Why There’s Much Optimism About Where Humanity Is Headed…
Negativity perpetuates negativity. And while it may be easier to be critical, judgemental and cynical given today’s mindset, there’s actually a lot to be optimistic about. In this, my 50th episode, I highlight all the exciting things in humanity’s future and how we can all get there faster. It’s not a typical episode for me but it matters to you. I promise. I cite thinkers such as Steven Pinker (author of Enlightenment Now), Lynne Twist (author of The Soul of Money), artist Andy Goldworthy among others. I’m very curious to know what you think as well as which of my 50 episodes you’ve enjoy most, so be sure to comment down below. As always, thank you for being part of this journey with me. It’s incredible to think I’ve done 50 of these and you’ve taken the time to join me. Truly, I’m amazed and humbled.
SELECTED LINKS FROM EPISODE:
-Eco-Friendly for Newbies: https://ecowarriorprincess.net/2017/10/simple-5-step-guide-living-green-in-city-for-eco-newbies/
-China’s Forest City Under Construction: https://youtu.be/nHq9yQOb1eQ
-2030 City Projections: https://vimeo.com/240698324?ref=em-share
-Garden Girl TV: http://gardengirltv.com
-Five Cities Making a Difference: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/five-sustainable-cities-making-difference-planet
-Steven Pinker TED Talk (Is the World Getting Better or Worse?): https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_is_the_world_getting_better_or_worse_a_look_at_the_numbers?language=en
-Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now Book: https://stevenpinker.com/publications/enlightenment-now-case-reason-science-humanism-and-progress
-A Very LA Birthday Short Film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9SHJaepE0c
-Adorama Affiliate Link: https://www.adorama.com/?utm_source=rflaid914115
Available Platforms to Watch/Listen to Show:
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You may or may not know this, but this episode marks a huge milestone — it’s my 50th episode! That’s absolutely incredible for me to think about. Each lesson I share with you is deeply meaningful and personal to me. The fact that I’ve done so many already… well, I’m speechless frankly. Even more so, I’m extremely grateful that you’ve been a part of this journey. To honor this achievement for us both, I want to look ahead, because the future is even brighter. But I’m not just talking about this show, I’m talking about the larger context of things. What do I mean? Let’s find out, shall we?
I’ve talked about it before, and I’m sure you’re experienced something like this in your life, whether through your own experience or by observing someone else, but negativity perpetuates negativity. It just does. Now, I’m not saying if you have a negative thought here and there that it’s cause for concern. However, if you’re surrounding yourself with negative people or basking in your own crippling thoughts… well, let’s just say it doesn’t lead anywhere good.
The reason this happens is because it’s easier to be critical, judgemental and cynical. Ever hear the phrase, “Told you it wouldn’t work?” from someone in your life. Those words combine all three aspects of negativity into six simple syllables.
But it is my desire, in fact my plee, with this episode, to get us to stop. The world has many problems. I’m not denying that. Climate change, political unrest, profit over people, gender inequality, pay disparity, racism, deforestation, soil contamination, the worry of overpopulation, traffic and so on. Having just listed those, I even feel overwhelmed and so I get why it may be hard to have a positive outlook on life sometimes. But here’s what we must remember – just look to history. Throughout history, humankind has accomplished wondrous feats. And I mean throughout all of history. And in general, when you look at let’s say the past 4,000 years, you can’t help but realize how far we’ve come.
If you’re on the fence about any of this, I highly encourage you to check out Canadian philosopher Steven Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress or at least check out his 20 minute TED Talk about that subject. I’ve provided links to both in the description below.
When you really examine it, we’ve come a long way. But we’re capable of so much more. We just have to come together in community and have honest discussions about the world’s issues. Many of us, including myself at times, are keyboard activists, which means we preach and spew certain aspects we’d like to see changed, but we don’t do anything about it. Let’s vow to stop that. Lynne Twist, the author of The Soul of Money, believes that modern society has poisoned us with lies. This is done through the various media I mentioned earlier. Take the lie of scarcity. Lynne says, “It’s turned us from citizens, people who are responsible for the wellbeing of the community, the wellbeing of the state, to the wellbeing of the country and the world — to consumers. And yes, consumer has a valuable meaning, but it actually means he or she who takes, depletes, diminishes or destroys.”
Really powerful quote, huh? So let’s be citizens, shall we? Because when we all become citizens, the future is really fucking bright!
Alternative energy sources, like wind and solar exist and work. Cars don’t need gas to be able to function. Medicine continues to advance in astronomical ways. But what if we all pushed in the same direction, meaning had the same mindset. Imagine how much progress we could make.
One lie that exists in the world is the idea of overpopulation. We’re not overpopulated. There’s plenty of space even for the many billions of us on this planet. We don’t need to escape to other planets to survive. What we must be careful of is resources. There’s a great disparity over what’s produced versus what’s consumed. Most of the time, it turns out the biggest consumers produce the least. Again, this goes back to the very definition and sentiment of a consumer that Lynne Twist reminds us about.
