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Reasons to be cheerful: despite what we see on the news, things are getting better all the time

Dutch historian Rutger Bregman's manifesto for optimism reads like a 400-page TED talk

By Julian Baggini   July 2020

A still from the 1963 film of William Golding's Lord of the Flies © Two Arts/Cd/Kobal/Shutterstock

If you want to be seen as a profound thinker, just remember the principle: dark is deep. You must take a dim view of human nature and see its prospects as dismal. There may be more money to be made writing upbeat self-help books promising easy happiness, but you will never be taken seriously in self-consciously intellectual circles unless you are unremittingly gloomy or, as such intellectuals see it, unflinchingly realistic.

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