Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Are things getting better or worse in the world?

Having figured out this helps me a lot

Two sets of contractionary developments go together. Let’s review them.

Let’s take health as an example.

An Upward Trend

Life, and especially people, tends to improve things naturally.

Clearly, physicians can do more for patients than ever before, especially in the richer countries and for the richer people.

Formerly, pneumonia meant: wait till the morning, and then you’ll see if the fever broke or the patient is dead. Now you give an antibiotics cure, and that almost always does the trick.

There are millions of examples like that.

A Downward Trend

When unattended, everything will degrade and disintegrate without help.

Often, antibiotics have been overused. Some bacteria developed resistance to all antibiotics. Tuberculosis is back, on the back of the AIDS pandemic. But after 40 years of research, there is now a prophylactic for AIDS. Do you remember that AIDS was the worst illness?

We live with people more concentrated in giant cities and travel more than we ever did before when most people never left their village. So, a new virus like, COVID-19, or the inevitable bird flu mutation that will be contagious from human to human has a potential it never had before.

Commentary I

The terms Upward and Downward Trend I loaned from my friend and teacher Harvey Jackins. Most importantly, he suggested using the energy of the downward trend to fuel the upward trend. So, if you fell and broke a bone, use your need to cry to clean up tons of your early traumas.

NB: What we call handicaps don’t need to limit a person. Many Western people don’t know how to bake bread. They don’t feel handicapped since they simply buy bread. If everyone is eager to walk a blind person and lift someone in a wheelchair up the stairs, they are not handicapped.

An Overall Upward Trend

So, things go up and down in a sort of wave but, overall, will improve.

There are old problems never solved (world hunger), new challenges, and setbacks continually, but, overall, life expectancy is up and so is the quality of life, despite a mental health crisis in the richest countries and families.

Serious doctors are trying to eradicate the most common illnesses within a decade. No doubt, after that, followed by solving all other sicknesses. Then, we need to stop aging, reverse the aging that we had already, and get better at bringing people back from clinical death. Overall, we should reach healthy physical immortality for most people within a century.

An Overall Downward Trend

Yes, progress is exponential, but so is the danger of extinction.

Everything’s getting better, but the threats are getting unprecedentedly high, too. Humankind, with all our progress, is running toward the abyss.

What good does healthy physical immortality in 100 years if humans go extinct from climate change, greed, wars, murders, and suicides in 20?

Commentary II

Isn’t it strange that the better we get, the greater the risks of total disaster? Maybe it has to do with my refutation of Reductionism. The more complex something, the more vulnerable. In six short examples:

A brick wall may give shelter; a single brick cannot. An earthquake may reduce a brick wall to a heap of bricks; it will leave a single brick, a brick. So, walls are more potent and complex than loose bricks but also more vulnerable.

DNA in a living cell can repair and replicate itself; most molecules cannot. But it can also mutate fatally; other molecules cannot. So, DNA is more potent and complex than other molecules but also more vulnerable.

A plant can make new plants; a brick cannot make new bricks. But a plant can die; a brick cannot. So, plants are more potent and complex than stones but also more vulnerable.

Most animals can move about (walk, swim, jump, fly); most plants cannot. Most animals die out without food; most plants do not (seeds, spores). So, animals are more potent and complex than plants but also more vulnerable.

A human can think about ideas and the future, read, hope and pray, regret, be smart, let go of instincts, and use Free Will; an animal cannot. But humans can fail their better Self, fail to choose Good, ignore their intuition and feelings, really blunder (and later regret that); animals are always themselves. So, humans are more potent and complex than animals but also more vulnerable.

A rich person can buy things a poor person cannot. But in times of general misery (war, famine, danger of extinction), many rich people don’t know what to do and feel they cannot live without the comfort they are used to. Their terror of losing it all, their greed, endangers us all (their carbon footprint, factories). Poorer people are better at working with their hands and cooperating and are used to making do with less. So, rich people have more chances to buy health but also are more vulnerable and dangerous.


We need to expect that progress and setbacks follow each other.

Moreover, bigger successes come within reach, but so does total failure.

Only human action and activism can make humanity emerge victoriously.

So, an overall fitting attitude in life is one of cautious optimism, which nicely fits Harvey’s idea that people naturally feel happy (see babies).

An old friend of mine reacted: I won’t live so long anymore, but maybe I’ll still be around when we go extinct. An optimistic idea for those who are not picky about the outcome.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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