Thursday, September 26, 2019


I keep running into conversations where "Factfulness" by Hans Rosling and his children comes to mind.  This little book by the recently deceased Swedish professor of health education and his son and daughter has many valuable lessons.  

Lesson 1 - The world has changed and is in the midst of changing all the time.

Lesson 2 - Nearly any problem you know about is slowing being solved.  Progress is being made on all fronts but often it is quite slow.

Lesson 3 - Many of us have more or less fundamental tendencies to worry and blame.

Of these lessons, I think the most difficult one is #2.  It is natural to assume that it can't be right. The news says it isn't so.  My gut says it isn't so. Can't be. Must be hackers, propagandists, enemies, scammers spreading bunk like that.

The Roslings emphasize that negative views and fears stay in the mind and memory a long time.  They also point out repeatedly that what we learned in school gets out of date. It may help to realize that people all around the world try to improve their lives.  So, poverty levels, educational attainments (for both sexes!), sanitation and health care are being worked on steadily. That means that what we learned in school has changed in the last 10, 20 or 30 years since we learned our (temporary) facts.

There are short videos in TED talks of Prof. Rosling, his son and his daughter.

You can spend your remaining weeks in glum unhappiness if you want to but I say,"Get the book, digest a good update, and enjoy your blessings." Just today, I learned of comments by Garrison Keillor, the inventor of Lake Woebegone, Minnesota.  For those of us of mature years, he makes a good case for copying the delight in everything that babies and puppies model for us. With a little practice, we can see the beauty, hear the music, taste the sweetness, touch someone and express gratitude.

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