I want to believe. Not in UFOs but in the power of enlightenment and the better angels of our nature. I want to believe that humans have the power to overcome the limitations of our narrowly focused senses and use our squishy little brains to bring ever-improving well being to the people with whom we share this mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Steven Pinker believes, and he has two books full of evidence to back it up. In an era when everything looks to be blatantly and obviously going terribly wrong, Pinker’s optimistic message is the ultimate contrarian take of our time. Is he right? (By the way, with this report is a picture of him shaking Bill Nye’s hand that I just happened to catch at just the right moment. You’re welcome.)