The thing about progress is it is usually the thing that keeps us alive. It is the advancement that got us cooking so our brains grew bigger, that took our ability to count things and gave us computers and also took our weirdness and kept us alive long enough to see how we could use it to totally amaze (or freak out) people…
Change or Die
Progress, however, is what enables us to kill each other with increasing efficiency. Directly, all the new weapons being churned out that can perform silent kills from a distance at a moment’s notice, indirectly from the increasingly tight squeeze our needs are exerting on the planet.
But progress we must, if only for its own sake.
Progress, for the pilgrim, is getting to the shrine at the end of the pilgrimage (shamelessly stolen, Chaucer. I am sorry). The people along the way, however, are equally as important as the path to the end. After reaching the end of the journey, there is a lot more to discover, so the shrine may act as a kind of cheat code, where the hovering arrow points at where the pilgrim should go, politely showing the way but grimly ignoring whatever challenges that may lie in the way… The end, not the means, is important. Sell your stuff, move to a cave and live off the land. In short, ascetism.
Denying the self. That is one surefire way to advance the soul. Material things, we are told, dull the mind and temper the spirit. After all, what use is there for a religion that promises bliss when in real life that can be gotten quite easily… But it’s not the same kind of happiness… Like buying stuff fills a material need, but there is a very real spiritual need that emerges. And it’s annoying, constantly asking for attention, but it doesn’t say what it wants.
The road to personal advancement, in many ways, the first of which is acknowledging where the heart wants to go. The heart is often a sucky determinant of where you want to go as an individual. It is completely devoid of rationale, often basing stuff on emotion, which may not be bad but which might lead to trouble… Anger is a language theheart speaks and understands well, as is love. Hate on the other hand is a rational or irrational dislike, which means it happens in the brain. thoughts are formed and conclusions are drawn which may be true or not.
With time, logic would dictate that we come so far as a species that we would be indistinguishable from the people from a generation or two ago… But aside from the flashy and interconnected things we have surrounded ourselves with, we are still the same. Confused.