What do you get when you put a Harvard psychologist on stage at the same Hollywood venue where they hold the Academy Awards?
The answer is one gigantic dose of feel good. That was my takeaway last Wednesday night after attending a discussion given by Harvard University Professor Steven Pinker, a psychologist and best-selling author who just released a new book, ???Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.???
The central thesis of this work is that by nearly every metric that matters — health, lifespan, inequality, environment, knowledge, safety, quality of life, happiness and especially wealth — the world has never been better than it is right now.
The cause of this human progress, argued Pinker, is the embrace of enlightenment values, chiefly reason and science, and the real-world application of these principles toward enhancing human existence.
In one truly dramatic chart from the book, Pinker shows the rise of Gross World Product from the year 1 through 2015. Here???s a snapshot of that chart that I took from my own copy.