This is my perhaps naive take on why 2021 was a good year at the same time it was terrible for so many.
First of all, let's spare a minute for those who suffered or didn't make it. Let us do loving kindness for them and those that remain.
Now let me tell you something. I think things are looking up on a few fronts.
First, it's becoming evident that humanity needs to learn how to deal with global risk together. It is becoming unavoidable. It will happen out of necessity due to risks that happen to affect also those in positions in power. It seems evident to me that the best way to tackle the problems at hand is to have nation states cooperate at high enough speed. Efficient pandemics handling is at stake: if nation-states first, and arbitrary human groups later, can learn to solve the coordination problems involved in defining rational (and evolutionarily fit) policies on a global scale. Here I see the future as ideally a peaceful showdown between nation-states and competing groups (corporations, cooperatives, collectives) as they realize the true power of the internet for solving coordination problems.
Second, many died. People know people who died. Not all families have been affected severely by Covid, but most will know one that has. We are likely entering a period of increased empathy: even after accounting for desensitization after prolongued exposure to the same stress, the suffering of others is top of mind for many.
Thirdly, it is a time of tired giants and emerging movements. Democracies are faltering, I believe, not due to any faults in the entelechia, but because of our clumsy or just outdated implementations. Nation-states are not set up to remain evolutionarily fit when paradigm shifts take place, and I believe a paradigm shift is needed because lives are at stake: the cost of governance mistakes or even inefficiencies in a time of pandemic is death and suffering.
Now, for my proposal: I will tell you what I think might happen in the next ten years. Then you can tell me what you think, and why you think something else might happen. Then we'll try to learn from each other.
I don't think the system of nation states we have deposited the bulk of our power on in the last few centuries are fit for that purpose. I believe the revolution is coming no matter what you think of it; so you better start thinking about it and, once you find your fellow revolutionaries at heart, join them gladly.