How can we help flood the world with all the good we see? How can we keep a balanced perspective to focus on the good while not ignoring the bad?
Is the world getting worse? Some think our best days have passed; others think they’re just around the corner. But how do we know? By what criteria can we judge such a question? With limitless information at our fingertips, we can find stories and data to support either position. In one measurement or another, the world is always getting worse and always getting better — sometimes both at the same time. If we seek good news, we will find good; if we seek bad news, we will find bad. Perhaps the better question is, what kind of world do we choose to make?
It may not be possible to understand the world in its entirety. We all have our blind spots. But any attempt must balance bad news with good news. The daily drumbeat of tragedy, catastrophe, war, folly, corruption and suffering can spur us to action, but it can also hide the progress, cooperation, kindness, intelligence, trust and love that still flourish on our planet. A focus on the good helps us better judge the bad. We cannot see the goodness of neighbors and citizens through the dark lens of negativity.
Hope is realistic about the bad, but it chooses to deposit its money in the bank of the good. Pope Francis touched on this in his January 2017 address to communicators around the world, where he encouraged journalists to lift their sights higher than the smog of constant bad news.