Why the world is better than you think and you do not realize

we Live with fear and haste. We are convinced that modernity has brought chaos, disorder, the permanent crisis. And, of course, we believe that we will all live

Why the world is better than you think and you do not realize

we Live with fear and haste. We are convinced that modernity has brought chaos, disorder, the permanent crisis. And, of course, we believe that we will all live worse than our parents... and even our grandparents.

do you Have based so much pessimism? Complete this test before you start reading, it checks to see how many questions you are right... And understand why thanks to Factfulness, the book is a posthumous work of Hans Rosling.

The odds of you successful the answers of this test are very small. What surprised? You should not: you are an augur. Do you think the world is going to worse, and the tragedies increase, that the war and the hunger asuelan far-away continents. Has fear and haste. You're convinced that modernity, globalization, have brought chaos, disorder, populism, terrorism, and all of the-isms that to be able to recite. That they need to act before it is too late. That we are puppets in a perverse zero-sum game in which the price for that in the West thrive is the misery in Africa or Asia. You assume, distressed, a majority of whom live and will live worse than their parents or grandparents everywhere.

The problem is that you are wrong, completely wrong and a chimpanzee throwing darts with your eyes closed would have guessed more answers. You don't know almost nothing about the world, most of what you know is wrong or is outdated, and till today, surely, you were not even aware.

The good news, if you take comfort from these things, is that you are not alone. No matter whether you are rich or just get to the end of the month, if not finished school or have a phd, if you read the news regularly, or you have gotten to this article by chance: you're very well accompanied in the group of fatalists.

The bad news, and it's going to sting, is that it is your fault. The text-books, their parents, their teachers, their social networks, the media, have a part of responsibility, but you can't take out all the balls. Behind your ignorance and the errors of judgment there are no conspiracies or fake news. Many make money thanks to the lies, the exaggerations, and to exploit their fear, it is true, but the blindness is voluntary. The information is there, it is very accessible, more than ever before and have already been cherished. There are articles, books, and amazing videos on the internet, spectacular graphics which give the face of reality. If you are not able to remember them or believe what they say there is a very good reason. Ten reasons, actually. And no one has synthesized and illustrated as well as Hans Rosling.

For decades, Rosling, a doctor and a Swedish statistician who died last year, raised hundreds of issues "on poverty and wealth, population growth, births, deaths, education, health, gender, violence, energy and the environment", about patterns and global trends, to thousands of people. The tests are nothing complicated, as you've seen, and there is no cheating. Are all data to the extent of two-click and "non-debatable" or controversial. And yet, time and time again, the vast majority draws systematically results extremely bad. The word that should stay here is not "bad", but "systematic". The failures are not a product of nuance or ignorance, because if you knew nothing of the subject and respond at random, the results would vary sometimes on one side sometimes on the other. It is not so. There is a pattern and always points in the same line: the worst.

There are thousands of million of improvements that are not speech because they are too slow, fragmented, or are too small by themselves to be a news

Hans Rosling

In Factfulness. Ten reasons why we are wrong about the world. And why, written together with his son Ola and daughter-in-law Anna, and published in Spanish by Deusto this week, Rosling made his last great public service. An attempt not to convince, but to lead. To help understand the world and the way in which we perceive it. An essay fun, entertaining, and necessary whose mission is to provide the reader, the citizen, tools and instruments of critical thinking with which to combat the biases that cloud our vision.

To these biases the Rosling's called the instinct of separation, of negativity, of the straight line, of fear, of size, of generalization, of fate, of the unique perspective, of the fault and the urgency, the worst of all. Be aware of all the bad things that happen around us is simple, what is difficult is internalizing the good, the "thousands of millions of improvements that never speaks. Not some positive news trivial that supposedly compensate for the adverse" but to fundamental improvements "that are changing the world, but that they are too slow, are too fragmented or too small in themselves to be considered news. I mean the miracle a secret and silent of human progress", they explain.

The premise is simple: the world is going to better. It is not perfect and we don't even need to defend that to go well, but better than ever before. And nothing happens so to speak. We live longer and better. We have more money and less hunger, more vaccines and less disease and violence. Yes, there is a lot to do, challenges are huge and millions of people that suffer every day and need help. But with the ignorance, prejudices, and impulses of irrational disservice is done to their cause. There is No place for complacency, but nor for defeatism.

we All have, argue the authors, "a shield or a filter of care between the world and our brain that protects us from the noise, since otherwise the bombardment of information out of context leave us "overwhelmed and paralyzed". That shield, however, has cracks, 10 holes with the form of instinct. "Most of the information doesn't go through, but the holes let in information that is attractive to our dramatic instincts. So just paying attention to the information that will suit them and ignoring the no. And the media can't waste time with stories that do not pass our filter of attention," the ministry said.

In the course of his narrative, full of anecdotes, parody and self-criticism, in the manner of Nigel Barley in the Anthropologist innocent, Rosling describes very well why the simple ideas are very attractive, and how "we like to feel that moment of clairvoyance, the feeling that we really understand or know something." We need to think that things happen because someone willed that it be so, "that individuals have the power and agency", because otherwise the world would be "unpredictable, confusing and terrifying". A story of simplistic good and bad fits mmuch better our way of surviving, and in the forging of that world view faded interact with three factors: the memory wrong in the past, the selective information on the part of journalists (ahem), and activists and "the feeling that, as things go wrong, it is cruel to say that they are improving".

