The Predicament of Progress: A Crash Course in a Collapsing Civilization

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“History may be a succession of absurdities, tragedies and crimes: but everyone insists – the future can still be better than anything in the past. To give up this hope would induce a state of despair.” (Gray 4) This quote, delivered by John Gray, a professor of Western Thought at the London School of Economics, describes the importance of faith in progress, and also reveals the vast agreement that humanity is on a path, and that path is progressing. However, as modern western culture struggles to obey the instinctual necessities of the human animal, and rather decide to place the focus on materials and money, the future of humanity as always progressing is seemly a dim prospect. The endeavor of illuminating whether human progress is a myth, a concentration must be placed on the most important categories. The most important categories to be discussed, with a focus on western culture are: where the idea of progress came from; scientific progress pertaining to technological advancements; and, the decline of acknowledging humans as an animal with instincts that cannot be logical or religiously controlled, curbed or cured.
First of all to unveil the truth of whether humanity has progressed, the initial conception of progress must be revealed. The most influential belief in the last 2000 years is the faith in a singular God by the name of Jesus Christ. Prior to Jesus’ influence in Western civilization, the dominant thoughts of Europe were formed by the practices of logic developed philosophes of Greece and enhanced by the Romans. For the transformation to occur from logic to Christianity, it was the work of the world’s greatest ever public relations guy. His name was Paul, and he converted to Christianity upon hearing the story of a m...

... middle of paper ... to devastation. The term he uses is progress traps.
An example Wright gives in his book A Short History of Progress is the advancement of weaponry. He writes, “The club is better than the fist, the arrow better than the club, the bullet better than the arrow.” (2004) This example portrays that humanity has indeed made advancements in the technology of weaponry, but our instincts and how the developments come to be used creates a bigger problem than the one initially fixed. With the conclusion of the 20th century humanity saw the deadliest century with the blood soaking the hands of other humans. Advancement in weaponry has transformed humankind into a scary deadly creature. Humanity has been trapped in the idea of progress. Furthermore, it is the instincts that govern the humans the continue the course of spirally onward rather than improving and progressing.

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