“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” The first beatitude (“way to happiness”)

Or as Babs sang, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

We are happiest when we need little, have less, and need to help one another on a close and personal basis.

That’s why kids are happiest sharing bedrooms, waiting for someone to get out of the bathroom, and having vital chores around the home.

Expand full comment
Feb 7·edited Feb 7

I suppose the apocalypse might bring opposite people together out of necessity. I thought it was a sweet, sad but rather pointless episode. It had nothing to do with the story.

It's odd that it happened so early in the series before the main characters have been developed or any real progress has been made in the series. Maybe I'm cynical, but I don't think the episode would have been reviewed as the "Best Episode of TV in a Decade" had the couple been straight.

Expand full comment

Gee our trust in science, the media, and government is way down because they lie to us constantly

Expand full comment

I live in Charlotte County in Florida. We were hit hard by Ian in September. We had no water for approximately 11 days, no power for 3 weeks, no reliable cell service for months. My neighbor boarded up our window with plywood at first light the next day after a terrifying night when the hurricane shutters blew off and it crashed in during the storm. I charged my other neighbor’s phone every other day with a solar powered charger we put out during the day. Once we were able to travel slightly north to stay with my parents, I drove down every day to bring a thermos of hot water to my friend and her 94 year old mother so they could have a cup of coffee and oatmeal.

I’m from Pittsburgh. I lived in Baltimore city for 5 years before we bought our first home here in 2021. Some of us still live pretty connected to our neighbors even though we don’t agree on anything the very online would consider important. My neighbors give me their unsolicited opinions on how I’m growing my fruit trees, they show up to fix my shed while I’m still having coffee and posting to TikTok (I’m an artist who has to use social media), I drop off cookies that I bake and bring extra to the ceramic studio.

We don’t have to wait for the apocalypse to be connected. I roll my eyes at their pickups loaded with flags. I’m sure that they roll their eyes at our remote jobs which sometimes make it seem like we never work. They’re the best people I’ve lived amongst since the growing up in the 1980s.

Expand full comment
Feb 7·edited Feb 7

I think that for millions of us who either served or worked as contractors and earned security clearances were gobsmacked on 5 July 2016 when FBI Director Comey gave the most quixotic press conference in which, after reading off a litany of potential crimes found in the investigation of Hillary Clinton's illegal use of a private server, he announced that "no reasonable prosecutor would make a case" against her or her staff. At that moment, millions of us knew that was a blatant lie and that there really is a Deep State (aka Friends in High Places) and that it is thoroughly rotten and polluted with malfeasance, misfeasance, duplicity, and corruption. In my opinion, that was the crack that gave way to The Fall. The totality of the maelstrom of lies and deceptions that followed from Alfa Bank to Russiagate to BLM to Woke to COVID to the 2020 election to J6 to Ukraine, etc., served as a quickening to where we are now. A broken republic, a fractured nation, a demoralized people. I don't know how we heal this rupture in the compact with our government and with each other. Perhaps it does begin with small acts of kindness with our neighbor, but how does this extend to the privileged elitists of our political/cultural nomenklatura?

Expand full comment

"A study from Pew reports that 'most young adults in the U.S. see others as selfish, exploitative, and untrustworthy.' "

People usually perceive others as they themselves are. Get out of yourselves and serve others...maybe your perception of the world will change! The best way to find yourself is to be in service to others.

Expand full comment

Not going to watch, but to those who are, a question--are there any women left? Does mankind survive or does it all end with two gay guys falling in love?

Expand full comment

Going to be contrarian and say even this POV of this article is first-world self-indulgence. You live in a modernized society with comfort and convenience at your fingertip and you look at third-world countries with rose-tinted glasses idealizing their way of life as if living on the edge of death makes for better society with more trust? You hold up Malaysia as an example like that's how it is everywhere when people don't have all our first world conveniences? Sorry I don't think so. Look at Afghanistan and tell me how much trust toward strangers people can have especially the women? Or Iran? Or North Korea? Ok don't even look at the worst of the worst but look at Muslims in Indonesia where a neighbor might rat you out for adultery and next thing you know you're getting 100 lashes. What about all those Nigerian princes? You think they're only playing on our naivete when they promise us millions $$$? You think their fellow countrymen trust each other?

Most countries on earth today wouldn't trust people enough for companies to have liberal return policies like we do. (Thats liberal not in the political sense btw for those who might be triggered.) In most countries where people are poor the first thing they assume about strangers is the strangers are trying to scam them.

