“Progress is our most important product” was GE’s slogan when I was growing up. Progress. To move forward, right? It is advancement in general, implying some higher, better state. Right?
Perhaps progress as a goal in and of itself has become an anachronism.
When is enough, enough? When did the concept of more get confused with the concept of better? Of progress?
When you sharpen a pencil too far, it breaks. When you whip the cream too long, it becomes butter. Now butter is not a bad thing, it’s just not so great on strawberries. There is a “sweet spot” in most dynamic systems, a point at which the balance between all competing tensions works — creates harmony, before it whips out into chaos again.
More is not always better. Bigger is not always better. Slow is waaaay better than fast in quite a few activities. And keeping up with the “neighbors” has too much to do with ego and too little to do with a self-referential sense of worth and values — the “self” here being societal as well as individual.
Now I am no economist and I am probably out of my depth here, but seems to me that our societal expectation and goal of an ever-expanding economy may be outmoded. Aren’t there other ways to create and sustain a healthy economy than expansion that demands more, more, more? Is it a true measure, even, of health? To look at how things are these days, I don’t think so. No. I don’t think so.
But please don’t misunderstand me. I am profoundly aware — and I like to think grateful — of this time and place of abundance and freedom I am privileged to be living in. I am just worried about where we are going. It is the visionary cosmologist in me.
It all depends, I suspect, on one’s more specific targets and definitions of said “progress.” Is it progress to have more than six choices of beer at ready in the store? Shall we progress into the dark matter of space? Will our children progress from pharma infused video game pros to vegan auto didactics? Shall we progress into an enlightened species where welfare entitlements and the uber wealthy are both things of the past? Shall we progress from racism to speciesism? Shall we progress into a debt laden country beyond whatever comes after the Trillions? Shall we make butter of all our cream? And think that progress? Be happy and fulfilled?