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Get out of this Illusion of Progress

Are we really advancing or just wasting our precious existence under the illusion of a false progress?

Every adversity that human species has suffered, has made us question our decisions in hindsight. Be it world wars, terrorism, atomic bombs, climate change, scarcity, or the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; everything has left us helpless, yet perplexed to overcome it to this day. This makes us ponder whether we, as human species, are focused on the right things in life.

Our progress remains scattered…

In the true sense of the word, progress means economic, scientific, technological, and cultural advancements aimed at improving the quality of life. But what we find is flashy lifestyles, the uber cool pop culture, globalization, skyrocketing stock markets, excessive materialism, etc., being displayed as signs of progress.

“The existing civilization that our progress has rendered is fragile. Our beliefs and practices as a whole are based on unfounded assumptions. Competition, materialism, scarcity, and accumulation, our day to day lives revolve around these ideas that limit our true spirit. Our progress is serving only a small sect of people on the planet, while it is enslaving the rest.”

We have misconceived the concept of progress. Our ideas of progress are unwholesome and they don’t align with existential reality. There hasn’t been any intellectual movement or any collective effort to understand the dynamics of progress. As a result, our progress largely remains vague, superficial, and destructive.

A holistic study of the dynamics of progress and aligning the growth with our purpose of living can save us in the face of ever occurring adversities. We are yet to see the actual progress that is characterized by an all-round happiness and a holistic growth. Our so-called development has failed on many crucial fronts:

  • Healthcare: We lack a reliable healthcare system promising an all round well-being and longevity to all human beings regardless of their economic status.
  • Environment:Our exploitation of nature has caused climate change.
  • Economic Equality: A large number of human beings are deprived and only a small percentage of people own a major share of the world’s resources.
  • Education: We have not figured out an ideal education system that prepares mindful, humane, and emotionally mature individuals.Our education system produces robotic individuals who become economic slaves.
  • Happiness: We have failed to establish abundance and harmony in our human world, as a result human beings at large are unhappy, dissatisfied with their lives.

and so on…

billboard on laptop
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Takeaway

Current belief:- Progress is an inevitable march from barbarity to civilization. We can’t change the course of the river (progress), we can only make efforts to swim through.

In popular culture — In the words of contemporary intellectual Noam Chomsky: “Changes and progress very rarely are gifts from above. They come out of struggles from below.”

Chomsky has wisely stated that we are responsible for our own progress. However, I would like to politely differ here in that unnecessary struggle or hardships are no measures for progress. The need is not to struggle but to understand more in any given situation and we should be good. Nature, provides us with everything. All our needs are covered, given that we cooperate with it.

According to the Philosophy of Coexistence: Cooperation with nature = True progress!

The physical needs of our body are material and the earth offers enough resources for nourishment. The needs of our soul are intangible, like happiness, productivity, knowledge, etc. that we can fulfill through positive and memorable interactions with other human beings. Once the needs of both these parts are fulfilled, bliss follows.

Human beings toil day and night to fulfill their perceived needs because of their obsession with maximization of wealth and assets. Spending a lifetime fulfilling these imaginary needs are a waste of our existence as human beings. Our society and tradition need to improve a lot in valuing a human being more than all the material stuff around. Once that is achieved, we can be fairly certain that we are on the path to real progress.