Society’s Progress

Succesful systems are not necessarily characterized by efficiency.

The best systems are those that are immune to catastrophic failure and allow for incremental improvements that compound across time.

Literate societies that pass down all accumulated scientific and ethical knowledge to future generations tend to be very successful.

We are the beneficiaries of such a system, and we are complicit in its decline insofar as we do not contribute to the process of improvement that makes our very existence possible.

Some people are simply apathetic, or outright malicious against the system that provides them with safety, food, water, and economic potential.

However, most people do hope for improvement. The issue is that they ignore history and believe improvements can be achieved via means and principles that are antithetical to what got the society to its current state of prosperity.

Or, because of bitterness and a pathological attachment to perverse ideology, they envision progress in terms of systems that have consistently failed in the past. Such people read history and ignore the thread of progress that runs from ancient Greece to the modern day.

What is this thread?

The belief in and the pursuit of objective truth, a limited representative government, and property rights.

The degree to which these are valued by the individuals in a society is the degree to which long-term scientific, economic, and moral progress can be achieved.

There is no surer sign of a civilization’s decline than the relegation of these values to the status of “radical”, “extreme”, or perhaps even worse, “boring”.

You do not make progress down a road by tossing out the engine of your car, or by dismantling it piece by piece. Perhaps some of those modifications will increase your speed in the short term, and give you an illusory pleasure. But by way of these changes, you will have created a system without incremental improvement, prone to sporadic catastrophe.

Passion is Pride

Attempting to change the world according to one’s vision is a tremendous act of pride.

It is a declaration that you are not some lowly creature, unworthy of being, but instead an entity with divine creative agency.

To create is to declare you are worthy of creation.

To transform the external is to put faith in the internal.

The passive and the malevolently destructive suffer most of all from a lack of faith in their own humanity. They see the aspirations of others as vain, and believe all ambition stems from a domineering greed.

To them, all billionaires are evil, and all artists pathetically self obsessed.

Fortunately, most do not subscribe to this sort of nihilistic self loathing.

Most people think the world is improvable, and thus worth improving, Many take on this task as a personal responsibility, and trust that compensation will come as an inevitable result of their efforts.

If you recognize your creative impulse as a fragment of the divine, motivation and pride will become your default mode of being.

And if the word “divine” bothers you, think of it this way;

Your consciousness is the result of three billion years of reiterative design and engineering, eventually resulting in the human brain. And you don’t have to be religious to recognize the human brain is the single most complex object in the known universe.

So be prideful, without hubris. Understand what powers you possess, and what responsibility those powers bestow upon you.

Because without that pride, without that profound self belief, what right have you to create?

What right have you to exist?

Pride is a necessity, not a luxury.

And those without it condemn not only themselves, but the entire human race.