In Enlightenment Now, Steven Pinker explains the impact of Enlightenment values – reason, science, and humanism – on the world. These values were instrumental in moving society forward, and Pinker worries that they are under threat.
Humans have achieved a whole bunch of cool shit over the ages. Unfortunately, we take it for granted. Progress has a very funny way of erasing its tracks as we move forward as a species.
The local supermarket is overflowing with food. You’ve got clean water on tap. You drop your waste in the toilet, and with a click of a button, it vanishes. We have pills that demolish painful infections, planes to take us to the other side of the world, cheap energy to pop the lights on, and you have all of the world's knowledge inside your pocket.
We assume these things are birthrights, forgetting that they're human accomplishments. At some stage in history, a person worked on solving these problems and drove our society forward.
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