A very good question. I think "progress" is both an idea and an opinion.
Sometimes I wonder if we have made any progress at all. The native Americans, though living in tee pees and having no use of cell phones and computers would probably have kept on living for thousands of years into the future had white man not arrived.
Now, with all the "progress" of society and "progress" in technology, we are seeing more and more unemployment and social unrest. Through technology, machines can now do the work of 100,000 automobile employees.
With sufficient progress in technology our government can now spy on every person in the U.S. and abroad, and our military has enough bombs to destroy the entire planet.
At some point disaster will strike and we will be sent back into the dark ages...years behind the living standards of the Native Americans. I think, therefore, that progress is temporary, circular in nature, not linear.