• Talia Basma

Is the Cup Half Full?

Meliorism is the notion that humans can make the world better and tend to improve overall. I had never heard of the term until this year. Funny (but fitting) that it was 2020 when I heard about meliorism. Do you think the world is full of beings with the intent to make the world better?

My take on it is more than a simple yes or no. The problem with the world is we don't listen to people with the purest intent, just whoever is the loudest. A simplified example is in a classroom. Let us say there is a teacher asking a class of 30 students a question. You may have all those students with solid aspirations–artist, lawyer, carpenter, housewife, etc. Some are talking in the back not paying attention, some are hesitant to speak up, some talk but don't know the right answer. Then, a student who knows the answer may say it but not loud enough for the teacher to hear because someone else is shouting out the wrong answer as a joke. So of course, a peer next to them will repeat it louder and they'll get all the credit. This again is a very simplified version of how I view meliorism.

That kid who said the answer louder, we can't say they have bad intentions, but in the real world, the majority of us know the right answer but we are drowned out by the louder voices–both that are right and wrong. The human population has almost reached 8 billion. Think about that and then think about how many play a role in national (and international) politics. Some countries may vote for the loudest voice they like the most, but does that mean they're the best option? Does that mean they are right for us as a society? Then there are places that don't even vote. I think the problem with the world is though we do have a world full of people with good intentions, the ones that have power are so busy trying to keep (or build) their power, they don't really help pave the way for a better world.

The best example I can think of is our environment. We have so many people trying to stop using plastic, buy second hand, and trying to recycle. But then we have corporations with greedy CEOs cutting costs and corners at the expense of our little blue world. I'm not saying you should stop doing your part, but it's just a perfect example of how individually we can do the right thing and still see no progress if those with 'louder voices' keep wasting.

Again, climate change was just an example of how I think about meliorism. It exists, it's real and I can see us as individuals do our damndest to be genuine people to ourselves and others, but then it can so easily get drowned out by the people in charge. With that said, I do think that if we as individuals continue learning, doing the best we can, and holding each other (especially conglomerates) responsible, we can improve society and the world.

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