More than two hundred thousand years’ man slept in the steppe. Under a sterile bush. On a hill. Then thousands of years in a cabin. Recently, in geological terms, one would say in a flash of a second – we sleep in a comfortable bed, next to a bathroom with hot and cold water, a kitchen with large refrigerator and an iPhone at our fingertips. This is how it was for many centuries, from the nomadic historical period to the Silicon Valley, from the beginning of agriculture, with the first grain and the first goat, at the modern supermarket, but now we have realized the dream of our ancestors. Progress has arrived. We live longer and healthier lives in a world that is richer and brighter than ever. Our wealth of food is a victory over hunger and poverty. Our wealth of knowledge is a victory over illiteracy. We live in the best era. We live in a utopia.
We cannot believe it’s going so well. Every day we are in the grip of bad news. Good news is no news. News is bad news: This is the heart of the newspaper business and television news. War. A Christmas market in Berlin. The oldest bank in the world is on the verge of collapse. Boko Haram (“Two girls commit suicide bombing in Nigeria”) Cracking noise in Kerkdriel Large and small – from the Aleppo headquarters to an accident on the A9 (“traffic portal, signs of the matrix are attached, fell on the road, after two cars collided. “), from an assassination attempt in Ankara to a liquidation in Boccaccio sex club in Laren (” Someone was walking quietly Out of bushes “). The Swiss philosopher Rolf Dobelli calls this “new snacks”. We are addicted to the news. We need a new diet, or better yet: “More news.” Rather read a good book. In this case, for example: Giovanni Boccaccio, “Decamarone” (Ten young people flee from Florence in 1348, struck by the plague, to retreat to a castle, where they tell stories); Orhan Pamuk: “Istanbul” (chapter 19, “Conquest or Fall – the “turkeyfication” of Constantinople). Or just about Africa. Roel van der Veen: “Africa”. The bad news gives a distorted picture of reality. There is another story that rarely receives the media: the great story of progress. Our technological culture is advancing the world. Food and knowledge. We were nomads, we were farmers – and now we live in the whole world the transition from nature to the city. It is a metamorphosis of our life. This technological culture requires striking translation, explanations and details. Here is the urgent subject of the media!
And then you have to read, read, read.
Matt Ridley: “The rational optimist.”
Johan Norberg: “Progress”.
Steven Pinker: “Our best ourselves – why people use less and less violence.”
Harry Lintsen: “Technology in the Netherlands.”
Jaffe Vink: “Who is afraid of progress”
Robert Hughes: “Visions of America – the epic of American art”
Theo de Boer and Peter Henk Steenhuis: “Thinking of poetry”.
Paul Scheffer: “The freedom of the border.”
Oek de Jong: “The vision of the inner bay”
Jaffe VINK, Philosopher
TROUW, 31 December 2016