November 20, 2004

Dewy-eyed optimist

A couple of nights ago I had a whopper of a nightmare. I believe the dream followed this post of mine, and came after I read several of the comments, but I am not certain.

In the nightmare alligators or crocodiles, whom had, apparently, been living downstairs in some sort of zoo, came upstairs to our family living quarters and surrounded our bedroom...blocking the way to the bathroom of all places. I don't remember all the details but at one point a bear-man came upstairs and started to explain that we; my husband, one of my children, and myself, were on trial for our lives for something we had done to the animal kingdom, but the what was rather vague and I had the feeling it was general human action and that all humans were on trial. Like in all dreams there was lots of jumping and blurring of the fanciful and could be true; at one point we were suddenly outside and somewhat free; though what was keeping us from running away I don't know. At another point, the point in which I woke up, my child was screaming from the other room, a horrific cry, but I was sitting trying to concentrate on something about my defense. At that point I woke up, all shaky and frightened and realized that it was the sound of my husband snoring-- the snore sounded like the beginning if a whooping cry of a child who was very upset. (a few days later I tied the emotions I felt to the emotions I felt when I left the Monkey, as a baby, with her father, screaming because she wanted me, but unable to take her as I had driving lessons-- I had to push away my emotional reaction to concentrate on the job at hand...yes I learned to drive very late in life. Yes I hate driving.)

The above was all an aside.

I have a lot of nightmares. During the day I am pretty confident, even optimistic about the world. It isn't that I don't recognize the problems this world is facing, but I also believe, quite strongly, that we have advanced in many ways from where we use to be. Do we make wrong steps? But of course! How could we not? But I think we make a lot of right steps too; we have advanced in many ways. And I firmly believe things will, overall, get better.

I was surprised to find most don't seem to agree with me. Is it that I save all my worries for nights and refuse to see the truth in the light of day? I don't know. I just know that I think for all the troubles and problems we create we also find solutions to the problems that came with the world as well as the ones that past generations have created. All in all we live a longer, healthier life than the past generations.

Recent scientific development has led to such things as sky-cars, which could aide in rescuing lives of those trapped in skyscrapers, and a car run on sunflower oil could lead to cleaner air. An implant for the brain to end the scourge of Alzheimer's, and I just heard on the news (can't find a good link) that a vaccine for AIDS may be just around the corner.

Literacy is on the rise. Certainly that is something to cheer about.

And I think we, as a world should cheer. That doesn't mean ignoring the problems that do exist; but it does mean, at least every once and awhile, taking a look backward to see how far we have come; what we have conquered.

A lot remains to be done; we need to reduce pollution, work against extinction of existent species in both the flora and fauna worlds, we need to end hunger and poverty, abuse and terrorism. But these are all things we can do.

To me it is a dance; we take two steps forward and one step back. But we have moved forward, and we can keep going that way. We will in fact someday make it to that end goal of a beautiful world filled with healthy people.

I guess that does make me a dewy-eyed optimist.

But how do you feel?
Overall, do you think things in this world are getting better, worse, or staying about the same compared to the past?

Posted by Rachel Ann at November 20, 2004 10:41 PM

I think things are getting better. Though Europe is running into some problems now with a bit of a socialist slide Asia (excepting N.Korea) is more than making up the loss. South America continues to make marginal progress - two steps forward, one back. Africa is the current big loser and needs attention. The big question is the Middle East. After a millenia of backsliding they've been piked to the ground. When the spear is removed we'll see if they can move forward or if they'll retreat again to lick their wounds.

Posted by: Jim at November 21, 2004 01:03 AM

I think we optimists are in somewhat short supply these days but it was probably never any different. Certain friends of mine have called my optimism a disease and I can see their point up to a point, but what else are you going to do? If, generally speaking, you think of Old Europe as pessimists and the USA as optimists, it makes the point that without some optimism how are the difficult things ever going to get done?
Besides, it makes for a much more pleasant life and you get used to the fact that sometimes your optimism was unwarranted.

Posted by: tony at November 21, 2004 09:59 PM
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