Is there truly such thing as progress , or is it all relative?
I've been reading alot lately about Native Americans and their struggle for survival as a people when Europeans began to spread across their land. One question keeps coming to mind. Is there truly such a thing as progress, or is the idea of progress simply relative to it's time and place and culture?
Well, you hit the nail on the head with the subjectivity of the issue between cultures, time and places. Though I think over all that there is such a thing as "progress" for our entire species, I just don't feel it manifests in the ways we think it does. And regardless of the way it manifests, all progress comes with a price.
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.
It is human nature to progress. But also human nature to be complacent that halt progress.
I always asked myself, do I want it to be better? If yes, I will continue to make myself achieving the goals. This is sort of progress to a better future.
There will always be people looking forward to progress themselves while others seem to be satisfied with the current situation and remain complacent.
It would take a lengthy article to explain it, so here I'll just state a different point of view: We humans are inherently dualistic. We are by our very nature both good and evil, and all we do is similar. We progress in knowledge at an equal rate in both the technology of treating cancer and of incinerating cities. We open social institutions to minorities, boasting of our tolerance, even as we drive racism to deeper roots underground, denying our strengthening of it. We build global structures superficially dedicated to peace and prosperity while corrupting their claimed purposes by using them to institutionalize sectarian privilege.
Human history rises and falls in waves. Social relations, science and technology, political structures, every aspect of human life builds up and then in time collapses. Only hubris convinces us that we today have risen above that cycle of building and destroying, but we have not. That same hubris has been a characteristic of all generations. It is a universal human trait. We are no different.
The adage that everything contains the seeds of its own destruction is true. What we like to call progress is no exception. That truth is rooted in our dualistic human nature, which has not changed from the dawn of history. Only the tools we have available at any given time do. Unless we make ourselves something other than human, which despite numerous attempts through history to do it is itself a humanly dualistic project doomed to ultimate failure, we will never break the cycle.
"Progress" implies an endpoint, I think...or at least a goal.
We've progressed in populating the planet since "go forth and multiply" was uttered.
We've progressed in most places to having a longer life expectancy; which seems to be a goal for most people groups.
We've progressed towards the end of the world one day at a time, assuming it's going to end and be replaced with "a new heaven and new earth."
The relativity comes when one group establishes a "goal" which impinges on the existence of another, I think...as world history has shown. You might say that "progress" is really just "more of the same" since the beginning of conflict.
There is an old saying, "There is nothing new under the sun." I tend to think this is true on the physical plane; but as for the individual soul we are always learning.
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