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The essence of progress is/was to better the human condition, wherever and whenever possible. It was built on the enlightenment spirit that subsequently led torational tinkering. Fortified with material achievements that benefitted societies, it became, not only credible, but also attained a posture of invincibility. The global order, which facilitated a modicum of progress, also became the model of collective social existence. That was then, today at the behest of irrationality, compliment of the prevailing world system, it is only ‘economic growth’ that is masquerading as progress. The genuine progress of yesteryears, which leveraged scientific rationality coupled with human reasoning, all but vanished from the scene. In its wake, manipulation of facts (scientific or otherwise) and ignorant opposition to reasoning became the order of the day. In short, progress became only a figment of imagination and just a pawn at the hands of entrenched interests.

In fact after a certain material threshold was passed, progress bluntly and systematically became a notion that only served the system’s main protagonist-capital, at the expense of everything else. Today progressis circumscribed to benefit capital and capital alone. The initial main task of progress, which was to better the general human condition in a sustainable manner, (vis-à-vis nature, etc.) is now relegated to the backburner. When the excessive irrationality of capital threatens to destabilize the status quo and its entrenched interests at the helm, the situation is systemically tempered and is handled as another case of ‘market failure.’ It is this attitude of the major protagonist of the system, supported by psychopaths/sociopaths and timid subservient in human forms that is being challenged all over the world on a scale unprecedented in recent years!
To make sure that capital will not cut corners (go against the law) in order to accrue more profit (at the expense of labor) used to be one of the prerogatives of state functionaries. When an ill equipped/built facility, housing thousands of poor garment workers collapses, it is not only a case of market failure, but is also a manifestation of state failure. For example; why should one consider ‘race to the bottom’ (the Bangladesh workers succumbed to recently) as progress or even as development (the trickle down economy of neoliberalism)? This is where clear thinking is certainly not welcomed, be it in Bangladesh, Britain, Burundi, Brunei or Brazil. But the question still remains: Why should the profit motive take precedence over life’s ethos? See the articles next column on page 48 & 49.Up until now, the system has managed to purposely and convincingly lead the global beast (human mass) in thinking the absurd is the norm and normalcy is absurdity.The status quo has lined up its various institutions of indoctrination (schooling, media, etc) to make sure everything outside of its narrative is just noise, emanating from the corners of the ‘weird’, ‘radicals’, ‘dropouts’ (from it all), etc. Even when scientific facts are available about neutral phenomenon (like nature), the tendency is to ignore them or even challenge them, albeit stupidly, in the arena of the man made economic system.
We can take the case of ‘climate change’ or the danger of using nuclear energy, in whatever its forms. Thanks to Fukushima, Japan is now in serious health trouble; over 36% of children examined nearby Fukushima have abnormalities in their thyroid glands and genetic mutations are appearing in life forms with shorter generational cycles! High level radioactive waste (mostly water) is abundantly leaking to the pacific. This effluent has already affected fish on the other side of the ocean, the west coast of the USA. Abortion rates in the US mountain states peaked when Fukushima melted down two years ago. The maximum acceptable level of CO2 in the atmosphere for human life support system was figured out to be no more than 350 parts-per-million, according to the famous intellectual activist and head of climate science at Goddard Institute for Space Science (NASA) James Hansen. Recently the critical threshold of 400 ppm was crossed, signaling; human caused climate change might not be possible to reverse! What is the reply from the dominant global system when confronted with such obvious facts?
The sentiment of the prevailing system is more like this; ‘anything that retards economic growth will not be acceptable, even if it means the permanent death of Homo sapiens, as specie!’ In our modern world system progress has become almost synonymous with omnicide (self destruction.) Of course one will not see/hear these and others important issues seriously deliberated, particularly in establishment institutions/forums, (paid media, higher & lower learning, etc.,), as their interests don’t necessarily coincide with the interests of people or even life itself, for that matter! No wonder the genius lamented: “Our age is characterized by the perfection of means and confusion of ends.” Albert Einstein. Good Day!