Sunday, November 6, 2011

Walden Essay


                Progress has been a part of human life since the beginning of man. Humans have been making improvements ever since our first days, and that progress has gone on through time to create the world we have today. Progress is a good thing; it helps us live in the world, it helps us make the world better, and it is one of the things that really sets man apart from the other animals in the world. Progress is also a destructive force. In both a philosophical and literal since, progress takes resources to create, and destroys what is currently in place. The products from this destruction, however, are extremely good in most cases, and are not something we could live without. Progress is both a good and destructive force.
                Progress is destructive in a purely philosophical sense. When a new idea becomes accepted, the previously accepted idea is collateral damage. While something new is being created, something old is rendered obsolete and therefore useless, destroying the idea. Progress is essentially a never ending cycle of creation and destruction, with both destruction to make creation, and destruction by creation. The theory that the Earth was flat was rendered obsolete when the theory of a spherical Earth was finally acceptable. While the idea still exists, it is essentially worthless. This is a good destruction, one where a thing is destroyed for something better.
                The destruction caused by progress is very literal as well. To create something new, it necessary to experiment to find something new and how it can be used effectively. It takes resources to complete an experiment, and when the experiment fails the resources are wasted and sometimes other adjacent resources are destroyed as well. When an experiment is successful, it takes resources to replicate it. Metal infrastructure used in buildings makes them more secure, but it also takes resources to make the supports. As long as the value of the product outweighs the price, progress is a good force.
                One thing that can be said about progress is that it is a good force. The best example of this is medicine. Before this modern age there were pandemics, like the plague, that ravaged society. Today we can control, and defeat many pandemics, and a large portion of diseases in general. Even a few hundred years ago, people died of things we can cure today. People today don’t die because they don’t know better than to use their water supply as a restroom.  Today we can transplant new organs, destroy germs on a radioactive level, fight cancer and genetic diseases, and perform surgeries with a focused laser. Medicine can be dangerous if done wrong or in excess, but it saves many more lives than it hurts.

                Progress is a key piece of human existence. We keep evolving, both literally and technically, and we would not still be here without the products of these changes. Progress can be a destructive force. By its own nature, progress destroys things. However, progress also makes things, which are just as important as the things lost. As long as the value of the products of progress is greater than the things that were lost in creation, progress is a good, destructive force.

1 comment:

  1. I would have liked to see more direct quotes to support your ideas in this post.