What Constitutes Progress?
Progress is movement toward the attainment of goals. Aha, but whose goals? Goals seem to shift as they are approached. When we agree with the goals toward which we seem to be moving, progress is good; when we disagree, progress is not progress at all but retrograde change. Given the definition of progress as movement toward the attainment of desirable goals (and here we mean larger societal goals like elimination of disease) will any of our engines of change, science, technology, politics, religion, or market forces, lead to progress? Not necessarily; these fields of human endeavor are often primarily shaped by forces other than societal goal seeking: religion by dogma, science by the need to discover, politics by politicians’ ego and avarice, markets by the drive for profits, and technology by the endless search for improved efficiency and new products.
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