An article from The Economist‘s Christmas special edition examines the idea of progress of humanity, especially in the past century and this. I had problems reading this initially as it feels rather heavy on philosophy, but in essence I gather that in terms of health and economic growth we have made tremendous progress, but in terms of our humanity our progress is questionable.
It even raises the possibility that the concept of progress could be misguided or abused. Take, as mentioned in the article, how Hitler used ‘progress’ and subsumed it into ‘the shared destiny of a (German) nation’. All the more reason to question what progress is. So what exactly constitutes progress?
It seems like to be able to determine whether we have really ‘progressed’, we need to examine different parameters, such as in terms of science, in terms of material wealth… I never found progress this difficult to define until I encountered this article. I examine and read this from a very layman and not from a philosophical point of view, so pardon me if I appear naive or ill-informed.