…The story of human progress is truly heroic. It is glorious. It is uplifting. It is even, I daresay spiritual….
…We are born into a pitiless universe, facing steep odds against life-enabling order…We are made from crooked timber, vulnerable to illusions, self-centeredness, and at time astounding stupidity.
Yet human nature has also been blessed with resources that open a space for a kind of reception. We are endowed with the power to combine ideas recursively, to have thought about our thoughts…We are deepened with the capacity for sympathy-for pity, imagination, compassion, commiseration….
…We live longer, suffer less, learn more, get smarter, and enjoy more small pleasures and rich experiences….We will never have a perfect world…but there is no limit to the betterments we can attain…
And the story belongs not to any tribe but to all of humanity-to any sentient creature with the power to reason and the urge to persist in its being. For it requires only the convictions that life is better than death, health is better than sickness, abundance is better than want, freedom is better than coercion, happiness is better than suffering, and knowledge is better than superstition and ignorance.
Steven Pinker Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.