>Are we progressing?

>Many famous theorists and authors have argued, or even presumed, that humanity is inevitably marching forwards. Two of the most famous examples are Hegel and Marx. They argued that human history was split into phases, with each phase giving way to the formation of something better. In other words they said progression occured in a linear and forward direction.

There is some evidence for this. We are making progress in curbing poverty for example. But there are a great many examples of the opposite. There are 27 million slaves in the world today, wheras less than half that number were brought to the Americas throughout the entire history of the slave trade. Happiness has stagnated in the last 60 years throughout the developed world. World opinion about democracy is radically changing, with countries as different as Germany, Congo and Russia all gaining more anti-democratic favour.

What do you think? Is change equivalent to progression?

3 comments

  • >There are many things on which humanity has progressed in the past 60 years. But if I were to weigh everything up I would either say progress has been balanced with regression, or even that regression has taken primacy. Just as cultural and moral decay struck Rome and the great Medieval Italian cities before their downfall so too is it causing huge problems in the modern world.We tend to view the world in such a simplistic manner that we say "in the past we were there, and now we have progressed into a better world". Some people even say that third world countries are "behind" the developed world in literal terms i.e. that in x hundred hears they will be almost exactly at our point in history today.Yet if this were true then there would be nothing in the past that we seek to emulate. And there is! Capitalism has created a culture today whereby if a person is faced with two investment opportunities they're automatically taught to take the one with the higher yield. If the one with a lower yield were to help build new schools and homes it would matter little to many. This is a cultural disease! Indeed it would have been recognized as such under the Catholic systems of government in place before the Reformation and Renaissance (I'm not arguing for a return to that by the way). Morals do have a place in society, and Capitalism needs to accept this.On top of this stress has mounted, mental illnesses are continually increasing in number (I'm sure if you think back you'll remember meeting more than one depressed person in your life), less people even bother saying they're moral and care about charity, and still society cries for more wealth. This call should be for happiness!

  • >Gee, you're post added ybout 6 more topics to the question.Sticking to the first question, have you seen the movie 'Idiocracy'? It's bloody funny, and if Darwinian evolution is to be believed then it's also plausibly believable.For those who haven't seen it, it's based loosely on the fact that people of higher education have less children than people without education.(mainly due to the time and expense of gaining the education, in addition to educated couples having higher living standard desires, and not wanting to spread themselves to thin, so to speak).So less educated people breed more which starts a society that has regressed to Idiocy. And its piss funny.For the actual question, it depends on each cultural perspective.I think all the indigenous peoples of the world have been screwed back to the stone ages. If the numbers of emigrés from europe to the new world are any indication of the poverty that existed at the time, then europe has progressed alot.

  • >I'll be sure to look out for that film. I do agree that Europe has made progress since 1607 when Jamestown was founded as the first succesful English colony. It just becomes more debatable in the last 60 years. And yes indigenous peoples are still getting a rough ride all the way around the world. You only have to see how the UK is treating the Chagossians today to realize that.

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