Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I remember, growing up in the '60s, being bombarded by all the endless claims about the virtues of "progress".

How fantastic it is that "in less than a hundred years" we went from horse-drawn wagons and stagecoaches to today's automobile and from turbo-prop planes only able to travel 50 miles or so at a time to large passenger jets capable of non-stop overseas travel;
and about all the advances in medicine wherein diseases which were "death sentences" or permanently disabling not even 40 years ago have all but been wiped out;
and how we went from kerosine lamps to the electric light bulb and street lights and flood lights;
and how we went from fire places and coal burning furnaces to gas and electric heating;
and how advances in industry, science, and technology have made our lives easier with fancy gadgets and appliances capable of performing tasks which previously had to be done by hand or with basic hand-operated tools, and have even improved the efficiency level of already-existing gadgets and appliances;
and how we went from the Victrola to portable record players all the way to hi-fi sound systems and tube amplifiers
...and from there we went to transisters---at first in portable and hand-held radios, but eventually they replaced the tubes in high-powered hi-fi/stereo sound systems;
then the transition from the silent films to "talkies" to the film industry and eventually television and videotape.

And then there was the social progress made as well:
When it was discovered that the progress made in industry was resulting in the desecration of the physical and biological environment the government enacted regulations designed to reduce the amount of pollution going into the environment;
there were also child labor laws that were passed to curb the exploitation of underaged workers;
there were the social welfare programs passed as a result of the Great Depression: food stamps, Medicare, social security.
and the social reform programs---like the Civil Rights laws and the War On Poverty for example.

And the creation of the Space Program and the progress made in the quest for the exploration of outer space
...from a manned spacecraft circling the earth to a man actually standing on the moon itself.
Let's not forget all the communications satellites which enabled live broadcasts from any one place on earth to be viewed anywhere or everywhere else on earth.

Even the military went from bayonet rifles and cannons to machine guns, tanks, bazookas, fighter planes(/jets), bombs, missles, and nuclear weapons.

Even the underworld of espionage brought about advances in "bugging devices":
micro-sized hidden cameras and microphones, phone-tapping, the use of two-way radio transmissions on reserved frequencies designated for select government use only, covert surveillance devises often camouflaged.

This gave us a futuristic mindset in which we were musing about "the time we would find a cure for and wipe out all cancers" or "when we would travel to distant galaxies and solar systems and, maybe interact with inhabitants of another world" or "a time when private and commercial vehicles are all aerial and we can reconvert all our roads and highways back to farmland".

I'm old enough to remember when the promise of "progress" was to make our lives easier than they were in earlier times and also to enable us to solve a lot of our age-old problems short, the promise of "progress" was to improve and enhance our existence on this planet as well as the quality of our lives.
Eventually it became more of a crux and a vexation due to the way a lot of these "advances" have also enabled subversives and those with ulterior motives greater choices of how to carry out destructive activities as well as providing more methods for being able to do whatever it is such parties would have in mind to do.

And on the social front, all of the progress made with regard to regulations and social services and anti-discrimination laws:
---The past 30+ years have seen a dismantling of a lot of the regulations designed to: a)regulate toxic waste disposal, b) protect consumers, such as those regulating banking practices and business transactions, c) safety regulations both in industry and home/residential safety as well as the contents of consumer goods from food to material goods.
---And the strides we made in interpersonal relations---from the civil rights legislations to even the hippie-influenced "brotherly/sisterly love" idealisms...that "everybody's our brothers and sisters" to the notion that "everybody's the same deep down inside" (although, more accurately, it should be "everybody's ESSENTIALLY the same", which is to say everybody's human and have the same basic needs and have similar type desires)---are being counteracted by various social fragmentations of great magnitude. Everyone seems to be self-affiliated with some movement or some organization or faction of some kind. And they usually associate primarily with those whose beliefs and lifestyles match their own. But these beliefs and lifestyles are not of a personal-choice/individualistic nature...they're usually ones prescribed by whatever demographic said person identifies themselves with.
And, as if afflicted by collective amnesia, there's been a resurgence of all manners of racism and antiSemitism in great numbers---not just sporadic or isolated incidents. Whatever promises there were of eventual "total integration" back in the 1970s are pretty much being snuffed out by this throwback-to-the-Jim-Crow-era-mindset.
In another display of collective amnesia there are also attempts to undo the progress made by the "women's rights" movements of the recent past as well.

It's like there's no longer any interest in "improving life for mankind"'s all about everyone "destroying each other" any way they can.
We've become a society of "nimrods", all conspiring against each other turning civilian society into a massive "war zone".

Businesses are trying to fleece us constantly;
Our government is abandoning and deserting us;
Our so-called "fellow citizens" are often adversarial towards us;
Gentrification is threatening to displace those of us of little or modest means via inflated prices on even the most basic commodities;
Our officials are constantly enacting and enforcing more and more excessively harsh laws with Draconian-style penalties to match.

Also, when mentioning "Progress vs. Anti-progress":
Are you impressed with all the high-tech gadgetry?
Do you really think it has actually improved efficiency and enhanced communication?
When you need critical information are you able to get it, and get it in a thorough and comprehensive manner?
...or do you still get "the runaround"? Or do those you're trying to get in touch with manage to evade you?
Is the extent of high-tech simply to text about trivial or frivolous aspects of our opposed to conveying important information?
And how come so much false or outdated information still finds it's way to so many computer systems?
Is there no oversight on the part of the programmers? ...or any kind of built-in automatic "detection" in the systems themselves?

I tell you, communication's bad these days!
I guess it's because everybody's "off in their own world" these days
...headphones on, even when out in public's like everyone has a "Don't bother me now! I can't cope!" demeanor about themselves.
But you HAVE noticed that in this here "communication age" it's still hard to get answers to critical questions or to get critical information sometimes...
...or to find someone to listen to whatever you have to say.

That's also a kind of "anti-progress" in it's own way as well.

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