All the ways the world made it harder to be a good person in 2019

By By Rashmee Roshan Lall & Jason Karaian

There is a moment in season three of the American comedy television series The Good Place in which Michael, the lead protagonist, has an epiphany about the problem with modern life. “Every day,” he says, “the world gets a little more complicated, and being a good person gets a little harder.”

Some say the sitcom, which is set in the afterlife and grapples with who deserves to go to heaven or hell, is “ the ultimate TV show for our times.”

As we head into a new year, and start a new decade, here’s a look back at Quartz’s coverage of how the world got a little more complicated-and being a good person got a little harder-in 2019:

There was flight shame

Plastic became toxic

Fast went out of fashion

Meat became murder

Sharing was uncaring

The locals got restless

Our devices, ourselves

Perhaps, in the end, the best way to be happy in these complicated times is to cultivate perspective, and employ the strategy of “ joyful pessimism.”

Originally published at on December 27, 2019.

PhD. Journalism by trade & inclination. Sign up for free email updates on email me at

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