Monday, August 13, 2012

Progress ... is in the Eye of the Beholder

So much of today's world is about progress.  As it relates to homeschooling, progress is easy to identify.  Your children are making progress towards the learning goals you have for the right now.  Or learning their prayers and how proficient they are at recitation, or intonation, or fervor.  Progress is an indicator of how far away or close you are to a goal, or set of goals.

In the world, though, and in the Catholic Church, the word is used almost daily but with an entirely different meaning.  What, for the world and for many Catholics does progress mean?

Whatever they want it to mean.

When someone says progress, I ask "to what?" and "what is your goal or goals?" Some act as if "progress" is this real and inevitable, yet almost mythic and invisible, creature.

Progress is movement towards your goals.
That's it.

But for the worldly, it is an excuse to believe your ideas of the way things "ought" to be have an air of invincibility.  Conversely, for the worldly progressive, anything that opposes your ideas are "retrograde" "backsliding" "antiquated" or "outmoded."

Take these different groups:
  • The radical Islamist
  • The post-modern, irreligious socialist
  • The traditional Catholic
  • The worldly humanitarian
  • The deep green population and climate advocate
  • The monied masonic type globalist
  • The 'liberal' Catholic
  • The libertine
  • The Marxist
All of these people have a definition of progress. They all see progress. They all want progress. None want the same thing, though, because progress is word with no meaning. Its a subjective adjective, not a noun. Choices are based on nouns. What you believe. What you decry. But if you have to speak in terms of choices instead of "progress" you then have to stop putting on the air of invincibility and start defending your beliefs and the choices you make based on your beliefs. That, for the ideologue, is a scary and unacceptable proposition.

The folly of progress is that almost anyone can show why one person's progress, is another person's regress.  And this is because...

Progress is an excuse to believe your ideas of the way things "ought to be" have an air of invincibility.

Evolution has been synonymous with progress. Men like Hegel, and Marx, and Hitler all identified progress with their understand of evolution and the choices and preferences they had. In that way, the modern world is still trapped by this thinking of the 19th century. Here again we have to ask, evolution is supposed to be progress, but to what?

If evolution does exist, it affects on an impossibly long timescale totally irrelevant to human existence. How trite that human beings who live at the outside a little over 100 years, would think evolution means ANYTHING to them in their lives in a universe "billions of years" old. Seeing changes in e-coli in a dish over weeks or months isn't e-coli turning into a mammalian type bi-pod in a couple of years. Its still going to be some kind of e-coli.

Likewise, if evolution exists, it is an unguided process of change. You can try all sorts of Frankenstein experiments to further your concept of "evolution" with genetic modification and social engineering, but as soon as you touch the process, it isn't evolution anymore. It's manipulation and determinism.

Progress is an excuse to believe your ideas of the way things "ought to be" have an air of invincibility.

Humanity has accumulated knowledge and experience individually and as societies. Many then confuse that with progress. The difference between us and Abraham or David or Constantine or Napoleon or men like Richard Dawkins (a noted atheist) is that we've accumulated more knowledge, and have more history to draw from with more ideas to think about. Outside of that, we're no different now than Joe Sheepherder 6000 or 7000 years ago.

We have communications. We have transportation systems. We have computers. We have many more tools and machinery. We have economy -- the idea that someone can work on one thing or set of things instead of having to do everything themselves by subsistence. We have scientific process. We have many more philosophies to draw from. But we're no different than the cave man 10000 years ago.

Progress is an excuse to believe your ideas of the way things "ought to be" have an air of invincibility.

The Roman Empire was thought to be the epitome and epoch culmination of power and culture. Many say the ancient Chinese were, or the Mayans, or great Ancient Egyptians. They all died. The western world, including the monied interests, socialists, atheistic rationalists, and power hungry in general think we have the concentration and culmination of power in today's world, and it will only increase.

It's folly. Even the monied interests with their trillions of dollars squirreled away in bank accounts and illiquid assets all over the world fail to grasp that they live and breath, and then die, with not so much as a wimper as the world is concerned.

Progress is an excuse to believe your ideas of the way things "ought to be" have an air of invincibility.

So progress really isn't progress. If you have succumb to this mindset; stop acting like it is. Do not let other people tell you it is. If you push for your idea of progress, realize it is based on your choices. That doesn't mean everyone's ideas are merely relative, and all ideas are equal. It means you have to take a hard look at your choices, their consequences, your defense of them, and whether you believe they are the right thing to do.

If you are being pushed around by progress, realize it isn't inevitable, isn't real, and isn't changeable. If someone champions change or rights or progress, and you don't believe in it, start by making your mind think they are right, and tell them to shove their progress.

Progress is an excuse to believe your ideas of the way things "ought to be" have an air of invincibility.

I personally look around and think the demographics and financial trap we are in are going to make the western world grind down on itself over the course of the next 100 or 200 years. I think the world will be much more religious in 200 years, with less people of a completely different mindset, that look back at the 1800s-2000s with an air of contempt at the pride and stupidity of people that believed in "progress."


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