In a sense, what Rosling is suggesting is that, almost by definition, the news will always be bad: it is how the news media generally reflect the world. How many people do you know who tell you that they find they can hardly bear to watch/listen to the news?
Even the apparently anodyne BBC Radio 4 programme You and Yours, which I often find myself listening to when preparing lunch, overdramatises matters from time to time. Recent items have included: Christmas, the hidden hazards, and Doors in the home: are they a danger to health? (I made up these two.)
A manifestation of this negative worldview was exemplified recently when my wife spotted a poster inviting people to the Mt Zion chapel in Mumbles, Gower. “What the world’s coming to?” Didn’t sound like a fun evening.
Rosling explores and explains data that goes beyond the over-dramatic worldview and presents surprising data that counters it to great effect.
My aim here is to take Rosling’s theme of how the media appeal to our dramatic instincts by suggesting that one way of coping with this negative macro view of the world is to focus on the micro events in our lives. For instance, Dr Goodall took control of his own death. His passing was, of course sad for his family, but its dignity reduced the sadness at his passing to a different kind of emotion.
A few – shall we call them – micro events took my eye in the papers recently.