Cities have a bad reputation, at least I find, because of traffic and gas emissions among other things. But cities can actually be a key to the above mentioned problem. For starters, cities allow for millions of people to live in condensed areas. The change that’s necessary though is to continue to elevate public transportation and utilization of resources, all of which is doable, if people focus on it. In the world, there exists what’s called forest cities. They are cities that are surrounded by beautiful wildlife and produce local vegetation that can be harvested for consumption. This is part of the key as I see it.
Back in college, I worked on my professor’s a series called Garden Girl TV where we taught urban sustainable living. The show taught viewers in urban environments how to produce 50% of their own food, even in small apartments. That’s incredible.
Anything in life is truly possible, but we must make a conscious effort to move in the right direction. When I see large, high sections of cities with a “Buy Storage” sign on top, it makes me very sad. We have so much crap that we can’t even house it in our own living quarters. So instead of allowing housing for the many people that might need it, we use it to keep our shit. Shit, that eventually we’ll decide to throw away because it has lost its value. It’s disgusting, to be honest, especially when you consider concepts like upcycling, which is where you reuse discarded objects or material in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.
By this point you might consider this episode more as my political views, rather than providing you with creative tools, but the state of our world should matter to each and every one of us. Some people argue that the government should not get too involved while others think the government should help oversee and regulate parts of society. I’m not sure where I fall into the spectrum but I will say this: I look at the government as business. And for any business to attract the best employees, that business would want to highlight how well it’s doing. Yes, that means in terms of profits but also from an altruistic standpoint as well. For example, one of Google’s aims it to deliver you the most recent and relevant results whenever you search for something online. But beyond that, in order for the best candidates to want to work there, the business would want to make a good offer by providing excellent healthcare, benefits, vacation time, salary, etc. Why aren’t these the types of qualities that government use to brag? I love America, don’t get me wrong, but I often hear that “we’re the best.” The best by what measure? I could be wrong, but I often hear us touted as the best because of our military might, not the other things. And yes, we help other countries around the world, and I think that’s fantastic. But often times, we resort to violence versus peacekeeping. I think governments should want the least homelessness, a monetarily healthy middle class where the lower class is not that far off. Medicine shouldn’t be used as a profiteering industry but rather to help the sick because the overall health of others is more likely to keep you from getting sick as well.
I say all this not because I have all the answers, but because I want us to stop and consider these things. Together, we do have the answers. In America, we’re about a year away from the 2020 elections. Start keeping this in mind and doing your part. I will too. We might not agree, but let’s respect each other enough to listen. When we do, a third, unforeseen solution might present itself. And that’s what’s really incredible. That’s what we as a humanity are capable of and always have been based on our history.
Beyond that, what can you do on an individual level?
Don’t get overwhelmed. I’m not asking you to quit your life as a creative to go into the Peace Corps or something like that. I’m asking you to be aware and do the little things. Voting is one of those things. Buying local is another. Maybe consider gardening or at the very least, let’s change the conversation to have farming be a more nobler profession that actually pays. The farmers we have in America, the non corporate ones, are very nice and much needed. But a system and structure is required where they’re not the minority, where there’s an incentive for Gen Zers and future generations to want to farm — no different than how a child wants to be a film actor.
I’ve included an article on simple 5 steps you can take, which are: avoid using fossil fuels by carpooling or using public transportation, consuming local foods, connecting with like minded-individuals (and there’s plenty out there), reducing, reusing, recycling, thinking collective and getting political. Now, even though I’ve just given you all the 5 steps, you should still check out that article because it directs you how to do it in easy, simple steps.
Start with little, everyday things and build momentum. I’m not asking you to save the world. For one, it doesn’t need saving. It’s a selfish idea to think that we as humanity could kill the earth. We’ll only cause our own extinction but the earth will continue on without us. So, instead, do the little things and collectively, we’ll make the earth a great place to live for everyone.
Part of the little things is also self care. You can’t help anyone else, if you’re not taking care of you first and foremost. Part of that self care is nurturing your artistic side. Whatever message you want to share with the world, give us what you got, truly.
But always be reminded of your place in the world. There’s a great quote by artist Andy Goldsworthy that goes, “The world doesn’t need me, but I do need it.” I think that applies to each of us, so let’s remember it and be excited by it because we’ve come a long way, in art and society. Imagine what we’ll be able to do tomorrow. Let’s progress towards the good and stop the negativity.
Thank you for listening to this episode. I know it wasn’t a typical lesson of mine but as my 50th episode, I felt it important to discuss these important topics, which is why I’ve also provided as many links as I could to other platforms to help inform you. I’m very curious to know your thoughts. Again, my goal was to spark discussion and so please, comment below. You’re also welcome to let me know which lesson so far has resonated with you most. It means a lot that you share this journey with me. And if you’re new to this series and haven’t checked out all the lessons, I invite you to do so at your leisure. Below in the description are the various links to access those lessons as well as tons of free resources on my website. Lastly, a huge thank you to the people that helped make this episode financially possible. If you too would like to support this show, you can either head on over to my Patreon or sport some merch from my store. Or you can just tell a friend about this show. Thanks for tuning in. I’m @PhilSvitek on social media and I’ll see you next Wednesday with another lesson. Bye!