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Progress; Illusory Advancement & Cycles
Space Age to Stone Age and Back Again
That icon of technological man haunts us from every conceivable perspective. It seems to be accelerating, outstripping our capability to absorb the changes. Yet this wonderful progress has a dialectical dark side that gnaws away at us as surly as prolonged exposure to zero gravity withers the flesh and dissolves the bones.
We are obsessed by progress and growth to the point of ruining our only known place of habitation, the Earth. In fact, growth of profit is often equated with progress. Yet the idea of progress also entails the concept of discovery, both in understanding the world and in the invention of new machines and processes. A casual glance suggests that our current rate of progress is accelerating. But is this really true? Undoubtedly it seems to be so for a few, but definitely and completely false for most! Consider the words of Kropotkin, the Russian anarchist.
"When the illusion of real change becomes apparent, a mere change of illusion becomes intolerable."
Progress and change are bound together and real change implies progress in the minds of many people, or so we are led to believe. We now examine progress in this context. To many, progress suggests a continual and gradual improvement in the quality of their lives. This is understood in material and social terms.
The homeless people who continue to swell with their burgeoning numbers, the streets of the worlds progressive cities are no better off than the naked "savages" of the jungle or outback. In fact, they are worse off, for the so-called prancing savage of the wilds have the ability to live self sufficiently in harsh environments, whereas the homeless person is almost as dependent as a new born baby. A homeless person immersed in the same environment as the aborigine, will quickly die of starvation and exposure, as surely as the outback inhabitant will die on the streets of an alien city environment without support. In fact, a well-placed person from the city, plopped into the same wilds without the knowledge to live there, will likely die faster than even the homeless person. The progressive city dweller and aborigine live in two worlds, not to mention the two worlds of class within the world's cities.
Humanity has the ability to make tools, but in the process, alters the course of his own evolution in a stimulation-response cycle. Consider:
The invention of cooking has caused a dramatic decrease in jaw and tooth size.
The invention of machines has lessened our dependence on muscular forces and the need for massive bodies.
The discovery of various things has not altered our hunting or competitive instincts, only made us more efficient killers. The development of nuclear bombs has made us fear what the next inevitable war will bring. Though we fight with older technology, the threat and use of the bomb constantly looms as a possibility. It could even be triggered by a natural event.
The evolution of ideas has created more conflict than expansion and competition for growing space.
With each new advance makes obsolete the old and the forgetting of knowledge that brought us there in the first case. As an example, the space shuttle replaced the Apollo and Saturn 5 launch vehicle program. The result is that we can no longer send man to the moon, as everything relating to Apollo and Saturn 5 has been irretrievably lost. With "progress" comes loss and forgetfulness. A step forward often entails the inability to step back, even in false step and blind alley situations.
New advances are not necessarily permitted release to the general public on account that there existence will upset the entrenched business interests that rely on older systems. Examples such as Tesla's wireless transmission of power and Johnson's permanent magnet motor are threats to established interests such as power distribution companies, motor car and oil cartels. The heavily moneyed interests will tolerate no threat to their continued interests. Advances are thus held in check and along with it, a type of progress.
Advances throw people into chaos, lives put on hold or the ruin of homelessness, as certain skills are made obsolete by machines. An irreversible loss of certain skills result.
Advances in fighting disease and insects strengthen the pathogens and pests, but weakens us with increased toxicity. Old solutions are in effect, new problems.
Advances in agriculture cause new population explosions that demand ever more radical solutions. Eventually there will be no more room to even grow on marginal lands as burgeoning populations conflict with agricultural growing space. Wars of "population control" will erupt as repeatedly demonstrated in history. After all, only so much sunlight and rain can fall on the Earth. Climatic changes induced by our own activity and nature, upsets a lot of established orders, plunging many into chaos.
Despite our recognition of pollution due to our activities, it is still business as usual with spiraling growth expectations in the confines of a limited environment. Lately, for a few to grow outside of bounds and law, almost everyone else is forced to cut back and shrink within the same bounds and laws. Increasing numbers of society are forced to the edges and then into the oblivion of neglect. The overall equation of energy distribution stands inviolate.
Generation after generation must learn everything from scratch. From learning to walk, to talk, think and work, everything must be relearned by successive generations. Unscrupulous leaders plunge most into a conflict between reason and irrationality, between the scientific method and gibbering subservience to nonsensical ideas and constructs. Among the latter one finds almost all of religion and all of patriotism. The obvious is substituted with "supernatural" gibberish that flies in the face of casual observation. The end result is that the elite know and all others are dumbed down, ignorant and confused. Many have a better grasp of sports tallies and scores than in real issues crucial to living.
So-called medical advances still leave people suffering in chronic disease. Medicine is not so much cure as it is profitable disease management. Promises of miracle cures forever remain "just around the corner," "just over to visible horizon," never to actually materialize. Promise after vain promise leave many waiting in eager anticipation, only to suffer in prolonged agony while awaiting the final release of death. In impatience, a few opt for suicide. The most vicious of prolonged and premeditated torture can hardly compare with such "progress!" The peddlers of toxins and dangerous drugs manage the torture of twisting rheumatoid arthritis. So too with AIDS that according to Dr. Horowitz, author of "AIDS, Ebola and Emerging Viruses" stated that they were developed by the US germ warfare department specifically for third world "population control." Today AIDS and HIV are proving to be extremely effective in that regard in Africa. In the drug front, here again vain promises of a cure "just around the corner" keep millions dangling in anticipation, which never becomes fulfilled, time and time again. In the meantime, the controls proffered are often worse than the disease. Even the simple cold evades the grasp of medical progress. In the end, how much different is the pale green garb of the medical practitioner from the bird like costumes of medieval practitioners who treated bubonic plague in the 15th century.
