t’s too easy to identify progress as evil, as the problem. However, progress is an extension of human drive, desires, passions, creativity, exploration and who knows what else that can work for good or for evil. Progress in the form of hell-bent efficiency has destroyed, maimed and killed. Progress driven by greed is a beast. Blind progress has led us to destroy much of value, including the extreme of annihilating people groups.
At the same time, staying put or going backwards can also result in the growth of evil. Stubbornly refusing change or arrogantly remaining “old school” can be covers for ignorance. Some forward-looking risks have resulted in helpful progress. Some medical advancements have emerged from messy processes, but the results have enhanced and saved lives. It would be hard to say we want to discard such progress and throw ourselves again to the winds of chance.
Progress is not the issue. The issue is how we live our lives, how we steward the resources that we have been entrusted us. The problem is rooted in power, ego and pride. When people operate without vision, they often hurt others. We need to make decisions and take actions with respect for the greater good. Ask who will be impacted by this action, and how we can ensure that the impact will be positive.
Take the long view. See the big picture. Consider the cost. Remember it’s not about you.
Somewhere along the way, we learned to say to our kids, “If it’s not illegal, immoral or unhealthy, go ahead.” It may have been more of a joke than an actual rule. Another way to phrase the spirit of this law is that if my actions are motivated by love for God and others, good things should happen.
Progress, or the opposite in some form of downward mobility, can both represent choices to be better people and serve the common good. Both can also be acts of trendiness or arrogance.
As humans, we hold unbelievable power in our hands. I don’t think this capacity is limited to some elite class. Virtually all people make choices and steward some resources. The question is whether we will be accountable to something greater than ourselves.