Why the world is both the best possible and worst possible place to live at the same time

14 Feb

When I travel, I see the world and love it. I see great sites from ages past, I meet great people who have great stories to tell, and despite the connectedness of our world, there’s a great feeling you get when you step into a foreign land (even if the language on the signs is the only noticeable difference at the time), a feeling of freedom, a feeling that you can spread your wings around the world and fly. A feeling you can reach out, reach out to other cultures, enjoy great food, great sites, and yet…

There are also times when the world just doesn’t seem like a very nice place to live. There’s times when it’s night time, the news is on and it’s about some horrible thing that’s happening somewhere. To people who are suffering, whether in poverty, at war, or have lost a family member, the world is never as great as it is to a privileged tourist. There’s times when you can think of America and the Eurozone and think of nothing but economic troubles. There’s times when you can just convince yourself that the world cannot improve. There’s times when you want to believe things but you just can’t get yourself to truly believe them. There’s times you just don’t think there ever will be an end to gridlock in the Washington DC House of Representatives, or the problems being caused by climate change.

And yet, then we are back on the road. We are back, exploring an ancient ruins or old cities. We are back in Europe again, seeing not the collapse of the eurozone or with it, the people committing suicide over foreclosures in Athens, but seeing great places, beautiful faces, and enjoying great food. Then we go back to America, seeing beautiful National Parks, eating at Diners, listening to uplifting American songs of all types, hearing friendly people talk to each other about the latest baseball game when in the park, and just enjoying life.

And then it occurred to me. The world is neither good or bad. It depends on who you ask and when you ask them. And you know what? I’m happy living in a world like that. If everything was perfect or everything was horrible, the world would be miserable and boring. Good and bad are both two sides of the same coin. Throughout each person’s life, the coin flips back and forth, and sometimes spins around in a whirling shade of grey, not knowing which side to land on. The world is not neutral. The world is not good or bad. The world is both beautifully good and horrifically evil. There are too many people in the world, having way too many possible experiences, to ever generalize. 

And the best part is, we are all people.

Though a traveler will always notice differences between language, food, culture, skin color, and politics, more importantly, we’re all human. People who travel realize this. They realize that other countries are not exotic far away lands, but simply different houses in the global village. But then again, though this is to be celebrated, there will always be bigots who don’t realize this. And we should all oppose that and try to stop bigotry to make the world a better place. However, we should also enjoy what we can enjoy. We should take the time to enjoy seeing ancient ruins, we should take the time to try new foods. We should take the time to educate ourselves on bad things too. And you know why? The world is both the most horrible and greatest place to live at the same time. It just depends on who you ask and when you ask them.

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