And then there is the illusion of social progress. The history of the 19th and 20th centuries is littered with the genocides of undesirable peoples, expunged from life by the raving hatred stirred up against them by every political stripe. We struggle with that still in the form of racism, sexism, classism and the like. It is all too easy to be a pariah, difficult indeed to gain acceptance and escape the murderous wrath of enemies. We claim to be more enlightened, but the old bigoted struggles continue, now armed with nuclear threats. Today it is popular to foment hatred along economic lines. This means if you are among the majority of the poor, you are a pariah, a "proto-criminal", "welfare entrepreneur", "pimp", "drug pusher or user", "slut", "faggot", "mobster", "ne'r-do-well", “useless eater” and so forth. Increasingly, the poor are targeted with vicious attacks, being decapitated. Are we to believe this to be progress? The world is filled to overflowing with food for all, yet vast numbers starve. Why? There is "No market" for the food. So it is destroyed and the masses in want starve to death. Is this Progress? Rather, it appears to be the opposite!
Related to above somewhat is the fact that many workers are no better off today than in the 19th century. The workers are subject to the ravages of every depression. In fact, when recovery comes, some such as first nations peoples and blacks continue to suffer from chronically high unemployment. Gone are the days of workers rights like paid sick or bereavement leave, the maximum 40 hour work week, minimum age work laws (anti child labor), Medicare/Medicaid, unemployment insurance, time and a half for overtime, payed vacation leave, welfare and a livable wage. Most workers now temp and or are best described as the working poor. Not too long ago, workers had benefits, but these hard won things are gone the way of the Soviet Union and the dodo. They have even returned in some cases to complete slavery, as many companies don't pay wages owed or use government subsidized labor. In places like India and Malaysia, child slave labor is an accepted practice. What few rights are left, such as a minimum wage is under attack by big business, the IMF and WTO. The workers built, found, grew or mined all that civilization benefits from, yet they do not benefit from these anymore. Civilization is for the few and progress is going in reverse for most.
The great god of the 20th and so far, 21st centuries, money, holds the civilized world in thrall. The sum of the existence of most is absorbed in the chase of this phantasm. Doctrinaire religiosity aside, even the high priests of this god and that, bow down to the almighty lucre. Mammon has supplanted even the god of nature, which now takes second place to profit. Paper profits and money have no other value than injected therein by trusting believers. It is the perfect example of a fetish. Talk about faith! It surpasses the faith of religious practitioners of many stripe. The value placed in tokens can be removed in an instantaneous stroke. Indeed, this is the stuff of devaluation and inflation. It has happened in history like in Germany under the treaty of Versailles. It can happen again. This god grows ever larger without real gain in value. This is the essence of the illusion of progress. It is a chimera!
You say this is a dark vision. Indeed, so it is! Because we think we are so enlightened, we still grope in the utter darkness on the big questions and most of the smaller ones too. With our illusions of greatness, nature still knocks us for a loop when a relatively minor event disrupts our lives, even if it is a small mechanical break down or an untimely frost. Then there are the really big events that stand behind the real inspiration of world religions. World encircling tidal waves, mountains falling out of the sky, burning skies, ground exploding under our feet and horrific winds shredding everything in their path are the stuff of myth and world legends. These are the big things that reset everything. From the might of a super civilization back into the ignorant groping of a stone age in an hour of total horror, over and over as one huge event after another devours civilization after civilization. The last relatively minor event toppled mighty powers virtually overnight in AD 535 and reset the course of history. In a period of 18 months, the old world descended toward oblivion. A new one grew out of the crumbling old order. It did so in almost complete groping ignorance for the most part. Thanks to the Arabic world, some ancient knowledge was preserved. Archaeology is increasingly uncovering many anomalies and Ooparts all over the world that tell of great civilized glory in the remote past. Most of these have come to light since the 1990s. Progress was made on the demise of something else. But even this was bound to change when circumstance and fortune flowered elsewhere. It will change yet again!
Progress, like everything else, is subject to the law of cycles and chaos. It comes in a host of passing flavors. From great pyramids we can't even duplicate today, to the thundering lift off of a Saturn 5 launch vehicle. From designs of ancient capacitors as described in the books of MosesExodus 25:10 to 25:28, copied from Egyptian sources to the contemporary super computers. These are all passing fashions. That which we hold all important, increases and improves is considered progress. Even this takes on a twisted detour dance in order to advance piecemeal and slowly. Today, the increase of profit is considered progress by most. But even here, what is gained on one side must be taken from the other within the inexorable laws of dialectics and the energy gradient. Generation after generation, the ceaseless cycle makes it rounds, starting and ending and starting yet again. Similar to tides, flows of energy can reverse and flow in the opposite direction.
On the other hand is change. This is guaranteed from the cosmos. As long as some kind of energy gradient exists, change is inevitable. Due to turbulence, a gradient is maintained and change is unceasing. Nothing remains static for long, including that sacred cow; progress.
The earth goes through aperiodic cycles of many kinds over and over
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