Monday, October 19, 2009

Conspiracy Theory

PRONOIA is author Rob Brezsny's answer and antidote to the present-day "paranoia," which might otherwise be called the prevailing tendency to focus more on the "bad news" than the good. His book shines a spotlight on "how the Universe conspires to shower us with blessings." A revised and expanded edition has just been released, and in it is an expanded version of his essay "Glory in the Highest." He says the essay grew from three pages to twenty-four "...because I crammed it full of the many shocking facts I ha[ve] discovered about how wrong the conventional wisdom is."

"It's not just that we take our everyday miracles for granted," he writes. "The further truth is that we are fantastically lucky and blessed to be alive at this moment of history."

How so? Well, here's some of the good news he highlights:
1. The world has become dramatically more peaceful since the end of the Cold War, with steep declines in the numbers of armed conflicts, acts of genocide, weapon sales, and refugees. In fact, our era is the most peaceful time in recorded history.

2. Crime in the U.S. is at its lowest level since it was first officially tracked. Between 1973 and 2005, the violent crime rate decreased by 56 percent, while crimes against property shrank by 70 percent. The years 2005 and 2006 brought a small increase in violent crimes, but by 2008, the rate had fallen even lower than it was in 2005.

3. After rising steadily since the beginning of time, the number of people in the world living in absolute poverty has fallen by nearly one-third in less than three decades.

4. A Nobel prize-winning economic historian has shown that those of us alive today are far hardier and healthier and smarter than our ancestors, even those of 150 years ago. We get sick less, overcome the sickness we do suffer from better, and live longer. Even our internal organs are formed better.

5. Torture is no longer a commonplace feature of the justice system, as it was in many places of the world for centuries.

6. The rate of child mortality in the developing world has dropped precipitously, while literacy is increasing steadily.

7. Life expectancy is rising steadily. People live more than 50% longer than they did a century ago. Many scientists believe there is no absolute limit to the human life span, and are working hard to extend it.
Thanks, Rob, for this generous helping of "pronoia" which surely can't help but widen the way for Love.


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