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Self Reliance - Society never advances
"Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. ... For every thing that is given something is taken." Emerson, "Self Reliance", p 169
I agree with this statement, and it frustrates me to no end. Our country is screwed up in every direction one looks. People are starving while others have too much money to spend. Our population is out of control. We pollute to no end. Ours is one of the best countries in the world? Society’s tumors seem to keep growing but I want them to end. These problems disturbed me to the point of depression when I discovered them but now I can handle my knowledge. One thing that has helped me is learning about American history. I thought that we teetered on the brink of imminent collapse with budget, environmental, and social problems, but I have learned about the problems that America has dealt with over the years. Now I know that this time period is no worse than the past.
Yes, no worse than the past, but like the quote suggests, no better either. We keep trying for advancement, starting new social programs and developing new scientific solutions. Sometimes we make a little headway. When penicillin was discovered, it was a great boon to the medical industry. We are well on the way to loosing that gain as anti-biotic resistant microbes invade our bodies. We have eliminated slavery and segregation but the gap between the rich and poor has grown to compensate for this victory. We make scientific progress yet there are more ox-carts in use across the globe than there ever have been in the history of mankind. Are we actually making progress? I write this on a machine more powerful than the entire computing power of the world just sixty years ago.
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