Note — Jun 07, 2020

An Onslaught of Crises Has Created a Modern Paradox

Interview at WIRED with Matthew Flinders, who’s been exploring the idea of “crisis fatigue” but I’m including it for the quote below. There’s been an ongoing debate between the rosy Gates and Pinker view that everything’s better, and many others, like Jason Hickel, on the other side arguing that the former are glossing over stats and cherry picking. Regardless of the numbers, I like the quote below as a higher level framing of that general discussion; where tangible threats are taken care of for many, while intangible threats are growing and worsening.

If you’re fearful of wild animals circling your tent, at the very least you know what you need to shoot at or run from. When the fear is intangible and hanging over you, you feel trapped. And I think that sense of feeling trapped is a very powerful way of understanding how a lot of people feel today. They feel trapped within the precarity of modern economic work practices. They feel trapped by environmental concerns, which are very hard to deal with from an individual perspective. They feel trapped by political systems that feel unresponsive and very remote from them.