is tough to completely ignore the negative, especially when you have a curious mind like mine. Take the election unfolding in the United States, for example; as a political sciences major, it is impossible, I repeat impossible, for me to ignore something like that. And I opened up my Google News feed during my lunch, only to see that the first eight headlines involved the words “murder” or “death”. Terrorism is seeming to become more commonplace in the western world, and it isn’t too much of a stretch to say that, at our current rate of growth and consumption, the Earth will not be able to support human beings for long.
But who am I to complain? Just a few days ago I released the first chapter of my novel, Archangel. It featured a small snapshot of a world that had gone through a meatgrinder of an Apocalypse, and come out the other side. Put more eloquently, the world of Archangel is one where angels and demons went to war over the planet, and Hell won.
So you see, both the mainstream media and myself are trying to sell you the same story, the same tale of fire and brimstone. We both want to tell you how the world ends. The only difference being that I am upfront about my tale being fictional.
In reality, the world is not ending. Not now, not anytime soon. We are living in a world of unprecedented peace and prosperity. Though it may not seem like it because of the constant noise of selling violence and death, they are both at an all-time low. We are seeing innovation on an unimaginable scale, with ideas in the works and coming to fruition faster than we can keep up with. Think about under-resourced healthcare systems gaining an app that can run tests and store data in a fraction of the time of an entire medical team. Think of an inexpensive tablet that can teach an individual basic, even advanced, literacy skills to someone suffering from illiteracy in a matter of months. Think of how revolutionary this will be for developing countries, where education is the biggest obstacle one faces between them and a better life. Think of another possibility: mining resources from the moon or Mars, of the untold possibilities that they hold. It is estimated that the surface of the moon has more titanium and other precious minerals than the entirety of our planet. Scientists even believe that the moon contains significant amounts of helium-3. This chemical is extremely scarce on Earth, which is a shame because it is a clean source of energy where even a tiny amount can power the entire planet for a century. The Internet, the very thing that has allowed me to run this blog and begin my indie author career, is expected to be available to 80% of the world in less than a decade.
I could go on and on! I watched a Ted Talk today where a journalist spoke about the progress of various governments. Canada was mentioned due to its status as a leader in immigration and multiculturalism. It made me happy to hear that, in a world where we are told borders are closing, Canada took in 10 times more Syrian refugees than the United States. When a political candidate spews policies of isolationism and identity politics, I can look around me and witness progress towards a better world.
So here is the thing: we need to understand that the world is not coming to a violent, terrible end. Unless I am reading it in a fictional novel, watching it in on a screen, or playing it in a game, I refuse to believe that all of this is coming to an end. We are making such great progress, we are making life so much better for everyone on this planet. This is not to say that I am blind to the challenges that we face, that I blatantly ignore the inequalities and injustices that exist. I choose to look at them not as the world coming to an end, however. I look at them as opportunities.
So please, news networks and fearmongers; save the Apocalypse for the stories.