Sometimes I’m overcome by how lucky we all are.
It can be easy to complain about debt, about politics, and about the state of the world. Those things are necessary sometimes. It is dissatisfaction that has moved our species forward on millionth of an inch at a time. But sometimes we forget how incredible a world we live in.
We are surrounded by miracles every hour of every day. Human beings have never been living amid such incredible luxury and riches as they do right now. I sit in a coffee shop in downtown Savannah. I am surrounded by people enjoying their Sunday brunches, of delicious ingredients, shipped from around the world, costing virtually nothing to the consumers – fresh water available to us all for free – world class music coming to me through headphones by artists I will never meet – over a wireless system of information transfer that makes immediately accessible to me nearly all of the sum knowledge and collected ideas produced over the course of civilization – again, for free, courtesy of the cafe.
Just to consider the possibilities available to me as a person are unthinkable. For thousands of years, children were destined to take the place of their parents in a specific craft or social role. Your destiny was virtually written at birth. It would have been overwhelmingly likely that you would have lived and died in grinding poverty. The whole of the human condition could be summarized as sustained discomfort with periods of extreme disease, occasional hunger, and intellectual starvation.
“The normal condition of mankind is tyranny and misery. We’ve escaped. We’ve been extraordinarily fortunate to escape into an island of freedom and prosperity.”
We have so much to be grateful for. Just by virtue of happening into this moment in time, in this civilization. We did not earn this. We did not produce this. We are not entitled to this. We are the brilliantly lucky heirs of a fortune whose depth rivals that of the greatest kings of all mankind.
I don’t envy the kings of the middle ages. We live amid comfort and opportunity that puts them to shame.
I try to remember this, even though I know I will forget it. It is hard to see clearly what is all around you every single day.