The downside of apocalyptic thinking

Could your outlook on the world change if instead of focusing on the bad news, you reflected on all the good accomplished over time? According to Harvard cognitive scientist and author Steven Pinker, pessimism today is misplaced. Pinker joined Salon's Alli Joseph on "Salon Talks" to discuss his new book "Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress." Fan Bill Gates calls the book his "new favorite book of all time"

According to Pinker's research, humans are safer, freer, healthier, wealthier and happier now than ever in history. But if the world is getting objectively better, why do some feel so bleak about our future? Pinker points to the values of the Enlightenment. "Even though they're the basis of a lot of our institutions like democracy, like the court system, like universities, like hospitals, like international organizations," Pinker said on "Salon Talks. "They've faded into the background as just the establishment, the status quo. And then we forget that they were human inventions and that we should give them credit for a lot of the comfort and peace and prosperity that we enjoy now."

Watch the episode above to hear Pinker's theories on modern journalism and activism today. And tune into SalonTV's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage", daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon, Facebook and Periscope.

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