I often try to keep a positive outlook on the fate of humankind and the direction our civilisation is heading. I dont fall for the sensationlist hype the media thrusts down our throats anymore. News and the media gives an extremely warped view of the world. Bad news is good news, in the eyes of most media; sensationalism and controversy sells.
I do however sometimes worry about peoples collective view about where we are heading, not just as a species that has a troubling history of self destruction and conflict (that luckily seems to have greatly improved of late), but what we are planning to do now we have such a close knit international community.
When I ask people about what they think Earth will be like in twenty years half of them say they don't think we will still be here, and usually they base this either on some sort of war they think is on the horizon (oh thanks, Mr Murdoch, & all media sensationalists) or some sort of scientific disaster they think will happen, which is usually based on a complete misunderstanding of the science in question (thanks again, Mr Murdoch) and a warped view of scientists based on hollywood movies.
We've stopped dreaming.
Our collective consciousness seems fraught with uncertainty about where we are heading.
The powers that be have abused the media to harness the power of our nightmares.
Meanwhile the scientists that are inventing new ingenious ways to help man kind are often portrayed to the public as either untrustworthy or unethical.
Scientists are mistrusted by a large section of the general population, who see them as emotionless lab bound meddlers-with-nature, rather than, say, fellow human beings who've actually bothered getting off their arses to work this shit out.
There is a failure to realize that behind nearly every example of new science discoveries that result in technology that has proved negative for human kind in some way, there is always either a politician thats funded the work or a business thats abused the science for commercial greed.
Its quite rare that I come across a scientist that at the same time as being at the forefront of current research is able to relate to the average person in a way that doesn't portray intellectual arrogance or condescending standpoints. However, Mr Neil De Grasse (badass) Tyson is such a person. Not only is he an extremely down to earth guy, but he's ridiculously clever and an atsrophysicist. He appreciates hypostatisation based fallacies, and is not living in an abstract mathematical world predicated on reified constructs, like some scientists in his area do.
I've been watching many of his talks over the last few days on youtube, and I can highly recommend them. You don't have to be into physics or astrophysics even though this is his particular scientific discipline, his talks cover all areas, from religion to biology. I can highly recommend you check him out. His interview with Steven Colbert, as well as his discussion with Richard Dawkins, I can highly recommend.
Safe to say that of late he has re kindled not only my interest in science, but my optimism for the future of mankind.
And I hate that word. Mankind. Women - why aren't you in charge of earth yet? Men are currently far too dominant in world affairs, and to date we've made a complete mess out of just about everything, from the environment, wars, economies and politics ... to date its all been a massive manmade, testosterone fuelled, mess.
But of late, I've started dreaming again. Not nightmares, or drug hazed scattered thoughts, but positive dreams. Some of which I think I can credit to Mr Tysons enthusiastic words bubbling away in my subconscious as I sleep, as well as other life factors. This is my favorite video of his, which is a video put to various audio clips from his various speeches.