I hope that we are seeing the death throws of this brand of personal pessimism. Carter’s “great malaise” has turned sour and now we’re left with anger and fear. As you say, collapsing societies no longer produce advances or wonders. By that very token, we’re not collapsing in any sense. Hardly a day goes by without amazing new breakthroughs in science and medicine. Internationally, rates of poverty, violence and disease are falling.
But as long as we internalize the fear, anger and malaise, we can’t see the sun shining in the world. If we can’t look past the worries of this moment, we’ll never see the brighter future that’s possible if we work together. We are living in an age of such light that our forefathers would be dumbfounded, but many can’t see it through their personal blinders.