The World is Getting Better

How about some good news? We have enough death and decay forboding over us from the TV and spreading their fires online. But are things that terrible? The cooing of the mourning dove outside my window says, “no, things aren’t that bad.” Sure, someone in the world has bombs outside their window. And, yes, many people are on ventilators now. Still, the world is better.

If the mourning dove’s coos don’t convince you, then read what Daniel Pinker says in The Better Angels of Our Nature. In 4,000 pages or less, he explains in scientific detail and prolific prose how the world is more peaceful today than it has ever been. Pinker is a phenomenal writer. I admire his ability to convey meaning and capture his audience. (I’m a bit sporadic in reading, though, and have never finished a Pinker book. Yet.) Better Angels used to be Bill Gates’s favorite book. Pinker’s newer book, Enlightenment Now, has taken the top spot on Gates’s massive bookshelf.

Back to the dove

Coo-coo. That’s a beautiful sound to hear, especially waking up in the cool of a fresh, new morning. That little feather-stuffed 4.6 ounces told me in two syllables, “the world is beautiful. Today’s a new day; make the most of it.” Nobody paid the dove to lie to me. Nike didn’t sponsor God’s creature of small stature to perch outside my window and repeat an advertisement, convincing me life was alright. No. The dove did it because the dove knows.

This example of the dove is why mindfulness is essential in the mornings. My habit of waking up usually includes one of two options: A) hit the snooze button, calculating the fastest time I can take a shower and still make it to work on time, or B) grab my phone, lying in bed, and scrolling through my junk email. 

That’s not cool. Looking through my deleted emails, I see the New York Times saying, “The White House expects a rise in deaths…” That was their email’s first sentence. CNN was similar, but less articulate, “Coronavirus…White House…” Another publication tells me about “record US borrowing” and somebody suing somebody else. Good grief! Come on, Prince, let’s hear more doves cry!

This is what it sounds like when the doves cry

Mindful mornings are incredibly better. Instead of some corporate AI bot telling me the world is ending, I’m paying attention to little critters. I feel like a man-version of Snow White, minus the singing. Even the disgusting, prehistoric-looking version of the creepiest bug I’ve ever seen, appears somewhat yogic. The click-clack of his (WTF are those things?) claws, crawling across the window screen, are surprisingly soothing. And maybe, just maybe, the cute little dove is staring at that bug, salivating at the thought of a bug-gut omelet. Yet, that killer dove’s pre-meal war chant reminds me that nature is beautiful. Coo-coo.

People are waking up this morning, and that’s awesome. They aren’t sick. They aren’t starving. And they aren’t actively engaged in pointing semi-automatic weapons at their neighbors. A lot of those people have jobs and people that care for them. And those that don’t have jobs and people that care for them deserve to have those things. People are worthy of love. They are worthy of compassion, even when they are imperfect, because they are imperfect. That’s what makes us humans incredible.

As for the world today, take a moment and look around. Even if you’re stuck inside your house, look out the window. Take inventory. Are things growing? Are people talking? If you pay attention long enough, it all begins to look like magic. We’ve come a long way, baby, and that’s a good thing!

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