More on progress

Ah, progress. Ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Via This American Life (Episode “Pandora’s Box,” April 26, 2007):

This is what we do, humans. We tinker and change and endlessly imagine a more perfect future. And, at the same time, we idealize the past. So, we’re trapped. Progress’ constant companion is nostalgia for the way things used to be.

The thing we forget about progress: there is no master plan. It lurches forward, in the dark, accidentally, and you’re never sure where it’s taking you. There’s no going back, whether it wants to or not.

With a very appropriate response from Quinton Ma:

Eloquently put, however I’ve never been one to idealize the past. I only see the future as possibly perfect.

I agree with both sentiments. Progress lurches forward without considering where it’s going. At the same time, idealizing the past is useless, and optimism about the future is necessary.

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About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

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