(from Seth Godin’s blog dated 4/15/2016. Click here for the original post. Seth is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow. Follow him on Twitter @thisissethsblog.)
It’s a bug in our operating system, and one that’s amplified by the media.
I’m listening to a speech from ten years ago, twenty years ago, forty years ago… “During these tough times… these tenuous times… these uncertain times…” And we hear about the urgency of the day, the bomb shelters, the preppers with their water tanks, the hand wringing about the next threat to civilization.
At the same time that we live in the safest world that mankind has ever experienced. Fewer deaths per capita from all the things that we worry about.
Risky? Sure it is. Every moment for the last million years has been risky. The risk has moved from Og with a rock to the chronic degeneration of our climate, but it’s clear that rehearsing and fretting and worrying about the issue of the day hasn’t done a thing to actually make it go away. Instead, we amplify the fear, market the fear and spread the fear as a form of solace, of hiding from taking action, of sharing our fear in a vain attempt to ameliorate it.
When we get nostalgic for past eras, for their culture or economy or resources, it’s interesting that we never seem to get nostalgic for their fears.