Rosling started his career with clinics in India and Mozambique, and finished while rubbing shoulders with the political and economic elite of the world. He was someone who tried desperately to knock down a wall of prejudice, but despite the fame and the recognition was many times about to throw in the towel and died while being aware that I had not achieved its objectives.

The people have a vision that is very dramatic. It is not that we don't have problems, that everything will go well, but better. Much better. Accept it will give us calm

"he Was a true visionary," said his daughter-in-law and collaborator Anna, the next day 17 will present the work at the Fundación Rafael del Pino in Madrid. "I would not have been able to die happy, whatever happened. He always wanted more. It is very sad that could not see how the book has reached so many people, that would have made it very happy. It would not have been happy thinking that was enough, he was not well. When he was diagnosed with cancer and began to take stock of his life, he felt guilty for having weighed so little time in their last few years with these women of the african countryside with which he began. He was a man very rational, he wanted to understand how the world works in the street and in offices, how they think the leaders and change their decisions. But it was with the fear of them thought they were taken in by the fame"

Rosling became a world celebrity less than a decade ago for their presentations. Thanks to the Trendalyzer, a visualization software developed by his son and sold to Google in 2007, became talks on global poverty, health and demography in something viral even before the concept was a part of our vocabulary. He understood that to get had to epatar, giving a visual spectacle is unforgettable, with graphics, antics or swallowing swords (literally). All that was necessary. Broke the brace of the academic world, something that never forgave, and became one of the great paladins of the data, the proportion, the informed discussions and the context.

he Won for his crusade to celebrities like Al Gore (who refused to collaborate to "create fear" as a strategy to raise awareness about the dangers of climate change), or Bill Gates, who has offered to tens of thousands of graduates americans the opportunity to get a free copy of this work. But it also crashed consistently with an outdated system and lazy by habit, interests, or ideology, refused to be updated.

often, the critics despised the discloser Swedish, tildándolo of vague and optimistic, accusing her of contributing to his speech (the same claim from Steven Pinker), to relativize the current tragedy and the evils of the world. Nothing would infuriate most. "I'm not an optimist, that makes me seem naive, naif. I am a posibilista very serious," she replied with a definition created by himself. "Someone who has no great hopes for no reason, but that does not have great fears if they are not. Someone who constantly refuses to have a vision melodramatic of the world", he writes.

The spirit of Factfulness is dedicated to the fight against this instinct dramatic devastating, as before made, with a great cost, swimmers, countercurrent, as William Easterly. Talk about developed and developing world no longer makes sense. Put in the same category as China and the Congo has no logic. "By dividing the world into two categories is misleading -the poor and the rich - is distorted completely all the overall proportions in the minds of the people", said Rosling. And if you don't understand a problem, you can hardly ever fix it.

"If you don't know things but want to learn, teach is easy. But when you think you know truly how the world is, it is extremely difficult," says Anna Rosling from Stockholm, where it still has its headquarters, the Foundation Gapminder, which advises and provides free content and resources which are very powerful educators of the five continents. "People have a vision that is very dramatic. It is not that we don't have problems, that everything will go well, but better. Much better. The know it, and accept it can bring an element of calm in our lives. Comforting and relaxing to know that we humans have managed to increase our life expectancy and its quality, cure deadly diseases, education. In the news we hear that there are fires in California, war in Syria, terrorism, climate change, threats. It is overwhelming, but Hans always defended and worked on the premise that the data can be calm",

If you don't know things but want to learn, teach is easy. But when you think you know truly how the world is, it is extremely difficult to

Anna Rosling

In the course of 300 odd pages, Hans Rosling, despite his vitality and infectious enthusiasm, you can not avoid to give samples of his fatigue and disappointment. By the condescension, generalizations and paternalism dominant when speaking of remote locations, public health and development. Not even the people who came to your lectures, which we applauded and congratulated at the end and in the cocktails, it was changing. Impervious to logic of reason and the force of numbers, the human we continue to think that things are as they are, "for reasons unavoidable and inexorable", that "it has always been thus and will never change".

Him, "big fan of the numbers," and that he regretted that on the public stage had "too much Word and too little Excel", prevents precisely because of this, in his posthumous work against the danger of drawing conclusions arising just from the numbers, without hypothesis, without notice and without talking to the people. "If there is to round, we have to do it against us", he argues.

Tired of the false philosophers who interpret the world on the picture of what it was half a century ago, and the demagogues and prophets that will hinder their transformation posted on the back of a distortion now or never, Factfulness offers a compass of pause, depth, and responsibility. "I'm not saying don't worry about it. I tell you to worry about the things that you have to worry about (...). What I will say is that it ignores the noise, but you stay attentive to the great global risks. I do not say that you are not afraid. What I will say is that you keep a cool head", closes one of his chapters.

What he said as clear a century ago, Rubén Darío: "Abominad the mouth that predicts misfortunes eternal / abominad the eyes that see only zodiacs dire / abominad the hands that stone the ruins illustrious". And we also did a lot of case.

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Updated Date: 11 December 2018, 08:01

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