The year the world became better

New Year’s Eve is when the optimists come out to play, with our resolutions and fresh goals and hopes and prayers.

Maybe 1941 will be the year when nations stop rattling swords at each other and sue for peace.

Maybe 1968 will be the year when people stop thinking skin color determines superiority or inferiority.

Maybe 1990 will be the year when we are finally free to beat our swords into plowshares.

Maybe 2020 will be the year when authoritarians grow tired of their games and trust in freedom.

Maybe 2023 will be the year when … humanity changes its very nature?

The pessimists who call themselves realists are not surprised when humans’ basest nature rears its head again and the resolutions and fresh goals and hopes and prayers clatter to the dirt.

As I wrote the other day, we hang our heads and realize there is no peace on Earth, despite what the bells on Christmas Day say — but there is more peace than there once was. Americans and Japanese and British and Germans work and play together. People with different skin colors marry, and their families are welcomed with love and acceptance. Around the world, every day, day by day, billions upon trillions of human interactions are performed peacefully, and we are always appalled when violence intervenes. Even the authoritarians are constantly frustrated by the independent thinkers who refuse to kowtow and do things their way.

Maybe 2022 was not the year when everything changed — but some things changed.

Inch by inch, bird by bird, soul by soul, not all at once but slowly, the world has become a better place than it was one, 10, 50, and 100 years ago.

Maybe 2023 will be the year we finally accept that and are grateful.

Or maybe the calendar doesn’t matter, and you and I should simply do what we can to make this day better than yesterday was, day by day.

Happy New Year, friends.


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