The good life

iced coffeeI’m going to quilt together a few ideas about the good life.

The good life, whatever that may mean to you, becomes more widespread as time goes on. Look at something simple, even humble. How cool is a glass if you think about it? They’re cheap, fairly durable, and they don’t add a taste to what’s in it. All that while allowing us to also see what’s in it. It’s “what’s best for the most for the least” design in action.

We’re living in a world that, to our ancestors, would have been a dream world. If they could even dream it. We take for granted things that our ancestors had to live without easy long distant travel and communication, a pretty thorough understanding of how the world works, and being generally unthreatened physically.

Some people pine for the “good old days.” Maybe they seem good viewing them from 30,000 feet. But the good old days weren’t so good when you look at them at a granular level. There were untreatable illnesses, high infant mortality rates, deaths from childbirth, rotting teeth, shorter lives, etc.  I’m sure we could fill this page. What about ignorance? There was plenty to go around.

“Just a few centuries ago, the smartest humans alive were dead wrong about damn near everything. They were wrong about gods. Wrong about astronomy. Wrong about disease. Wrong about heredity. Wrong about physics. Wrong about racism, sexism, nationalism, governance, and many other moral issues. Wrong about geology. Wrong about cosmology. Wrong about chemistry. Wrong about evolution. Wrong about nearly every subject imaginable.” – Luke Muehlhauser

“So-called Western Civilization, as practiced in half of Europe, some of Asia and a few parts of North America, is better than anything else available. Western civilization not only provides a bit of life, a pinch of liberty and the occasional pursuance of happiness, it’s also the only thing that’s ever tried to. Our civilization is the first in history to show even the slightest concern for average, undistinguished, none-too-commendable people like us.” – P. J. O’Rourke

“It is capitalist America that produced the modern independent woman. Never in history have women had more freedom of choice in regard to dress, behavior, career, and sexual orientation.” – Camille Paglia

Progress is inevitable. In the West at least, change is a constant, usually for the leading to rising standards of life. There are winners and losers, failing enthusiastically toward the good life.

“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” – Stewart Brand