Yglesias in his thoughts about Quicksilver writes:

Rather, the world we know is a deliberate, contingent, human creation whose key elements had to be thought up by particular people for particular reasons. People think of things like telescopes as invented, but forget that banking and religious tolerance and nation-states are also inventions.

This insight never fails to give me a jolt. That things are the way they are is largely arbitrary, which means that we can be more accepting of what comes our way and also continue to demand that we try to make things better.