There is progress in regard to consciousness

The overall arc of technological development does not represent progress in the sense that we’ve been inclined to think about it (improvement).

We’ve gained things like efficiency, productivity, mobility, facility. Since the days of the pyramid building we’ve been impressed with our power. But it has always gone toward enriching elites. It has made life worse for common people. In general we’ve lost more than we’ve gained.

* * * *

There is progress in regard to consciousness. We do have some intelligence. We’re starting to understand the arc of our species-history, going all the way back.

On that basis there is a turning in our time.

1962: Silent Spring
1970: Earth Day
1972: Conference on the Human Environment
1992: Earth Summit
2015: Paris Climate Change Conference
2021: COP26

Don’t be over-optimistic:

. . . “in our time” refers to an era. It will be dated to the 20th century. It will take a very long time to reverse the folly, to come down from the hypertrophy, to straighten things out.

Eventually, our lifeways will again become cyclical. Human life without the notion of progress will be very different, as it was prior to the Great Cultural Ascent and the Neolithic Revolution. Not going anywhere, we’ll just live.

(we ain’t going to Mars)


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Steven Welzer

The editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a movement activist for many years (he was an original co-editor of DSA’s “Ecosocialist Review”).