Recently, I was asked by someone to compile a list of 10 — 10! — things that are right with the world. I have to believe — I would like to believe — that most of my colleagues will find this as daunting a task as I do I. After all, those of us who practice philosophy and write cultural commentary are accustomed to sniffing out problems: The glass is always half empty for us.
That it is a challenge to think of a few positive aspects of the world, to say nothing of 10 such things, is sobering enough. That this invitation would strike me as peculiar to boot is more self-revealing than I would care for it to be. Still, peculiar or not, hard or easy, that I have the opportunity to reorient my thinking toward life proves that there is at least one thing that is right with the world:
The world supplies us with opportunities, numerous opportunities, to grow.
In fact, given current technology and the ease with which it provides ever-growing numbers of people with access to both a bottomless sea of information as well as other human beings from around the globe, the case can be made that there are even more opportunities for intellectual, moral, professional, and spiritual growth today than ever before.
This is the first thing that is right with our world. It is, thankfully, by no means the last.
The second, I suppose, would be the technology itself that makes possible the dramatic expansion of opportunities for personal development alluded to in the first.
Third, outside of Heaven, the world will always be ridden with human suffering. While tragic, this fact is also doubtless. Equally doubtless, however, is that there is more awareness of this suffering, more sensitivity to it, than at any time in the past. Our imagistic age renders this unavoidable.
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