Spirituality

Brave New Year


James Watkins

Think about this as we head into 2023:

330 million human beings live in America.

Everyday they eat at least two meals, about 10 pounds of food is consumed, that means 3.3 billion pounds of food is consumed per day.

This also means someone needs to produce, distribute and finally, deliver that food.

330 million people also need a home to sleep in every night. They also need transportation, most likely have a smart phone, probably have an email account, if not many; they buy things, including clothes, shoes, cars, subscriptions, drugs, furniture, shoes, entertainment, and the list goes on and on….

In short, no matter how badly our political leaders might mess things up or make things complicated, there are still 350 million people in America who need and consume stuff everyday, and this all but guarantees there will always be others who provide the products and services to this 330 million customer base.

Add to this because our country operates in a free-market system, anyone can get in on the program. Businesses are created, products are produced, things are sold. The barter system works best in a free market system because all things have value and every person who can produce something can get in on the action, hence the prospect of a better life is always possible.

Add to this we have devices now that make it easier than ever to move and get products and services. Even a nine-year child has better tech in his hands than NASA had when we landed on the moon.

And this is why no matter how bad things appears, or how awful things seem to be, 330 million people guaranty business will be done. Not just in America, but in Europe, the United Kingdom, India and even China. China also persists because they have four times as many people as the United States.

People are the key to continued prosperity.

It is society that makes the world go round. People make a civilization, a civilization does not make a people. And as long as there are massive amounts of people you can be assured life will go on with very small changes from time to time. On the macro change is slow; on the micro it appears to fluctuate based on variables such as  weather, war, periodic pestilence (that can affect man, animal or both). And from time to time, bad leadership. 

But in the main, life moves slow but progressively and inversely proportional to the mass contained. Think of how cattle move slowly the more cows there are in a herd. It is no different with humans (ever walk out of a crowded theatre at the end, or find yourself in rush hour traffic?). The masses therefore become society’s safety break. 

Thank God for this. People ensure life continues to progress. People are innovative, we are creative adventurers. Think of the Wright brothers, think Edison, or Tesla, people who, for no other reason, are curious about how to make things better. And then everyone’s life is improved. 

Amazing.

An acquaintance who knows a thing or two about commerce and business says the quality of life in the last 100 years all around the world has vastly improved. Less children are dying, standards of living and literacy have risen tremendously, and he says,”life continues to improve for people everywhere,” despite some spots where there is political conflict. A human being living on earth today has a far greater chance of living to 70 or 75 than ever before. 

It is the constant 24 hour coverage of bad things that makes people feel anxious about the present. All too often we read and hear about other peoples’ downfalls and disaster, but this is not the full picture. Far more of us have regular happy lives, even people in less financial shape. As a child of poverty most of my young life, I don’t recall ever feeling unhappy because of it. You make do. People are creative. That is the human condition, no matter what the experts say. 

When you see life as a bigger picture and with a much longer timeline, you begin to realize most of us have it pretty good in this age, far better than even two generations ago, despite the tension and consternation. 

And for the people who wake up everyday feeling like they are in battle, life is short, every minute is precious. So ask yourself what you want to spend your time on, what brings you and others joy? Focus on the good, not the bad, for there is far more good in the world than bad, despite what Twitter of Facebook tells us. 

Celebrate your life and the people you love. Not every day is a miracle, but every day is one more opportunity to make a positive difference. It really is the best option if you want to have a fulfilling life.

Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus thought in 1750  mankind was doomed to starve to death. Little did he know the Industrial Revolution was soon to appear on the stage of human progress. Just as today we fear we will run out of energy, or food, or both, we cannot know the future or how close we are to new discoveries to address our greatest concerns. History shows man always pushes forward, no matter the odds or the threats we face.

Man survived two horrific plagues during the Middle Ages, plagues that decimated a third of its population, yet within two hundred years, man had found the cure for many diseases, developed new ways to grow and distribute food, and soon prosperity wealth displaced poverty across 180 countries. Talk about a rebound!

Today we stand at the precipice of even better discoveries; the elimination of poverty, higher literacy, lower stillbirths, better healthcare, all of these things portend to an even more promising future. These things men and women do, not because we are cursed, but because we are blessed with a superior mind.

Man dies from fear, nothing else can rob him of his future estate more than panic and fear, which leads to irrationality and hopelessness. But even in the worst of circumstances, courage and persistence saves the day even in our darkest hour.

Said Winston Churchill when battling against the most evil of enemies, “we will fight in the streets and in the fields, we will never surrender!”

Never surrender to hopelessness, it is man’s weakest character flaw if he is not girded with the knowledge of his illustrious past, a past filled with triumph over adversity. It is the only explanation of how we have been able to survive the last million years of existence.

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