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Brian Eno, the musician and writer,
is more positive as a result of reading The Rational
"That kind of marks the change I've felt in
the past year or two. I wouldn't end an album like that now," he
says. Drums Between the Bells has a loose, funky
feel; it ends with the words, "Everything will be all right". Eno's
new-found positivity - partly sparked by eco-thinker and Eno friend
Stewart Brand's book Whole Earth Discipline and
popular science writer Matt Ridley's The
Rational Optimist - boils down to a belief that we've
never had it so good.
"Cultures have a tendency to be pessimistic.
The whole of the history of humanity is people going, 'It's all
going to fall apart, my God it's looking terrible, we're not going
to survive for another 20 years.' But, in fact, on average things
have actually been getting better for thousands of years. It's like
you're playing roulette in the casino and you keep winning and you
think I've got to stop, this is not going to carry on. Well, it has
been carrying on, by and large. Most of us in this country live a
hundred times better lives than we would have done 100 years ago.
So things are getting exponentially better for us, and we can't
believe our luck, so there's a tendency to say, 'It can't go