We are so much more wonderful than we let ourselves believe

A series has been showing on Channel 4 (also on 4oD) called ‘Sex, Death and the meaning of life’. I’ve been slow to get round to watching it but finally have.

In episode one we learn something surprising.

Over the last 40 years, incidents of rape have declined by 80%.

Incidence of domestic violence and child abuse have dropped dramatically.

Racism and negative attitudes to homosexuality have drastically declined.

There are less wars, and less deaths through war than at any time in history.

People are more moral now than at any time in history.

Now open a newspaper…

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16 thoughts on “We are so much more wonderful than we let ourselves believe

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  1. I’ll have to check this series out. Dig the title. You can’t sell a newspaper with the headline, “Local man buys another local man a latte.” or “woman decides not to murder her husband.”

  2. I was thinking just the other day how nice it was that things like gay marriage are something we can at least have a vote on now, and it’s pretty obvious that it will happen soon. Various forms of discrimination are on their way out, and I do see that as a definite sign of progress. I simply stopped watching the news altogether, because I was sick of them trying to scare me to no purpose. Why subject myself to that?

    1. I agree. I avoided news/papers for years – now I refuse to watch commercial TV because the adverts are so annoying! Campaigns to save the starving followed by adverts for hair dye, lack and profligacy, an encapsulation of the ills of modernity. Once we switch these things off it’s like slowly coming off anaesthetic drugs.

  3. Hi, thanks for dropping by my blog.

    Totally agree with you that the media attempts to shape the way we think. I’ve to constantly remind myself to take the media reports with a pinch of salt.

  4. I often ask myself whether the media can ever be ethical and a force for good. The controversial philosopher Baudrillard believed that the technology of media affects our attitudes, feelings, and thoughts in such an inherently distorted way it can never serve some ultimately moral end — e.g., by being more inclusive or by offering us the opportunity to hear more radical or subversive voices. He questioned whether information produces meaning or whether it destroys it. This is pessimistic view indeed but reality seems to bear it out: for every beautiful blog there are a thousand hideous porn sites or banal adverts. Imagine life hundreds of years ago, when it was hard enough to find out what was happening in the nearest large town, let alone on the other side of the world. A narrow focus?- Or, a more peaceful way of living? Baudrillard aside, I hang on the idea that perhaps blogging, at its best, is one way to subvert technology, to share in the creation of a new, more positive, supportive and humanitarian approach to sharing news….

    1. I’m not sure – I would approach this more from a Marxist-ish perspective. Those who own the means of (media)production have certain goals which are incompatible with ‘objective’ news, or the inclusion of dissenting voices. I think that’s what creates the distortion.
      On the other hand, I don’t think ‘meaning’ or ‘belief’ are anything other than constructed abstractions which elide gaps in our understanding. Where Baudrillard hits the spot for me is that we have (reality / perception / cognition / language / communication / ‘understanding’) – What ‘is’ must move through these stages, losing authenticity at each stage – and becoming a simulacra of a simulacra by the time ‘Dasein’ becomes linguistic understanding.
      Blogs are ‘voices from the ground’ – from ‘real people in real worlds’ – rather than being fed through medial distortions, in that much they are far more authentic – I agree 🙂 Nice comment – stretched my brain a bit that one 🙂

  5. Agreed RoS: Baudrillard said during this period that graffiti was the only authentic mode of communication that existed…Oooo he does love to make sweeping statements to create controversy! I like to think that a good blog is a bit like graffiti; although perhaps he’d argue that the technology involved in blogging acts as a distorting filter…avatars and cyber-space itself being part of the ‘procession of simularcra’. I think it all starts to get a bit tricky here and a bit limiting because you are right, even if only implicitly, his theories posit the existence of some solid reality/meaning which he never really identifies…Anyway, enough philosophy for one night! This has been a nice intro to blogging for me…thanks 🙂

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