Sorry but I've traveled around the world and the author's worldview is horseshit. I get the point he wants to make but his fantasy that people in less well-to-do places trusting other people more is simply fantasy. When people live on the edge of death, they distrust other people much much more because you might be killed.

Yes we're rapidly losing our sense of trust toward each other but our trust didn't come from modernization and we're not losing them because it. It came from our culture and we're losing it because of deterioration of our culture.

Expand full comment

“Many people are aware that Americans’ trust in scientists, police officers, the media, and institutions in general has declined. This is true especially among the young. Seventy-three percent of Americans under 30 believe people “just look out for themselves””


This is three different things:

1) young people believe other people are selfish because people their age are exceptionally selfish because they have been trained to be prideful self-esteeming narcissists by the psychopaths who run our government schools

2) people don’t trust the police because race hustling shysters have propagandized them into believing a variety of lies which are all part of an overarching program aimed at nudging us towards communism with a federal police force run by Peter Strzok and Klaus Schwab probably

3) trust in everything else has declined because the aforementioned nudging towards communism has been very effective and all of the major institutions are run by Democrats who are by nature bloodthirsty pagan collectivists who lie 100% of the time because they are possessed by Satan

Expand full comment

Currently visiting Thailand and people are wonderful and polite. We live outside the city back home and neighbors are all good and considerate.

I would suggest the polls mentioned have more of the urban swing where everyone is closed door and getting worse thanks to the law and order haters and social justice idiots efforts it will get worse.

Should things go South, I still think those of us who know how to defend ourselves and band with like minded individuals will prevail. It would require turning away the same said justice warriors to fend for themselves. But I am sure they can live on CRT.

Expand full comment

Remember when social media first came out (I know, I’m old) and the promise was that, not only would you have your IRL community, but you would be able to form new communities with people thousands of miles away because of your love of art, books or The Office.

Well, as Rob points out, we now have the worst of all worlds. For many people IRL doesn’t even exist and the people you thought you would form Office fandoms around, are all woke-scolds who will, at best, virtually finger wag at you if you say you liked the Benihana episode, or at worst, call you out to your employer if you say the Michael Scott/Oscar kiss was kind of hot (that’s not me, of course...anyway).

Maybe we should get back to living on the edge of annihilation.

And certainly get rid of LinkedIn, because it’s the manifestation of all that sucks.


Expand full comment

HBO so you can’t make a show about trust unless the characters are gay. If they had made one transgender and the guy with the gun asked about his pronouns, it would have been “best in the century. Garbage.

Expand full comment

"The Last of Us" is a fabulous show, but this is a RIDICULOUS review.

I am not jealous of the Americans who live in HBO's post-apocalyptic dystopia. Nobody I know is jealous of the Americans who live in HBO's post-apocalyptic dystopia. If it turns out that the majority of people in this comment section are jealous of the Americans who live in HBO's post-apocalyptic dystopia, I will probably terminate my "Free Press" subscription.

I also find the subsequent "And just LOOK at those happy Malaysians!" deeply... well. Not "offensive" exactly though it does bong those Rosseauian "happy savages" notes with a well-nigh Kipling-esque enthusiasm. Let's just say "uninformed." Malaysia is one of those places where the ethnic majority has been degrading, humiliating, assassinating etc the non-ethnic minorities for quite a while now.

I _will_ say that Bill and Frank knew how to keep busy, and industry probably _is_ the key to human happiness. And also that HBO didn't show us all those times when Bill farted in bed and Frank thought, "I can't stand this ONE MORE MINUTE."

Also, this note from my son, the mycologist: "Cordyceps are our FRIENDS! Cordyceps-like fungi are our best bet for replacing the majority of chemical insecticides with an ecologically rational and economically scalable solution."

Expand full comment

I often say that I'm the most Christian-and-Jewish friendly atheist on the planet. Extend that to the most gay-friendly straight guy, too, but I am soooooooo tired of having it all shoved down my throat and up other orifices everywhere I turn. So tired. So very tired.

Expand full comment

"the advent of modern technology, relative material abundance, stable governance, and social services, which have allowed people to live longer, more prosperous lives" - This is really the story of every human relationship - you get lazy and take things for granted and then you become disgruntled that it is not more about YOU. Civility dies in direct proportion to selfishness. Maybe we can learn to "love others as we love ourselves" again but it does make me wonder if only really hard times will bring us back from the edge of the "me, me" precipice.

Expand full comment

I enjoyed the article, and I think a good summation would be for people to not be a**holes, treat each other with respect, and to show uncommon acts of kindness, often.

Expand full comment